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No. 3: “Ain’t Leavin’ the Ranch,” a paean to barbecue, sex, dancing, and other joys of ranch-bound indolence. “I ain’t leavin’ the ranch/Gonna feed them steer/Sit on the plow/And drink some beer/Or maybe I’ll just sleep all day,” Garrison croons against a laid-back country lope of drums, piano, guitar, and violin.
“I just thought of this line, ‘I ain’t leavin’ the ranch/No matter what they say/I ain’t playing that club/No matter what they pay,’” explains Garrison, whose real name is Gabe Caggiano. Though the ranch in the song is a “metaphor for heaven or…Valhalla,” the 40-something
Garrison says he may have been recalling a more earthbound event—a Texas ranch party in honor of Willie Nelson that Garrison covered years ago as a TV journalist. Nelson, Ray Charles, and Julio Iglesias performed, and between the smell of barbecue in the air and the music icons onstage, “you just didn’t want it to end, because…it was so much fun,” Garrison says.
“I was thinking this would make a very good song for [a] semi-retired country performer who has been off the road for a long time,” Garrison says. (He’d love Garth Brooks to play it.) While the ranch is a haven from “rowdy cowboys spillin’ my beer,” Garrison hasn’t stopped venturing from his Southwest D.C. homestead: He’s performed “Ain’t Leavin’ the Ranch” at open mics at Jammin’ Java. Not that beer-spillers are in abundance there. The Vienna venue, he says, “doesn’t have a rowdy vibe. It’s not a Texas bar.”