U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ Turns 25: Looking Back on Their Surprisingly Sexy, Satirical Masterpiece

11/18/2016 by Kenneth Partridge

For the first 10 years of its career, U2 was precisely the monolithic rock band the world needed. The Cold War was raging, Africa was starving, and pop stars were speaking out. It was a time for flag-waving and pontificating. Bono was ready for duty.

But then the world changed. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, politics got murkier, and the future took on new types of uncertainty. At the same time, dance music and alternative rock were making dinosaurs of pop’s old guard — the ranks of which U2 had seemed determined to join with 1988’s album-film combo Rattle and Hum.

U2 sidestepped obsolescence with Achtung Baby, released 25 years ago today on Nov. 18, 1991. Produced by longtime collaborators Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, the album was a sonic shift coupled with a change of character. Suddenly, rock’s most strident group was getting down with Euro-sexy dance beats and distorted guitars. Bono morphed from mulleted cowboy hero to mischievous trickster, and the group verged on cool — not just popular — for the first time ever.

U2 <em>Achtung Baby</em>
Courtesy Photo
U2 Achtung Baby

Even so, the foursome still maintained many of their sonic hallmarks. A good example is lead single “The Fly,” one of the songs born in Berlin, where the band initiated sessions that ultimately wrapped in Dublin. In the verses, Bono sings with atypical suspicion about friendship, honesty, and originality, while the Edge co-signs his cynicism with grimy riffage. Then the chorus hits, and it’s classic U2 uplift. “We shine like a burning star,” Bono sings in glorious falsetto, like there’s something noble, even beautiful, about man’s shortcomings.

The song “The Fly” birthed the character The Fly, who Bono played in black leather and wraparound shades throughout the 1992-93 Zoo TV Tour. On a stage loaded with television screens, U2 riffed on media saturation and rock n’ roll excess, amping up the looseness and humor only hinted at on Achtung Baby. As Bono has said, the record is actually fairly dark, what with its songs about deteriorating relationships, some inspired by the Edge’s unraveling marriage. But in the absence of canyon-filling guitar chime and lyrics about mountains and fields, the music feels lighter. It doesn’t hurt that Bono begins the album by professing, through a layer of vocal effects, “I’m ready for the laughing gas.”

On songs like “So Cruel” and the unhappy finale “Love Is Blindness,” U2 forget big issues and focus on the little wars lovers wage. There are few absolute truths on Achtung Baby. On the single “Even Better than the Real Thing,” Bono flips an old Coke slogan to praise artifice in a way that U2 circa Live Aid never would have. The flamboyance and arrogance in the performance matches the sentiment. The groove doesn’t quite match the freaky dance-rock then emerging from Manchester’s “Madchester” scene, but this is hedonism U2-style.

A true highlight of U2’s catalog is “Ultra Violet (Light My Way),” a sparkling lover’s plea that presents Bono as refreshingly fragile. And then there’s the centerpiece, “One,” an all-in monster ballad whose brilliance lies in its ability to mean many things. It’s about German reunification, U2 overcoming internal tensions, and lovers saying nasty things to each other, depending on what interviews you read.

A similar ambiguity shapes “Until the End of the World.” It’s apparently about Jesus and Judas, and yet the band hardly treats this booming rocker like a Bible story. They mix up sex and religion even more effectively on “Mysterious Ways,” which reached No. 9 on the Hot 100, becoming the disc’s biggest hit. It’s U2 getting funky and, with that line about dropping to your knees to achieve transcendence, a little dirty.

Achtung Baby bought U2 another decade of relevance, and to its credit, the group used that time to push even further against expectations. If experimentation overshadowed songwriting on Zooropa and Pop — the latter promoted under a golden arch on the cheeky PopMart Tour — U2 had nevertheless found an unlikely new niche as costumed electro-rock satirists.

Then the world changed again, and fans needed U2 with the earnestness and electric guitars of 1987. All That You Can’t Leave Behind arrived nearly a year before 9/11, but songs like “Walk On” and “Beautiful Day” took on extra meaning after the attacks. Bono was once again the man for his place and time.

With humanity once again at a critical juncture, Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam get another shot to reinvent themselves and try to throw their arms around the world. Gee, think they’ll take it?

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After ‘Joshua Tree’ Tour Sells 1.1 Million Tickets in 24 Hours, U2 Adds Shows

One in my bucket list: u2, Green Day, Pearl Jam again.

1/23/2017 by

“I wish we could go everywhere,” manager Guy Oseary tells Billboard.

U2 has sold a staggering 1.1 million tickets in 24 hours for its 30th anniversary global tour of The Joshua Tree. The trek kicks off May 12 in Vancouver before hitting the U.S. and Europe, and features openers Mumford & Sons, OneRepublic and The Lumineers in North America and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in Europe.

The run also includes U2’s first ever U.S. festival headline appearance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival  as well as a hometown show in Dublin’s Croke Park on July 22. Following the sell-outs, the tour added additional dates — May 21 at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, June 29th at MetLife Stadium in E. Rutherford, and June 4th at Soldier Field in Chicago — as well as additional performances in London, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam.

U2 performs onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 23, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Says U2 manager Guy Oseary: “With U2, I’m a fan first and manager second. I’m really happy that after all the sell-outs, we could add a few more shows so more fans can have the chance to experience this once-in-a lifetime tour. I wish we could go everywhere.”

The band’s tour, management and Bonnaroo appearance are all vertically integrated under the vast Live Nation umbrella: U2’s tour is being produced by Live Nation Global Touring; Maverick’s Oseary took over the U2 management reigns in 2013 from the band’s longtime manager Paul McGuiness in a deal that merged their companies under Live Nation (and which has grown substantially since); and the world’s No. 1 promoter bought a controlling interest in Bonnaroo from regional promoters Superfly and AC Entertainment nearly two years ago.

U2 photographed in Germany in 1992. 

The Joshua Tree jaunt is U2’s first stadium tour since the 2009 through 2011 360 trek, which entered the history books with a gross of more than $736,137,344 and total attendance of 7,268,430, both the highest tour tallies ever reported to Billboard.

Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno produced The Joshua Tree, U2’s fifth studio LP and first U.S. chart-topper. The album contained such hits as “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

Imelda May Premieres ‘Black Tears’ Featuring Jeff Beck: Exclusive

First time to get acquainted with this artist through this news, but her album sounds promising to say the least with Jeff Beck and T Bone Burnett enlisting their contributions. Gotta listen to her.

The end of her long marriage to guitarist Darrel Higham gave Imelda May plenty to write about for her new — and decidedly different — album, Life Love Flesh Blood, which comes out Apr. 7. (Check out the premiere of the track “Black Tears” featuring Jeff Beck, below.)

“Life changes. You have to roll with it,” the Irish singer tells Billboard. “Certainly as an artist you have a good way to channel whatever’s going on. Songwriting, which I’m always doing, is almost like a diary.” And on Life Love Flesh Blood, produced by T Bone Burnett and recorded over seven days in Los Angeles, May took from that journal in the most unapologetically open and unvarnished way she ever has.

“On this album I didn’t want to hide anything,” May acknowledges. “I’ve always written honestly, but you get a good way of being able to hide things, like a secret code that only you know. I didn’t want to do that on this album. I wanted to write what I was feeling and not think about anybody else hearing it or listening to it. I didn’t think about anything other that how I felt.”

May chuckles as she adds, “God knows how I’m going to be able to perform it now…”

That raw emotion is certainly evident in “Black Tears,” which May co-wrote in Nashville with Angelo Petraglia. “I came up with the title first; It was after having a difficult goodbye and I came home and just caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and noticed my face was streaked with my mascara running,” May recalls. “I have a book I use for each album where I write ideas, and I just wrote ‘Black Tears.’ And when I showed it to Angelo he thought that was an interesting idea and we ran with it.” The concept also appealed to Jeff Beck, who featured May on his 2010 album, Emotion & Commotion.

“I asked Jeff if he would play on my album, ’cause he’s been so good to me,” May says. “He said, ‘Yes, send me some songs, ‘ so I sent him a few and he heard ‘Black Tears’ and said ‘I want to play on that.’ So I went down to his house and he played a few amazing solos. He was working on his 17th album at the time, so we had a great day having a few drinks and listening to each other’s albums.”

In addition to the lyrical shift, Life Love Flesh Blood also takes May in a new sonic direction, moving from rockabilly to the kind of rootsy Americana sound Burnett does so well with hints of blues and country noir. “I started with blues. That’s what I started singing as a teenager in Dublin,” May says. “It just sits well with me. So I wanted to go back to basics in a way. I said the other day it’s a fabulous mix of classy and badass — that’s the sound I wanted on this. I wanted it to be like velvet, but with a kick to it. That’s what [Burnett] does so well.”

Burnett teamed May with a small core studio band that included himself and Marc Ribot on guitars, Dennis Crouch on bass, Jay Bellerose on drums and Patrick Warren on keyboards. Jools Holland, meanwhile, contributes piano on the gospel flavored “When It’s My Time.” “T Bone and I met quite a few times before recording,” May remembers, “and when he heard the new stuff I’d been writing he said, ‘I’ve known of you. I’ve been keeping my eye on you, but you just weren’t ready for me. Now you’re ready for me.’ I completely agreed with him.”

May also had the counsel of U2‘s Bono, a good friend, while making the album. “I’ve been able to lean on him a lot. He steers me in the right direction,” May says. “He makes me make up my own mind, but he’s quite honest, which is great. He’ll say, ‘Drop that song, it’s no good,’ or he’ll say, ‘Work on that one you think is not working. It’s just not finished. Finish the bloody song!’ So he’s good that way.” Fellow Irish artist Gavin Friday, meanwhile, gave Life Love Flesh Blood its title.

May is currently planning promotional dates to support the album’s release, and she expects to tour as well on both sides of the Atlantic — and hopes her fans will embrace the set’s new sound. “I don’t know how people will take to it,” she says. “I might lose a few fans, gain a few. But it was the album I needed to make for this moment in time. And it’s not all a sad album. It’s not all about heartbreak. It’s about everything. It’s a life-change album. I think people will relate to that.”

Neil Young to Induct Pearl Jam Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | Billboard

http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7669965/neil-young-pearl-jam-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-induction

1/27/2017 by

Pearl Jam will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by frequent collaborator and rock legend Neil Young this spring.

Young and Pearl Jam memorably joined forces to play Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” at MTV’s Video Music Awards in 1993. Pearl Jam regularly covers the song on tour. Members of the band played on Young’s 1995 album “Mirror Ball.”

The Hall also announced Friday (Jan. 27) that Jackson Browne will induct folk legend Joan Baez, and Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush will present fellow progressive rockers Yes at the April 7 ceremony in New York.

David Abbruzzese (center) with Pearl Jam on Feb. 14, 1992.

Presenters for other inductees Tupac Shakur, ELO, Journey and Nile Rogers haven’t been announced.

When Will ‘Blindspot’ Season 2 Return With Episode 13?

Season 3 hangs in the balance

By Camille Heimbrod

http://www.ibtimes.com/when-will-blindspot-season-2-return-episode-13-2481536

NBC did not air a new episode of “Blindspot” Season 2 on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

The Jaimie Alexander-starrer is expected to return with episode 13, titled “Name Not One Man,” on Feb. 8. The episode will revolve around Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) revealing his real connection to Shepherd (Michelle Hurd).

In episode 12, Jane Doe (Alexander) bonded with Kurt at the latter’s home. While there, she chanced upon a photo of Kurt taken when he was still in the military. He was playing basketball in the snap, and Shepherd can be seen watching him from a distance. When Jane asked Kurt if he knows who the woman in the picture is, he said he remembers her.

Since Shepherd is actively involved in the mysterious organization Sandstorm, Kurt and his team will get a major breakthrough in their investigation. By the looks of it, Shepherd hasn’t been completely honest with Jane and Roman (Luke Mitchell) about who she really is.

Meanwhile, there are some rumors suggesting that Shepherd will be killed off in the hit NBC TV series. After her real connection to Kurt is unveiled, Jane and Roman may realize that Shepherd is not the real enemy. But it could be a little too late for the siblings to repair their relationship with her.

While speaking with TV Guide, Alexander confirmed that one major character will be killed off in Season 2. “There is a very shocking death that’s coming up that I just read last week that I didn’t know was going to happen. It’s very sad,” she said.

In other news, “Blindspot” is already halfway through Season 2, but the fate of Season 3 hasn’t been sealed yet. According to TV Line, the ratings for the show’s second season are much lower compared to Season 1. The publication is predicting that “Blindspot” has a 50/50 chance at getting renewed by the network.

Singles soundtrack reissue to contain rarities and unreleased tracks – Uncut

Gotta watch the film again if only to appreciate its soundtrack much better. Grunge, grunge, grunge!

http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/singles-soundtrack-reissue-contain-rarities-unreleased-tracks-99089

The set contains previously unreleased recordings by Chris Cornell, Mudhoney and Paul Westerberg.

Epic Soundtrax and Legacy Recordings celebrate the 25th anniversary of Cameron Crowe‘s film Singles, with the release of a newly expanded and remastered edition of the film’s soundtrack on May 19.

This new edition of the album contains previously unreleased recordings by Chris CornellMudhoney and Paul Westerberg, in addition to rarities and tracks from the film not included on the original album.

The album will be released as 2CD and 2LP sets.

This expanded edition includes, for the first time on CD, “Touch Me I’m Dick” the signature track from Singles performed by Citizen Dick – a fictional band created for the film featuring frontman Matt Dillon backed by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament.

SINGLES: ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK DELUXE EDITION track listing
Would? – Alice In Chains
Breath – Pearl Jam
Seasons – Chris Cornell
Dyslexic Heart – Paul Westerberg
Battle Of Evermore – The Lovemongers
Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns – Mother Love Bone
Birth Ritual – Soundgarden
State of Love And Trust – Pearl Jam
Overblown – Mudhoney
Waiting For Somebody – Paul Westerberg
May This Be Love – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Nearly Lost You – Screaming Trees
Drown – Smashing Pumpkins

Bonus Disc
(included in 2CD and 2LP editions)
Touch Me I’m Dick – Citizen Dick (first time on CD)
Nowhere But You – Chris Cornell (Poncier)
Spoon Man – Chris Cornell (Poncier)
Flutter Girl – Chris Cornell (Poncier)
Missing – Chris Cornell (Poncier) (first time on CD)
Would? (live) – Alice In Chains (first time on CD)
It Ain’t Like That (live) – Alice In Chains (first time on CD)
Birth Ritual (live) – Soundgarden (first time on CD)
Dyslexic Heart (acoustic) – Paul Westerberg (first time on CD)
Waiting For Somebody (score acoustic) – Paul Westerberg (previously unreleased)
Overblown (demo) – Mudhoney (previously unreleased)
Heart and Lungs – Truly
Six Foot Under – Blood Circus
Singles Blues 1 – Mike McCready (previously unreleased)
Blue Heart – Paul Westerberg (previously unreleased)
Lost In Emily’s Words – Paul Westerberg (previously unreleased)
Ferry Boat #3 – Chris Cornell (previously unreleased)
Score Piece #4 – Chris Cornell (previously unreleased)


Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/singles-soundtrack-reissue-contain-rarities-unreleased-tracks-99089#Ljz1GbIzAobjCYZH.99

Grateful Dead- Black Muddy River

Closing the album is this song. The performance here is the final concert Jerry gave with the Dead before he died almost a month later.

 

Black, Muddy River–line by line

by Andrew Stiller

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/stiller.html

The last song on the Grateful Dead’s darkest album is a heartbreaking confession of ultimate failure, relieved only by grim stoicism.

When the last rose of summer pricks my finger

An extraordinarily pregnant image that front-loads the song with most of its content. First of all, it evokes the beautiful old song “‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer,” whose whole text is relevant:

‘Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone,
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
No flow’r of her kindred,
No rose bud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one,
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go sleep thou with them;
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow
When friendships decay,
And from love’s shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Every bit of this is injected into “Black, Muddy River” at this instant. The two songs even share their first three notes in common. But what a shock! The passive, Romantic, languishing rose turns on its admirer and attacks. His world has become not merely bleak, but vicious.

We were warned. Anyone listening to this song has likely just heard the rest of In the Dark, and encountered these lines in “When Push Comes to Shove”:

Shaking in the garden, the fear within you grows;
Here there may be roses to punch you in the nose.

But there we were told that anyone harboring such a fear is “afraid of love.” The singer of “Black, Muddy River” is not afraid, but love has attacked him anyway.

And there is still more. The feminized rose of “‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer” and “When Push Comes to Shove” is only one way of looking at the flower. The Grateful Dead invoked the rose at every turn, and with multiple layers of symbolism: it stands for love, for the female principle, for the rosa mystica of Christian and Rosicrucian mysticism, for the soul in general, and for the Dead’s original “flower children” followers and their spiritual descendants, the Deadheads. Furthermore, “summer” is a common metaphor for youth or a heyday (as for example in the Doors’“Summer’s Almost Gone”). So this first line of “Black, Muddy River” means many things, none of them nice:

When my love goes wrong
When my lover rejects me
When my good deeds go bad
When my spiritual resources are exhausted
When my dwindling fans turn on me
above all: When the last person to share my ideals abandons them.

And the hot sun chills me to the bone,

This started as a lighthearted bit of nonsense in Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna” (“the sun so hot I froze to death”); but in “New Speedway Boogie!” the Dead told us that “In the heat of the sun a man died of cold” when a fan was murdered in broad daylight at Altamont. Coldness, there and here, is to be understood emotionally: The singer is depressed, and that which should normallywarm the spirits or warm the cockles of his heart instead produces bleak apathy or grim sadness.

When I can’t hear the song for the singer

Not a literal song here, but the song of life, or of humanity. The line laments an inability to see past the surface of things to their spiritual essence, an inability to “find one’s center.” The ultimate source of the metaphor is the Rolling Stones’ 1965 “The Singer, Not the Song,” whose title has become proverbial in its own right. The Stones song is a cheerful investigation of the difference between love and sex, but it also contains these words:

The same old places and the same old songs
We’ve been going there for much too long

And I can’t tell my pillow from a stone,

A depressed person sleeps very poorly.

I will walk alone by the black, muddy river

Because he has been abandoned or rejected, he must make his way alone. The river is the one from “Uncle John’s Band,” but how changed! It is polluted now (not necessarily by human agency) and is no longer a gathering place, since our protagonist finds solitude there. Even further back than “Uncle John’s Band,” the river originally came from an old revival hymn:

Shall we gather at the river
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
flowing by the throne of God?

Even in the hymn it’s a complex metaphor, representing both the allegorical “Jordan” of so many hymns–the border between earth and heaven–but also a real river where a revival meeting is to be held and, perhaps, converts baptized. The unusual use of “tide” to mean “current” is borrowed in “Uncle John’s Band,” as is the idea of gathering on the banks of a symbolic river. This pointed reference to a familiar hymn served to emphasize the Dead’s priestly role for the counterculture–which indeed is what “Uncle John’s Band” is all about. But by 1987 the counterculture was a fading memory, preserved only in the coccoon of Deadhead culture, an artificial construct limited to the time and space of a concert. The idea that something important might be at stake, that large numbers of people need to be drawn together to observe the flow of time, of history, so as to act on what they see–that urgency no longer exists, might have been an illusion from the beginning.

The river itself, turbid with life’s complexities and blackened by compromises, disappointments, and neglect, nonetheless continues to flow, as it must. But there is nothing here to drink, and the waters are opaque. Crystal tide? Hah!

Note, finally, that the music of “Black, Muddy River” is highly hymnlike, with a narrow melodic range; square, simple rhythms; simple harmonies; and blocky, uncontrapuntal accompaniment. It even vaguely resembles the tune of “Shall We Gather at the River,” though this may be a coincidence. But no hymn ever preached such despair, and the effect is of the deepest irony.

And sing me a song of my own.

In “Uncle John’s Band” the Dead ask their audience (their flock, really) for guidance as to what they should sing about for the benefit of all. Now, though, the flock are dispersed, and the singer can only sing his own song, for his own benefit.

I will walk alone by the black, muddy river
And sing me a song of my own.

When the last bolt of sunshine hits the mountain

Because of its brevity and restricted extent, the sunset gleam is likened to a lightning bolt. The language throughout this stanza is violent (hits, splatters, splits, scream), for the landscape is really an interior one. Note that it is “sunshine” (a perennial metaphor for happiness) rather than the neutral “sunlight” that is here extinguished.

And the stars start to splatter in the sky,

The stars “splatter” because they are seen as fragments of the (liquid) sunset-bolt that shattered itself against the mountain. Poets have regarded the stars with awe or serenity, but here they are mere splatters of something messy.

When the moon splits the southwest horizon

It won’t do to be too literal-minded here. If the moon were really on the southwest horizon just after sunset, it would be a new moon, and setting (it would also be high summer), while the imagery clearly intends a moon that is full, and rising. The horizon is “southwest” because the whole landscape, with its mountain and (metaphorical) eagle belongs to the Southwestern U.S. If we want, we can think of this line as a poetically compacted version of “When the moon splits the Southwest’s horizon.” Note, by the way, how deftly sketched this landscape is, like a Zen watercolor, or some of the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe. Mountain, stars, moon, horizon, and a hint at “Southwest”–that’s all there is, and it is enough.

The rising moon is another image that is usually positive, but here it is something ominous, violently cracking through the surface of the earth. South and West are metaphors for failure and death: all his plans went south. She nearly went west in that accident.

With the scream of an eagle on the fly,

Again, there is no real eagle here. The rising moon is likened to an eagle screaming as it leaps from its perch. Bad news for its prey!

I will walk alone by the black, muddy river,

In fact, this whole landscape is dead. There is no life in it at all–none in the whole song, except for the singer himself and the (purely symbolic) rose at the beginning.

And listen to the ripples as they moan.

Moaning water has long been taken as an ill omen, as for example the famous “moaning of the bar” that portends disaster for ships leaving a harbor. Here it is specifically ripples that moan, which of course refers back to the song “Ripple,” in which the “ripple in still water/ Where there is no pebble tossed/ Nor wind to blow” represents both inspiration and community, that seem to arise miraculously, without obvious cause. In “Black, Muddy River” the miracles are still on offer, but with no one to observe them, well might they moan.

I will walk alone by the black, muddy river
And sing me a song of my own.

Black, muddy river,
Roll on forever!

Another hymn reference, this time to the spiritual “Roll, Jordan, roll.” Life goes on. Time marches on. The singer must embrace that, because there is nothing else left.

I don’t care how deep or wide,
If you got another side,

The word “or” is to be understood between these lines. The singer has resigned himself to the flow of life, even if it no longer possesses an object or a goal.

Roll, muddy river,
Roll, muddy river,
Black, muddy river, roll!

When it seems like the night will last forever
And there’s nothing left to do but count the years,

“New Speedway Boogie!” concluded with the optimistic assertion that “one way or another, this darkness got to give”–but now the poet knows there is no such guarantee. The “people that dwelt in darkness” have not seen a great light, nor is there any prospect that they ever will. The possibility of a mass spiritual revolution seems more remote with every passing year.

When the strings of my heart start to sever,

Jerry Garcia had recently suffered a heart attack. The word “heartstrings” originally referred to the internal tendons of the heart. The more familiar sense of the word is intended as well, referring to that time “when friendships decay,/ And from love’s shining circle/ The gems drop away.” In any case, time is running out.

And stones fall from my eyes instead of tears,

An even more terrible image than the stone pillow of Stanza One. The singer’s emotions portend his death.

I will walk alone by the black, muddy river
And dream me a dream of my own.

The collective dream is gone, and the singer must dream alone. The “song” metaphor of previous choruses is here made overt.

I will walk alone by the black, muddy river
And sing me a song of my own,
And sing me a song of my own.