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Conor Oberst Goes Into The Desert

Conor Oberst says he's not deliberately thinking about fleeing home — but it keeps coming up in his songs. He's written about a road trip, the healing powers of the road and escape.

"Traveling and movement has been a real big part of my life," he says. "To me, there's a lot of optimism in changing scenery."

For his latest, album, which is self-titled, he recorded on the grounds of a vacant hotel in Mexico. He went from his native Omaha, Neb., to a town known for its Aztec pyramid.

He says he did a lot of the recording for Conor Oberst outside and on the porch. "I sang in a hammock for some of the vocal takes," he says. "I don't know the science of it, but it sure was comfortable." He recorded at night most of the time, too, so crickets and fireworks can be heard in the distance on some songs.

Oberst says some of his songs come from a subconsious mix of things he's experienced and conversations he's overheard. He's says they all blend together and come out in "dream-like ways."

But some of his songs are explicit stories, like "I Don't Want To Die (In The Hospital)," which he calls "a jailbreak song." A 75-year-old friend of his requested that if it ever came to it, Oberst would bust him out of the hospital so he could die in the desert under the stars.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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