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Brad Peterson’s “Keepsakes in the Garbage” Is a Memorable Ode to Moving On

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In the woods near Lake Michigan, Brad Peterson writes and records some incredible tunes from a garden shed he built. That setting is pretty ideal if you ask me. No wonder his music is so good.

All of Peterson’s music feels so real. With five albums, an EP, and many singles out everywhere, you can hear the raw grit of his voice in every song. Accompanied by folky sounds of guitar and bright drums, his music takes you right to the woods with him. 

Peterson’s “Keepsakes in the Garbage” is a perfect example of that. Originally written in 1993 and recorded in 1995, he released the Silver Anniversary Edition of the song in February, 27 years after it was written.

“The house has been sold, I won’t be living here no more.
I’m walking out the door, but I’ve got keepsakes in the garbage.”

Those lyrics come 30 seconds into the song, and it immediately sets the nostalgic scene in your head. He’s leaving and the physical items that hold the memories in his mind are gone. He goes on to describe the keepsakes which create a vivid picture.

“All the ribbons and my medals in a hefty bag, The t-bird’s in the junkyard and all I got is crumpled drawings by the road and then a careful handed garbage man starts to unfold.”

Not only does the simple and familiar sounds of the production create the feeling of remembrance, we can also all relate to these simple lyrics of Peterson’s. We all have memories of our childhood, ones we enjoy reminiscing on often. We may not know exactly what ribbon or medal he’s talking about, but we all have ours too.

“Crayola built this house with an orange roof,  flowers, clouds and rainbows too.
I think of the old man, I see his face and I hear his voice and then I open another can.”

These two lines are definitely my favorite. They come right next to each other, and it’s a perfect description of the memory that then creates the reality. We all come to a point in our lives where we struggle with the acceptance that we’re growing up and our childhood is truly passed. We look back and wonder how it all went so fast, when we’re living in the whirlwind of the world today. 

I find it pretty cool that he didn’t release the song until years after it was written. I’m sure it was the same nostalgia that wrote the song that brought him to release it too. 

Wherever you are in life, the honesty of this song is something all of us can relate to. You can find it in all of Peterson’s music. Lyrics and sounds that feel familiar, like they were meant just for you.

This song is one that we all need to hear. It’s a timeless story filled with the sounds of what you may call, “the better days.” Go to your happy place, relax, and let the nostalgia take over. You won’t regret it. 

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