Cody Beebe recalls his grandfather fondly. Even in a wheelchair, his body ravaged from a battle with lung cancer, the elder fan showed his support for his grandson’s band, Cody Beebe & The Crooks.
“He would show up to our concerts in a wheel chair wearing our band t-shirt, no matter how he felt,” Beebe recently told me after returning from a weekend in the San Juans writing songs with fellow Seattle-area songwriter Blake Noble.
When his grandfather passed away in the winter of 2011, Beebe tells me, the entire band was affected. They all sat around a campfire and wrote a song together, pulling mostly on Beebe’s relationship with cancer, including its impact on his uncle who was undergoing chemo treatments. “Bitter Run,” a simple, powerful ballad about the effect of cancer on the loved ones left helpless, or left behind, appeared on the band’s latest full-length album, Out Here.
“Seeing my grandma and my aunt going through what they were going through was what really inspired the song,” he said.
That song is being rereleased today, on World Cancer Day, along with the first in a two part video series (above). The proceeds from sales of the single will go to Melodic Caring Project, a Seattle non-profit that beams live concerts from around the area to sick kids.
For the video shoot, Beebe and his bass player Eric Miller sought out a serene location where they could tell a simple story. “Bitter Run” is a largely literal ballad and the video follows suit. “Everyone’s wondering what is on your mind,” Beebe sing, roughly. “Everyone’s leaving here, some before their time. The look in your eye says you’re on your knees,” and there is the story’s hero, collapsed on the floor of her kitchen.
“It is a heavy video,” Beebe says, “but there is hope in it. Although cancer is all around us, the fact is that life goes on, the world keeps turning.”
Key to conveying that sense of acceptance and peace, said Beeb, was the video’s landscape, captured during a weekend stay at a fan’s ranch in Sequim. Beebe said that he and Miller, who run a video production company together, just needed one more element in order to really convey the emotion of the song.
“We wanted it to snow,” the singer said. “We were disappointed that there wasn’t any when we arrived. We went out to a hotel the night before the shoot and went to bed. When we woke up the next morning, it had snowed. It was the only day it snowed up there all year.”