Sedona by Houndmouth: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

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A four-member musical band, Houndmouth was formed in 2011. It hit fame when it released its song ‘Sedona’ in 2014 under the album ‘Little Neon Limelight’. Some tracks on the same album include ‘Otis,’ ’15 Years,’ ‘For No One,’ ‘Black Gold’ and more. The band started playing on the local scene with shows in their native Louisville and Indiana. They appeared at The South in 2012 where they caught the attention of a record executive. His name was Geoff Travis, and he offered the band a contract soon after.

This record led to performances on major television shows such as: The Today Show and Letterman. They also performed at festivals including ACL (Austin City Limits Festival), Americana Music Festival, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. In an interview for Spin Magazine, Houndmouth was named a must-see act at Lolla. In Esquire’s SXSW review 2012, they said, “You’d be hard-pressed to find a more effortless well-crafted mix of roots rock this year than the debut album from this Louisville quartet.”

Houndmouth is noted for its experimentation with several genres like alternative blues and rockabilly. While Matt Myers is a guitarist and the lead singer, Zak Appleby plays bass and Shane Cody is the drummer. The Guardian’s chose Houndmouth as the “Band of the Week” in 2012.

“Sedona” was recorded in 2014. It is the first single off the band’s 2015 record ‘Little Neon Limelight.’ The song also features Katie Toupin, the former keyboardist and backing vocalist of the band. Matt began writing the song in New Orleans and refined it with help from his band members. The song is released on YouTube on Handmouth’s channel. The channel currently has over 27.4k subscribers and the song has so far garnered more than 14M views.

What does the title mean?

Before getting into Sedona lyrics meaning, let’s understand the title. The title is the name of a city called Sedona. It is one of the most famous destinations in America. Sedona has many special and unique natural views that differentiate it from any other place in the country. These include immense red-colored rock formations, evergreen trees and a strong air of relaxation and serenity!

The red rocks found here are equally beautiful as they are stimulating for the mind and soul. They go hand-in-hand with the very essence of Sedona’s energy, which makes it such an exciting place to visit.

Sedona can also be a girl’s name, but probably not the one the song is referring to.

Verse 1 – What does it mean?

The red sandstone, it fell

Right smack on top of Sedona Arabelle

The first two lines bring our attention to Sedona. Sedona is a city in the state of Arizona that’s famous for its red sandstone formations and consistently pleasant climate. The city is named after Sedona Schnebly, the city’s first postmaster’s wife.

When John Ford said, “Won’t you hop on in?”

And the Stagecoach baby gonna take you for a spin, oh whoa

Whoa whoa

Famous movies like Stagecoach (for example) were filmed here because of its great scenic beauty. You could almost assume from watching “Stagecoach” directed by John Ford that spending time in Sedona is mind-blowing! 

What does the chorus mean?

Well hey little Hollywood

You’re gone but you’re not forgot

You got the cash but your credit’s no good

You flipped the script and you shot the plot

The first four lines refer to Sedona’s film history and how important role it played in Hollywood films.

Originally, the City of Sedona was in the production of almost 100 films – most during the early twentieth century when many westerns were filmed. The wide open movie set-like scenes that are present in this town look like they could be found in movies. Therefore, it became a desired location perfect for film producers to shoot.

The town was thriving, but as the western genre declined and Hollywood began to favor bigger cities, Sedona’s film industry died out. As the years went by, the old western town fell into disrepair which was quite unfortunate for this quaint area. 

As the years went by, the old western town fell into disrepair which was quite unfortunate for this quaint area.

“You flipped the script and you shot the plot” is a metaphor indicating failure.

And I remember, I remember when the neon used to burn so bright and pink

Saturday night kind of pink

The last two lines remember the old Sedona where you could see neon lights everywhere at the weekends. It’s a symbol of people spending late nights and having a jolly time.

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Verse 2 – What does it mean?

Well the blacklist and its hosts

He came down so swift

And you drove him to the coast

This verse is about how it feels to be abandoned and forgotten for a long while. It likely refers to the screenwriter Albert Maltz. His screenplay for Broken Arrow was filmed (in Sedona). He did not receive credit, presumably due to a political blacklisting as part of The Hollywood 10; they were also known as the “Unfriendly 10” or “Hollywood Ten.”

We’re going California but we’re all out of work

I guess that’s better than a grave and a hearse, oh whoa

Whoa whoa

This line is an analogy to saying that despite the sadness, I’m alive and I’m thankful for it.

Verse 3 – What does it mean?

Now the devil’s in a rush

And this duct tape makes you hush

The first two lines confirm a feeling of rootlessness, and perhaps even a sense of betrayal. It feels something that was once so important is now hopelessly in the past. The situation is out of control and there is no point or power to raise a voice – what’s gone is gone.

Mentioning the devil here creates a sense of deep sadness for a lost love.

Well, hey there, Sedona, let me cut you a deal

I’m a little hungover and I may have to steal your soul

Oh ho

The last two lines mean that hey, hold on, I can relate with you and your beauty. I have been boozing too much, so I might be in a state of hangover (literally the dizziness caused by having drunk too much). Also, I might want to pick up my spirits with a visit to Sedona. It could mean in a romantic way, where I might fall in love with you again because you have charmed me.

It acknowledges a feeling tied to the present (or perhaps even a kind of acceptance), though you may not be sure exactly what you are prepared to accept.


The song is about accepting the fact that things do not always go according to plan, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel no matter what.

The song talks about “when the neon used to burn” clearly referencing moments within the past which made an impression on the singer. But ultimately it acknowledges that regardless of these moments, whether or not they can be replicated, life is still beautiful. There are still many things to be thankful for.

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