‘White Toyota Ranger’

Making music at a long-time Claymont service station

A landmark Claymont service station gets its four minutes and seven seconds of fame in a new music video. Shot for Jonah Tolchin’s “White Toyota Ranger,” the video required one long summer day—and into a crashing evening thunderstorm – at Joe and Tony’s Service on Philadelphia Pike.

“Jonah is the thread, the soul, something of a ghost, something unseen,” says Joe del Tufo, co-owner of Moonloop Photography. It’s the first video done by del Tufo’s Arden firm, which was hired by Tolchin after he was impressed by photos del Tufo captured at a 2018 Arden Music Gild concert. The video can be seen on YouTube, at youtu.be/9Mox-COKn-s.

As director of photography, storyboarder and editor, Moonloop’s Justin Heyes executed Tolchin’s vision for the song, which the 27-year-old New Jersey singer-songwriter says was inspired by a random encounter with a crying man in Maine, just after the 2016 election—hence the early lyric “wondering what became of the nation.” Although Tolchin says he likes his music to be ambiguous, he says “humanity and unity are the underlying themes of the song.”

Most of the video is in the waiting room of the station, which dates to 1928, and shots showcase its well-used equipment, retro decorations and period architecture.

The video characterizes Tolchin as the Spirit. “Jonah is trapped there and collects all [the characters’] emotions,” Heyes says. And at the end, after singing “I’ll be on my way” four times, he can leave.

The other characters express familiar emotions: Wayne Knotts as Disappointment; Amy Henderson as Anxiety; Maren Wood as Uncertainty; Pam Atkinson as Frustration; John DiCostanza as Calmness; Sam Wilson as Wonder, and Alex Comitto as Love.

Most participants came from Wilmington’s City Theater Company, but DiCostanza got this gig, playing the mechanic, because of his longtime ownership of the station. “I won’t look at any video the same way from now on, considering the time and effort this took,” he says.

“I love it,” Tolchin says. “Really beautiful physicals, narrative and message.”

“White Toyota Ranger” is on Yep Roc Records’ Fires for the Cold. And, yes, as the video admits in an epilogue and as Tolchin learned in making it, there’s no such vehicle. Ford makes the Ranger. He misremembered the make while writing the song and by the time he learned the truth—while making the video—it was too late.

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