I Know What I Know

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Last night at the gathering, Denise played the sountrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? I knew that it was good (I’ve seen the movie), and I knew most of the music and players on it, since I’m a big fan of the singer-songwriter/Americana/folk renaissance going on now.

In the course of conversation, I learned that Denise had never heard Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, or Emmylou Harris (the voices of the Sirens in the movie) on anything other than the soundtrack. I promised her I’d make her a compilation CD to take with her on sabbatical.

Well, I’ve made it. I’m listening to it now, partly because I want to check it out, and partly because this is music that I dearly love. Gillian Welch is singing “I dream a highway back to you” to me right now. I know little about this song other than this: it is nearly 15 minutes long, and when she and David Rawlings recorded it, they had never played it all the way through before. It’s a first take. Most of the songs on Time (The Revelator) are.

I was sitting here a few minutes ago listening to Welch’s “April the 14th, Part I.” I’d never really paid much attention to it other than to recognize that it was about the assassination of Lincoln (among other things). But that’s not it.

April 14 was also the day the Titanic sank.

It was also the day of the “Black Sunday” dustbowl storm (the one that “turned day into night”):

Ruination day, when the sky was red
I went back to work, back to bed
Then the iceberg broke, then the Okies fled
And the great emancipator took a bullet in the back of the head

Welch is absolutely brillant.

If you want to have some fun, do a search for “April 14 tragedy” in google.

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Written by srogers

July 2, 2011 at 2:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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