06 May, 2008

Wakeup Song

I think I wrote in my last post about my body's odd ability to wake me when great music is pumping through my speakers. It happened this morning!

At first I could only hear a guitar: something acoustic, with a professional use of microphone to layer the live sound. A folk song with a little country twang, and a taste of environmental activism that strikes me as genuine, if not borne from years of living "in the wild", so to speak. It's not quite Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi", but the sentiment is very similar. I found myself thinking 'this girl [I did not know her name at the time] is tapping into a set of emotions that combines activism with the deterioration of human society' (granted, my words were probably much less coherent and eloquent than those that I just wrote).

The lyrics are seamlessly interwoven, describing the protagonist's mournfulness at change that brings deep loss. Be it "the trees", "the deer", the idea of living life slowly, or her love, this girl can see that all of these losses are connected and symbiotic in some ways. She longs for something more stable and proven by time, and so she wanders into antique shops that christen the long road, and stares at the old rings that "don't cost as much but...meant everything, to someone else in a different time". What do you say about that? What do you say about lyrics that jump out of your stereo and shake you? The song is full of those kinds of lyrics. "It's been a long year, it's been a long day, and we say nothing because there's too much to say", for example, or "at the end of the day, and at the end of this year I know you'll still be there, but I will be here". They're very simple lines and lyrics, nothing fluffy or stuffy poetic, but they're poetic nonetheless.

I bet by now you want me to reveal the song and the artist, so I will. Natalia Zukerman is a folk singer born in Manhattan. With classically trained (and performing) parents, she was inundated with music from an early age. Her latest album is called Brand New Frame, and it on this album that we find "Only Trees", the song described above. Apparently WERS did an In-Studio with Natalie Zukerman, and this live take was what made my ears perk up this morning. I really don't know about the rest of the album, but if it's anything like "Only Trees", then it's worth hearing.

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