[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

3.21.2004

the voice i wish i had

every few years i run across someone whose music i just fall in love w/ -- you know, your david wilcoxes, john gorkas, derek webbs. this go round, it's richard shindell. dunno how i didn't hear about this guy before b/c some of my old favorites have covered his songs, plus he teamed up w/ lucy kaplansky and dar williams (whose "february" is hands down the most beautiful song i've ever heard) for a project called cry, cry, cry. nevertheless, however late i have come to this party, i'm here and happy. shindell writes haunting music, and his lyrics are, well, lyrical. i borrowed my boss' cry, cry, cry and shindell's latest solo record, courier, a live compilation that includes the amazing "transit" that you really have to hear to believe. no kidding. and the deal was sealed when i heard his version of james keelaghan's "cold missouri waters," a survivor's narrative of the deady mann gulch fire near helena, montana in 1949. that conflagration, which took the lives of 13 smokejumpers, just so happens to be the subject of young men and fire, norman maclean's last book and one of my favorites. tonight i got a used copy of somewhere near paterson, and it's great too. all shindell's songs are quintessentially american, and he's a former student @ union theological seminary in nyc, too, so he's rapidly closing on a spot in my top 5 people i'd most like to have dinner w/.

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