52 albums – week 44

The question this week and every week there have been questions.
Is which Indigo Girls Album to send up? I had a lot of trouble choosing between them. Every one of their records has moments (heck some of those moments are a C.D long) but Rites of Passage seemed to be the one that stuck.
It’s full of everything that Emily & Amy do so well. Those beautiful harmonies of theirs (one soprano and one Alto) that perfectly complement, as they slide in and out of each other with effortless ease.
Those lilting guitars that run like clear water through all the tracks but especially come to the fore in a song like Nashville.
Their inventiveness, where just to confound you they throw a song like Virginia Woolf  into the play-list. It’s startling opening setting the mood (maybe the Century too) as the girls springboard off it and into the song.
Then there’s Romeo & Juliet which I included in one of the earlier compilations (week 29). It’s one of those rare covers that eclipses the original. Their version is rough and urgent and steeped with the desperation of teenage love. It’s a lovely song that Mark Knopfler wrote, one of those secret pleasures that you don’t admit to liking out loud, but I don’t think Dire Straits quite captured the immediacy that the Indigo Girls bring to their version.
But it’s Cedar Tree, the Album closer which stays with you. What can I say, I generally don’t believe in ‘bests’, my favorites are often the last ones I listened too but this song pushes that aside. Why do I love it? Because I’m an old romantic fool as one of the YouTube commentators wrote. Because it’s just a beautiful image they evoke. Because in that imagery, in those lyrics, is their ethos which is as much a part of their music (the moral imperative to act conscionably) as their instruments and voices. Because the guitar break (at 1:50)  rises effortlessly out of the melody and is the perfect link between the two tempos. Because that brief little jig neatly divides the song. Because they return to the beginning to close. Because the bagpipes are used sparingly and come in at just the right moments. Because the fiddle playing is just sublime. Because it is such a soft brush they bring to the canvas.
But above all else, because it’s honest and authentic and true and you know that what was lost, was real.

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One Response to 52 albums – week 44

  1. Lindy Mint says:

    Ah, Indigo Girls. After college, I spent a 30 day road trip listening to their albums for a good percentage of the ride. And when I was learning to play guitar, plunking away at Closer to Fine helped me grow like no other song could.

    I have a problem with only wanting to listen to new music now. If I listened to it and loved it in the past, I like to keep it there for some reason. But maybe I’ll have to dig this album up again. It’s a goodie.

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