Vince Meserko shares his latest playlist, just in time to get you through that turkey coma
1. “The End of the Rainbow” – Richard & Linda Thompson
This unbelievably stark and hopeless song is quite unnerving but also quite beautiful. The chord changes flow remarkably well and Thompson’s peerless voice is especially mournful over the top of acoustic guitar and plodding bass and drums. “There’s nothing to grow up for anymore” sings Richard as the song slows to a halt. Yikes.
2. “Hotel Blues” – Loudon Wainwright III
Loudon (father of Rufus and Martha) is known for his darkly humorous folk songs. This is a more serious character sketch of a lonely singer on the road. “Come up to my motel room, treat me nice” Wainwright sings in his high-pitched, warbly voice. This is a very simple song but conveys an awful lot between the vulnerable vocals, the pleading lyric, and the two acoustic guitars that strum along.
3. “Just Like a Woman” – Bob Dylan
This is one of Bob’s best known songs, but the version I recently discovered comes from the Live 1966 Bootleg Series vol. 4 release. It adds a great deal of starkness to the proceedings. The acoustic guitar for some reason sounds more deliberate in this version. It’s much less waltzy and playful than the original (but much better in my opinion). Dylan almost whispers some of the lines and the long harmonica outro make for a remarkable performance.
4. “Hymn #101” – Joe Pug
There are a million introspective folky singer-songwriters out there, but Joe far surpasses most of them. This song has so many beautiful lines that it’s hard to pick out my favorite. Almost every lyric is perfectly realized and Pug’s voice manages to be direct without getting bogged down in too much earnestness. The lightly plucked guitar works as the perfect complement. This is a really special songwriter that is worth keeping an eye on.
5. “The Walk to the God House” – Dan Reeder
Reeder, despite looking like an unremarkable suburban dad, writes some of the weirdest folk songs I’ve heard in awhile. He wrote all the songs on all three of his albums, but also made his own instruments and did all of the album artwork. This is one from his newest release “This New Century.” Dan’s voice is very distinct. It’s low, smooth, and sly. “The Walk to the God House” is one of Dan’s more serious songs, but it’s still humorous. Dan harmonizes with his own voice on this one which imitates the sound of an acapella group.
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