Posts Tagged ‘Joanna Newsom’

I am running a little late this morning, having slept longer than normal in that world of dreams. It’s a strange world even in normal times but lately every dream somehow seems even weirder in these even odder days. I think I would sometimes prefer the dreamless nights of the psychotic mind.

But that reason aside,  after I got here I fixated on this smaller painting above in a corner of studio. From 2009, it’s called Two Sides of Blue and there’s something in it that always gives me pause. It certainly did this morning. Made me think it might be a good piece to couple with a piece of music and the first thing that came to mind was a song from Joanna Newsom. I guess she would be called a folk harpist. I don’t know how others categorize her actually. She’s a classically trained harpist who is a singer/songwriter. It’s probably her distinctive voice, somewhat reminiscent of the plaintive flatness of old timey bluegrass singers, that makes her such a a hard artist to pigeon hole. So, why bother?

This song just feels good this morning with this painting. Maybe written by someone on one side of this blue canal. I threw in the lyrics to read along with the music.

Have a good day, folks.

This Side of the Blue

Svetlana sucks lemons across from me,
and I am progressing abominably.
And I do not know my own way to the sea
but the saltiest sea knows its own way to me.

And the city that turns, turns protracted and slow
and I find myself toeing th’Embarcadero
and I find myself knowing
the things that I knew
which is all that you can know
on this side of the blue.

And Jaime has eyes
black and shiny as boots
and they march at you two-by-two
(re-loo re-loo);
when she looks at you,
you know she’s nowhere near through:
it’s the kindest heart beating
this side of the blue.

And the signifieds butt heads
with the signifiers,
and we all fall down slack-jawed
to marvel at words!
When across the sky sheet the
impossible birds, in a steady,
illiterate movement homewards.

And Gabriel stands beneath forest and moon.
See them rattle & boo,
see them shake, and see them loom.
See him fashion a cap from a page of Camus;
and see him navigate deftly this side of the blue.

And the rest of our lives
will the moments accrue
when the shape of their goneness
will flare up anew.
Then we do what we have to do
(re-loo re-loo),
which is all that you can do
on this side of the blue.

It’s all that you can do
on this side of the blue.

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The Sprout and the Bean

I don’t know a lot about famous harpists except for possibly Harpo Marx, who I have featured here before playing an ethereal Take Me Out to the Ballgame.  To tell the truth I can’t think of another harpist at the moment except for Joanna Newsom.  My nephew introduced me to her music a few years ago and I have to admit it has taken some time for me to warm to it.  It has not been the harp playing, the sound of which I really love. 

 No, it was getting past her voice.

It’s a high, flat voice that some have called childlike, a term to which I understand Newsom objects.  Others have said it is reminiscent of the voices of  the Appalachian hill folk and their traditional songs.  I kind of find it in somewhere in between and had a tough time hearing it set in contrast  against the beautiful tones of the harp.  But I keep listening and there are now many moments when I really see the beauty in her truly unique talent.  The Sprout and the Bean is such a moment.

Have a great Saturday.


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