Saturday, May 22, 2010

Trapped in lament/To the poet's core

Mayer, despite his propensity to spontaneously combust on the pressure of his own thought pattern whenever prompted to speak in any other form than lyrics, has a knack for choosing covers.

I really do think he's a genius. Particularly when he lets the guitar do the talking.

Now, I have a soft-spot for the guy because 1. I actually kinda get his logic most of the time (not the napalm thing, but the other stuff). It almost always comes out wrong, but I see what he's getting at. And 2. probably most importantly, I feel attached to him because, amongst everyone I know, I take credit for "discovering him" in 1999. That sounds kind of ridiculous (nobody discovers anybody) but I did befriend him at a coffee shop in Little Five Points in Atlanta one hot July day in 1999. I went up to him largely because I thought he was cute and tall and had a downright buttery voice. But even more than that, I went up to him to make someone else jealous.

It worked. John & I pseudo (pseudo pseudo) stayed in touch for a number of years (I promoted Room For Squares in Japan) and later on that day in L5P, the boy I was trying to make jealous actually kinda fought with 2 other boys for the privilege of buying me a dress (Which I still have.)

But anyhow, John always puts out an album of what I need, when I need it. This winter, the stellar cover of "I'm On Fire" was one of the best things about his new album and I've noticed for several months that he's been pairing the song in concert with joke, straightup heavenly...Emmylou Harris song, "Where Will I Be."

I like the weight he adds to the song. John's version feels very repentant, very of the human element. Of the body. Wounded in a different way. Emmylou's is  so light-winged, which is part of what's great about the song might fly away.

I remember Emmylou Harris very vividly from childhood. Especially this song. I remember wishing I could have a mother like Emmylou Harris, soft and soothing like she was: one part, like, medicine woman or hippie tree-nymph and one part bless-her-heart gospel mother. Like you think she's going to smell like patchouli, and instead she smells like jasmine.

I love questions not phrased as questions. I love that "Where Will I Be," somehow doesn't sound like a question ever in this song... just a looking out, into the distance.

We listened to a lot of Emmylou while we were waiting for TL  to arrive.
And I'm thinking of her now on this perfect Friday evening, along with John and his great taste in covers.

Happy Weekend. Enjoy the original after the jump.

The streets are cracked
And there's glass everywhere
And a baby stares out
With motherless eyes
Under long gone beauty
On fields of war
Trapped in lament
To the poet's core

Oh where oh where will I be
Oh where oh when that trumpet sounds 

Met an Indian boy in Ottawa
He laid me down on a bed of straw
Said don't waste your breath
Don't waste your heart
Don't blister your heels
Running in the dark

Oh where oh where will I be
Oh where oh when that trumpets sounds

Yeah I like the heat
Of your body laying under me
May your wild lip get you where you're going
With your inventions your intentions, your laughter
Your forever yearning

Oh where oh where will I be?
Oh where oh when that trumpets sounds?

I walked to the river
And I walked to the rim
I walked through the teeth of the reaper's grin
I walked to you rolled up in wire
To the other side of desire

Oh where oh where will I be
Oh where oh when that trumpets sounds

Oh where oh where oh where when that trumpet sounds
Oh where oh where oh when that trumpet sounds

Well the heart opens wide like it's never seen love
And addiction stays on tight like a glove
Oh where oh where will I be

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