February 2005

These are the CDs I dragged myself away from the wonder of iTunes and CD-Rs for this month.  :-)

On the Road to Kingdom Come by Harry Chapin

I have several Harry Chapin CDs but, for right now anyway, this is the one I really feel pulled to.  I've yet to hear a Harry Chapin song I disliked and this CD has several songs I *love*.  I love how the title track starts off sounding like a lil kids song and then goes into a litany of very adult concerns.  And the absolutely chilling "Mayor of Candor Lied."  In addition, it's got "Corey's Coming", "If My Mary Were Here", and "Caroline".  All songs which make me want to take a cue from my parents who named me off of Chapin's song "Jenny" and name my own future daughters after Harry Chapin songs.  I just love Chapin's ability to humanize his creations, exemplified in "Laugh Man" but very much a part of all the songs here. 

Time After Time by Eva Cassidy

I got this and "Songbird" after hearing Ms. Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" on a promo for "Touched by an Angel".  Both CDs are fantastic.  Hers is a very different but beautiful "Time After Time".  Dream-like.  Another favorite is "Ain't No Sunshine", a song I'd heard several times by different people but never payed attention to til her version.  "Penny to My Name" is a heart-breaking story-song of a poor girl longing for a second chance.   Her cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" is simpler than the original.  I prefer the original but this is quite nice.  However, my very favorite on this CD is "Way Beyond the Blue".  What I like about this CD is Eva Cassidy's diverse selection of songs.  You can just visualize every where from a smoky, dimly lit blues club to a small town past its peak to a country chapel. 

Rise and Shine by Randy Travis

Truly a CD I would never have anticipated enjoying as much as I have.  I'm only just so fond of country music and also fairly iffy regarding gospel.  Put the two together... definitely not a sure deal with me.  But this I like.  I'm late in coming to the Randy Travis appreciation, I enjoyed hearing him perform on the episodes of TBAA he appeared on.  But it wasn't until this CD was released that I really thought "Wow... I should get that."  Love "Raise Him Up", I'm such a sucker for father/son songs for some reason.  "When Mama Prayed" I first heard on the series finale of TBAA and nearly cried it was so touchingly used.  Some time later I really came to dislike that episode for a myriad of reasons but my appreciation for this song was undiminished.  Some songs like "I'm Ready" and "Jerusalem's Cry" don't really veg with my personal religious views but... gosh darn the songs are good.  "Three Wooden Crosses" sounds like an email forward but... gosh darn it again if I didn't get goosebumps the first time I heard it and the plot surprise was revealed.  "Pray for the Fish" makes me smile, good to have a sense of humor about religion.  Anyhow, nice change of pace for me. 

Garden State produced by Zach Braff

Zach Braff completely deserved his Grammy for putting this compilation together.   I really appreciate that this isn't a soundtrack packed with rock songs everyone has heard a bazillion times.  I loved the movie and all these songs fit so well with it.  And they sound good on their own, too.  The two songs by The Shins are great, I was familiar with "New Slang" from "Scrubs" but "Caring is Creepy" was new to me.  They have a really unique sound to em.  It's hard to pick out any stand-outs cause they're all just really good and flow into each other perfectly.  However, if I absolutely had to choose favorites I'm quite fond of Iron & Wine's "Such Great Heights", "Let Go" by Frou Frou and Zero 7's "In the Waiting Line." 

Waking Ned Devine music composed by Shaun Davey

Well, college may not have been the enlightening, radically life-changing experience I thought it would be but it did at least introduce me to this film and, by extension, its soundtrack.  So it was all worth it.  :-)  This soundtrack is largely instrumental score but with a few song gems.  "Fisherman's Blues" by The Waterboys is delightful and upbeat despite its title.  And vocal work in other tracks like "Cursing in Heaven" is lovely.  The score itself varies a lot so it's not like every track sounds the same, a problem I've noticed with other scores.  "The Ballad Of Ned Devine/ The Witches Reel" is another song and it's a good thing I like it cause it got stuck in my head!  The final track "The Parting Glass; Forever In Your Debt" is so great I want it played at my funeral.  In the meantime, I'm content to listen to it several times while still kickin'.  "Hear Me" is a very close second for favorite track, the lyrics are melancholy but then so hopeful.  Although "Lux Eterna. My Eternal Friend" with the eulogy delivered by Ian Bannen's Jackie gets me every time...  Ah well, it's all just great. 

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