Tag Archives: new

IRON AND WINE – Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat

So, I know it has been a while – both for me and a music review. But, you know, life happens. And lately, life has been crazy. New, old, unstable, unrelenting, busy life. I’ve been more stressed in the past few months than I have for the entire year.

And so, with all that anxiety in worrying about the past and future, I decided to pick a song that, I believe, is all about focusing on now.  “Communion Cups and Someone’s Coat” from Around the Well, is one of my favorites from Iron and Wine. Sam Beam is the man behind the name and has one of the most calming voices I have ever heard. One that I, frankly, cannot get enough of.

The acoustics in this song are simple and beautiful, repeating this flowing melody with sharper upper tones and a ghostly echo. Like so many Iron and Wine songs, there is an earthiness to the sound and an easiness that is both relaxing and familiar. There are no drums, no bass, and nothing fancy – just Sam’s voice, the guitar, and a woman’s voice backing vocals to enhance the wonder.

Sam starts in with the first set of verses and answers:

Talk of yesterday and she will show her
brothers photographed in calloused clothes.
Say tomorrow and she’ll say come find me,
on a beach and there will be no moon.

But say
today
and she will
kiss your face
and maybe
forgive.

Looking at this, many meanings can come forward from the lyrics dependent on a person’s history and life experiences. For me, right now, it is about today. The woman Sam talks about goes off on a sad nostalgia (photographed, calloused clothes) when asked about the past and when it comes to the future, it is dark and unknown (no moon). However, when you ask about the present and what is happening now, she is delighted.

The second verse continues this:

Talk of yesterday like bargain shoestring,
she will kick the car and find her friends.
Say tomorrow and then she’ll describe some
old communion cups and someone’s coat.

But say
today
and she may
look your way
and lead you
home.

When the past is mentioned, the woman is angered and begins to look for her friends.  To me that is a reaction to find comfort now in the people that surround you. When the tomorrow comes about, she diverges and reminisces on details that are not important in life. As if to say, why focus on things to come and not enjoy right now? I love how when today is the topic, she pays attention to the speaker and leads them home. She is so delighted to be in the moment with another person that she will share her home.

This song is a reminder to me to stop worrying about what happened yesterday, quit analyzing the probabilities of my futures, and just enjoy the now. Be present in the moment and live life.

Please take a listen to the song here .  I encourage you to then keep exploring Iron and Wine and bathe in Sam’s heart-wrenching sound.

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NIGHT

Wind whooshes through trees
and the cicadas screech.

The sun has knelt
as the coyotes yelp.

Limbs tangle and sway
creating a whole network
of elevated braids.

Stars flicker and hide
behind puffed clouds in the sky.

The air cools
as the Night rues
the warmth of Day
and passage of change.

ENDS OF THE EARTH – Lord Huron

Led by Ben Schneider, Lord Huron is an Indie-folk band out of Los Angeles with a smooth, rolling sound. “Lonesome Dreams” was their freshman album released in 2012, largely composed of songs Schneider himself wrote while surrounded with the beauty of the Michigan area around Lake Huron.

Ends of the Earth is the first track starting with a gentle rhythm guitar and subtle humming harmony. The initial sound itself puts me in the mind of a western, perhaps the start of a day rising to the morning sun. Schneider then starts in describing rivers un-traced, mountains un-climbed, and land untouched by time. And that is where Lord Huron began to steal my heart.

This song is filled with imagery of the world left to be discovered and found. “To the ends of the earth would you follow me/There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see.” He goes on to ask, a lover perhaps, if she would follow him. If she said no, then it was time for them to say their goodbyes and he to go on wandering alone.

The steady pace of this song seems to fits perfectly with the theme. The percussion is gated to a point that reminds me of a gallop with a nice echo that resounds in endless space. At other points the violin mimics trills that gives way to a fluttering, light feeling. Birds dancing in the sky? Or just the excited emotion for an unknown adventure? There are several layers in the song to be explored on their own – so much that I think the live experience would be amazing.

One of my favorite lines from Ends of the Earth is “What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given/ If all you do is stand in one place.” As an avid hiker, wanna-be explorer, and someone that rarely says no to something unfamiliar and new, I love that lyric. Experience has always mattered more to me than the material side of things. I couldn’t imagine always staying put, doing the same job, and living the way as everyone before me. Don’t misunderstand me – for some people that is their dream – but for me, “there’s a world that calls…” and I’m always trying to “head() out into the unknown.”

Please take a listen and check out the neat-o animated music video here. Don’t forget to check out the full lyrics below.

Enjoy!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

“Ends of the Earth” by Lord Huron

Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever
I’m gonna see where it leads
Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted
I’m gonna stand on the peak

Out there’s a land that time don’t command
Wanna be the first to arrive
No time for ponderin’ why I’m-a wanderin’
Not while we’re both still alive

To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
If you won’t, I must say my goodbyes to thee

Oh, there’s an island where all things are silent
I’m gonna whistle a tune
Oh, there’s a desert that size can’t be measured
I’m gonna count all the dunes

Out there’s a world that calls for me, girl
Headin’ out into the unknown
Well if there are strangers, and all kinds of danger
Please don’t say I’m going alone

To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
There’s a world that was meant for our eyes to see
To the ends of the earth, would you follow me
Well if you want, I will say my goodbyes to thee

I was a-ready to die for you, baby
Doesn’t mean I’m ready to stay
What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given
If all you do is stand in one place

I’m on a river that winds on forever
Follow ’til I get where I’m goin’
Maybe I’m headin’ to die but I’m still gonna try
I guess I’m goin’ alone

FIRES

When fires burn,
they mar the land.
The flames turn
the living to ash
and blacken
the bark of trees.
Growth is stunted
and for a while,
it is as if time has stopped,
too.
 
The aftermath is bitter
to look at.
Hard to understand.
But hope is fulfilled
in knowing new life will start again
around the roots of the dead.
 
When emotions burn,
they mar the person.
The feelings turn
good intentions to bad
and fuel
irrational thoughts.
Growth is stunted
and for a while,
it is as if time has stopped,
too.
 
The aftermath is bitter
to bare.
Hard to understand.
But hope is fulfilled
in knowing that we can always continue forward
even while starting again new.

DOWNWARD SPIRAL

An unseen force

pushes me forward.

Like a rag doll or

maybe just a coward,

I fully surrender

to the power.

 

It leads me to an edge,

rocks crumbling at my feet.

Downward they tumble,

crashing into the walls,

falling into the bleak.

 

I stand there,

unsteady and unsure,

awaiting a destiny that was handed to me.

One that was calculated and scored.

 

But I am not ready to accept it.

Some depth in me resists

the everyday pull.

The life of correct and unquestionable

is not enough for me.

That future is mundane and,

in some ways,

cruel.

 

As others reach the edge,

so carefully balanced,

I run full speed and dive off the end.

Hurtling through the air,

I now plunge into the unknown.

Astonished cries howl through the wind.

 

Faster I fall,

like the rocks before me.

Excitement builds.

I am no longer weak.

 

Sucking in life

with new hunger in my veins,

my droned past quickly fades.

 

What was once a downward spiral,

has become an upwards leap.

With open arms,

the future my soul seeks

finally welcomes me.