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Song of the Day: Gillian Welch, “Elvis Presley Blues”

Well, I had to resist the urge to pick another Janelle Monáe tune as the Song of the Day – she wouldn’t have any songs left if I kept it up. (If I had picked one, though, it would certainly have been “Sincerely, Jane” from Metropolis.)

Instead, I’ll shift registers pretty dramatically and go with the woman who was my big find of three years ago, who I spun as relentlessly back then as I have been Janelle the last couple of weeks:

Gillian Welch, “Elvis Presley Blues” – from Time (The Revelator) (2001)

An amazing song on every level – for its traditional bluegrass feel married with a contemporary sensibility, its depiction of the power and appeal of Presley’s beginnings, and the trajectory of his career, and for its astuteness on the subject of race and rock.

(The above music video was put together by YouTube user WilferdTKnight, who seems to have posted a large percentage of Welch’s work to YouTube with his own visual accompaniment. The videos are generally very well done – not so much in terms of image quality, but in the selection of visuals and their assembly into something that is usually, I find, very faithful to the musical text.)

Here’s Gillian Welch’s own presentation of the song – in a live performance with her partner David Rawlings done for BBC4:

PROFILES: THE GHOSTLY ONES: Gillian Welch is a singer and songwriter whose music is not easily classified-it is at once innovative and reminiscent of past rural forms… (via The New Yorker.)

Filed under: Song of the Day,

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zerode by nick chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Oh - and hello to Jason Isaacs.

The 400 Blows

zerode

is an over-caffeinated and under-employed grad school dropout, aspiring leftwing intellectual and cultural studies academic, cinéaste, and former poet. Raised in San Francisco on classic film, radical politics, burritos and soul music, then set loose upon the world. He spends his time in coffee shops with his laptop and headphones, caffeinating and trying to construct a post-whatever life.

 

What's in a name... The handle "zerode" is a contraction of Zéro de Conduite, the title of Jean Vigo's 1933 movie masterpiece about schoolboy rebellion.

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