post is all about my newfound and totally unabashed
love of the banjo. I suppose it isnít surprising.
After all, violins and mandolins have long been
favorite instruments of mine. Maybe they are the
gateway to banjo love. I didnít plan for this to
happen; no, in my mind banjos were relegated to
rodeos and cheesy country songs.
And yet, as of late, all I want to listen to are two
songs that feature banjo. And there is something
about the thick, distinct tonal quality of the banjo
that makes it so appealing.
Magnetic Fields - All My Little Words:
This song features both violin and banjo, so of
course Iím totally in love right off the bat.
Stephen Merritt sings this sad song about a lover
who is "unboyfriendable," and features the usual
Magnetic Fields stellar lyrics and wordplay. The
relatively simple arrangement allows the banjo to
shine (yes, I am talking about the banjo like itís a
child) and Merrittís deep, almost unemotional voice
cuts across the divine layers of strings.
Stevens - Decatur, Or Round Of Applause For Your
And then, how could I write about banjos without
writing about Sufjan Stevens? This song is an indie
classic that has some of my favorite harmonies, and
of course, sweet banjo riffs. Yes, sweet banjo
riffs. Lyrically, Stevens weaves personal anecdotes
with historical trivia of the region, and the track
is home is another lyrical gem, "Stephen A Douglas
was a great debater, Abraham Lincoln was the great
emancipator." The tune mirrors the lyrics; a sweet,
sentimental, almost amused tone. Itís a perfect
springtime song, the lazy accordion creating a
warmth that is echoed in Stevens voice.
Harmonies? Banjos? Am I turning into a hippie?
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