She began her set with the prize winner, “Someday We’ll Linger In The Sun.” The song was beautiful and haunting in the video, and it sounded just as good live. She joked that with a loop pedal you have to be perfect, and it was. Watching her play these notes is even more interesting than hearing them.
Gaelynn is clearly a little nervous, but she is still charming as she tells us how she got started in the music world. She started fiddling because she had a crush on a boy who fiddled. Simple as that. She had been in a number of bands in Minnesota. Then someone gave her a looping pedal and that changed everything for her.
She says that she began experimenting with the old and the new, and that the looping pedal allowed her to do things like play “Southwind.” The song is 100 years old. She loops a beautiful melody and then plays an excellent solo over the top it. I think there’s something about the way she plays–her bowing seems to make her violin sound more like a cello or something–that makes her notes sound more haunting than another violinist might.
After the first two songs, Bob comes out to introduce Gaelynn. He explains that she is a violin teacher and she has been playing for years and years. And then he explains that she’s going to have accompaniment for the next two songs–Alan Sparhawk from Low!
Here’s how they met. Gaelynn was playing at a farmer’s market with a guitar player. Alan Sparhwawk who is also based in Duluth, MN, heard her playing. Some time later, he called her (while she was at a wedding) and asked if she’d want to work on a project with him. They made musis for a silent film and then formed the band The Murder of Crows.
And so Alan joins her for the last two songs.
“Bird” is an upbeat song with a lively lopped violin riff. Alan plays slow guitars which flesh out the low end. And then Gaelynn sings as the violin loops and Alan plays low notes. Alan takes the second verse and then Gaelynn sings a round over the top of his voice. It’s quite lovely.
She says she never wrote any songs until she met him, and she’s very grateful.
The final song is “Moment of Bliss.” I really like the melody and vocal line of this song. And again, the lyrics are really thoughtful. Sparhawk’s slow guitar and low harmony voice really add depth to this lovely five minute song. When she plays a looped solo at the end, it’s really beautiful.
[READ: January 25, 2016] “Leap Day”
I don’t think I’ve read too many stories where the plot of a movie is as instrumental to the story as it was in this one.
And when I say that that movie is Brokeback Mountain, it gives you a ton of context clues.
The story is a simple one. Ernie Boettner is climbing up a grain silo in February. And then we find out why.
Ernie is a farmer. The townspeople of Park City, Illinois noticed that he seemed to get a lot of visits from the veterinarian Chester Bradbury. There was nothing wrong with that per se, but it seemed like sometimes the vet’s truck was there over night. Which seemed unusual.
The story quickly jumps to the fact that Chester is dying from cancer. He is terminal and very close to death. Ernie has been there every day. And on one of Chester’s last days, he tells Ernie that heaven is a tavern: “there’s a fire burning no one has to tend to and the beer’s free and you can drink it forever and never get to drunk.”
And then Chester died. And Ernie tried to hide his grief from the community. The same community that spoke about boycotting the movie theater when they showed Brokeback Mountain.
And that’s why Ernie is climbing the silo–because it has been over a year and he hasn’t been able to cope yet.
The ending of the story was really surprising and absolutely worth the heartache of the rest of the story.