Haley Bonar was born in Canada but raised in the U.S. She is a folksinger with a country leaning (but without the twang). For this Tiny Desk, Haley plays acoustic guitar and sings lead. She had a keyboardist who sings great harmonies. And behind them there’s a guy playing electric guitar (with great echoed effect), a bassist and a drummer.
“Hometown” has a great catchy chorus (well, and verse too). It’s upbeat but melancholy at the same time. There’s a very cool echoed slide guitar solo in the middle of the song.
Bonar doesn’t speak much, expect to joke about the appropriateness of the second song. “Jealous Girls” is slower and moodier. (“Jealous girls don’t have no fun unless they’re sure they’re the only one). The middle section of this song is really cool, the way it changes the mood. She doesn’t play guitar on this one, but there’s some great lyrics at the end of the song:
And you turn up your guitar
In another shitty bar in another shitty town
And you wonder when you’ll wake up
Yeah you wonder when you’ll wake up
From this long distance daydream of
Playing while girls scream
Alone in a hotel
Like piss in your ice cream
I love that the way this end part is sung and played it seems like it’s going to transition to another part. But that’s just the end.
“Called You Queen” is a fast folkie song. I really like her delivery on the verses. The chords for the chorus are fairly obvious but are really catchy anyway. It’s a really good song. The abrupt ending (with a hint of echo on the guitar) is spectacular
I didn’t know Bonar before this set, but i really liked it.
[READ: March 9, 2016] “Gold Boy Emerald Girl”
Yiyun Lee had a story in a 2008 May issue of the New Yorker as well. I have enjoyed pretty much all of her stories. This one was quite different from the others in that the whole story has a feeling of inevitability to it. And yet it was a kind of gentle inevitability that almost didn’t seem to be there. Or something.
The story is about two adults, Siyu, 38 and Hanfeng 44. The opening paragraph tells us that she was raised by her father and he was raised by his mother.
Siyu knew Hanfeng’s mother because she was a Professor and Siyu worked for her a while ago. But the Professor is now retired and Hanfeng has moved back home after a stint in America to live with her.
And we see now that the Professor has set the two up on a date.
The story is told in a very gentle, unhurried way, as befits the story of these two who have taken their time with thee lives.
Hanfeng could not wait to leave home when he was younger. He was restless and he moved to many different places around the U.S. and Canada before finally settling in San Francisco. He imagined that he would leave the States with plenty of money to retire when he got back home. That proved to be incorrect–which is why he is currently living with his mother. Of course, she has a three bedroom house, and she is getting older, so it works out for both of them.
He is puzzled at the way his life has turned out. His mother was always headstrong and he is surprised to be looking after her in any way.
There’s a touching story about the piano in their house. Hanfeng had taken lessons a child but had more or less given them up by now. But in the meantime, his mother had started taking lessons in the hopes that one day they would play together.
The date was pretty bland. They had little to say to each other and little in common.
But Hanfeng’s mother insisted that they go on a second date. When he shrugged it off, she asked “Do you dislike her?” in the same tone that she asked him why he wanted to quit piano lessons. A tone that had an answer built in.
And slowly it dawns on everyone that Professor Dai has deemed this to be a match. A real match. “When you’re older you marry for companionship.”
The sweet revelations about their past show that maybe they do have things in common after all. A gently inevitable conclusion, perhaps.