I really only know Blind Pilot because of NPR–they are favorites of a few of the hosts of All Songs Considered.
I don’t know their music well, but I remember enjoying what I’ve heard. But I was still surprised by this Tiny Desk Concert because in addition to guitar and drums, there’s an upright bass (bowed and plucked), a ukulele, the ubiquitous Tiny Desk harmonium and a set of vibes!
Evidently since 2008 the band has expanded from a duo to a sextet.
The band plays four songs. They are lovely folk song. The vibes add a cool touch to some otherwise simple melodies. “Umpqua Rushing” is a pretty song with a very catchy bridge.
Introducing “Packed Powder,” Israel Nebeker explains that it stems from when he was a teenager and they used to modify legal fireworks to make them more interesting. This is my favorite of the four songs primarily because of the wonderful backing vocals during the chorus–when everybody sings “I want to see how the POWDER BURNS!” It’s a great moment (or three) in the song.
“Don’t Doubt” is a mellow song, quite pretty, with some more lovely harmonies.
They planned to play three songs, but when Israel asks how many they should play, someone on the staff says “…four.” So someone in the band then says, should we play, “Hot for Teacher” or “Jingle Bells.” They decide to play “Joik #3.” Israel explains that it was his first attempt to write a song called “Joik.” “I could tell you what that is, but you have Google…and an amazing team of researchers here.”
He says that before the album came out, Ari Shapiro aired it on NPR. It’s a pretty song and Israel’s voice sounds especially powerful on it. And, again, when the band sings the loud harmonies, it sounds terrific.
[READ: March 15, 2016] “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders”
Many authors seemed to get two stories in the New Yorker in 2008, but this has to be the closest gap between stories–Sept 15 to Dec 1.
Like the previous Mueenuddin story, the actual story part is pretty simple to recap. And the sizable length of the story is mostly taken up with details and interior feelings.
And like the previous story, this one is set in Pakistan and looks at someone who might be able to move up a level of class, but who knows that it is a hard road.
The story begins simply enough. Husna needed a job.
She went to the house of “retired civil servant and landlord K.K. Harouni” carrying an introduction from his estranged wife. Husna had worked for her in some vague capacity.
When she is finally admitted to see the landlord, she lays out her heritage. She was related to him from his maternal grandmother and while her family could have had a lot of money but simple fate prevented that from happening. Now she sought something more than her menial tasks.
K.K. took a shine to her and said he could hire her if she learned to type. He had one of his workers teach her. But she was stubborn and didn’t want to learn the proper way, feeling that her hunt and peck method was sufficient.
While her teach grew annoyed with her, K.K. continued to apprentice her–even asking her to go for walks with him.
Slowly, we see how Husna became K.K.’s favorite. And how she slowly decided to let him have her, because she knew it could lead to much more in life.
The strife comes from K.K.’s daughters. (He is separated from his wife but not divorced, and K.K. and his wife have several older daughters). The fact that their oldest daughter is older than Husna no doubt causes friction as well.
Can a poor woman succeed at this plan to make new life for herself?
Even though I can’t really relate to his stories, I love the way they slowly unfold. They are almost all a bit obvious about what will happen but they always contain the possibility of something different going on.