Conversations with Death – 3 – “No Telephone In Heaven”

Introduction Two years ago this month we lost Doc Watson. This isn’t an homage to Doc.  I mention the anniversary by way of saying that I first heard today’s song from him.  But more to the point, “No Telephone in Heaven” is a perfect vehicle for expressing how we might … → read more

No Mercy at All – “The Cyclone of Rye Cove”

Introduction Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, “I’m going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that’s tough. I am going to snow anyway.”    – Maya Angelou, from Conversations with Maya Angelou It’s time to push the boundaries of our definition of ‘murder ballad’ once again. … → read more

“On a Hill Lone and Gray”: Jesus and the murder ballad, pt. 1

Golgotha Jesus and the Murder Ballad This week we’re going to take a small detour from the traditional murder ballad. Shaleane’s post on Nick Cave’s “The Mercy Seat” prompted me to consider just how frequently and in what guises Jesus figures appear in these songs.  Themes of guilt, atonement, and salvation … → read more