Blessed be the tie that binds

Canadian Soldiers (date unknown) In the song, “Harris and the Mare,” our protagonist reminds Harris that he was a “conshie in the War.”  In all the years I have listened to the song, I took that mention merely to be evidence of his peaceful nature–disrupted by the Clary’s attack on … → read more

The quick and the dead

The Last Judgment by Jean Cousin The Man Comes Around This will be a relatively short post.  Also, I’ll offer apologies to our loyal readers who may have seen some of what I’m about to discuss in comments to an earlier post. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right … → read more

Why on earth did I ever let him go?

Mary Magdalene in the Grotto, by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre The Ballad of Mary Magdalene This one is perhaps the biggest stretch, but as you may have noticed before, I’m interested in how artists tell stories around a central, more well-known story.  Richard Shindell’s brilliant “Ballad of Mary Magdalen” is just such … → 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