I know, I know, musical appreciation is subjective. But I’m convinced Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow” is the type O-negative of songs — a universal donor that has the power to revive anyone who hears it. I play it when I’m sad. I send it to other people when they’re sad. It’s kind. It’s effective. When this whole storm of awfulness is over, and we emerge squinting and blinking into the sunlight of a relatively normal presidential administration, COVID-19 vaccine in hand, it will be impossible to calculate how many dark days “Rainbow” helped to brighten.
Musgraves’ ode to perseverance seems poised to become a standard, and Landon Elliott has recorded an arresting new version that leans into its powerful affect with care and grace. He’s also leaned into the song’s imagery via the beautifully composed video above (directed by Daniel Bagbey), and a fundraising project whereby the art he commissioned to create the video is being sold to benefit Side by Side, a Richmond-based organization “dedicated to creating supportive communities where Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth can define themselves, belong, and flourish.” My own daughter (a prolific rainbow artist) submitted a watercolor work for the project, and I can’t tell you how proud I was to see it appear in the video. Okay, so I’m like 99.4% sure hers is in there. As far as my daughter could tell, I was 175% sure, though, and she was so thrilled. I’m just as thrilled that Elliott’s given us an opportunity to support a great organization.
Watch the video above, and click here to buy a piece of the artwork that appeared in it, with proceeds going to Side by Side.
Another new feature for 2016! I always end up with posts I didn’t manage to finish throughout the week, so I’m going to make a list each Friday of stuff worth hearing/seeing/looking out for. Really hoping I can keep up with this one. We’ll see.
- Landlady posted to their Facebook account about Adia Victoria, who has a debut album coming out later this spring. The first song to hit the interweb is “Dead Eyes,” and I’m digging it. Especially this morning, thanks to Baby YHT’s pre-dawn wake-up. Because why not loudly list the names of all your daycare friends at 5 a.m.? Really, it’s the best time for that.
- I found a really neat Jimmie Rodgers album this week — The Unheard Jimmie Rodgers Vol. II. A bunch of unused cuts from country’s first superstar. Remember the scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou? where the Soggy Bottom Boys sing “In The Jailhouse Now”? A version of that is on there, along with a bunch of songs about how he’s the saddest person on planet Earth. Sample lyric: “I’m lonely and blue/I’m downhearted too.” Yeesh. Great stuff though!
- Doug Nunnally of Sound Gaze alerted me to a fantastic version of Miguel’s “waves” that turns the song into a duet with Kacey Musgraves. It’s perfectly assembled, and fits in a really interesting place between a remix and a cover. Well worth a listen. Shouts to Mrs. YHT for finding the best comment on the video: “Kacey is LOVE, Kacey is LIFE. #country”
- A big YHT high five to Lucy Dacus for her Pitchfork review today. So excited. Here are my thoughts about the album, in case you missed Wednesday’s post.
- Some great shows going on this weekend. Clair Morgan’s Good Day RVA video release at Hardywood and Wood Brothers at the Broadberry tonight, Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins, and Anaïs Mitchell at the Modlin Center tomorrow night, and Son Little at Strange Matter on Sunday. That Patty Griffin one is sold out, so I guess I’m just bragging at this point. Really psyched about it.
- There’s also the Chris King DJ set happening at Steady Sounds on Sunday. They’re celebrating the release of Why The Mountains Are Black: Primeval Greek Village Music (1907-1960), and King will be spinning original copies of tracks he included on the album. A genuinely unique opportunity. Shouldn’t be missed.
That’s all for now — happy Friday, y’all!