papa m – one

a woman searches for a man of claim

one covers definitively the most religious territory in the collection, in just three songs (mostly two of them). and yet, it’s far from lost on me.

flashlight tornado starts us off with gentle finger-picking like a small creek flowing over rocks, backed by woozy harmonica mimicking dave’s equally cooed vocal melody. you can’t help but feel a form of pure happiness when he sings skippadeedoo, skippadeedee, doo rye-aye. and while there’s a bit of religious imagery in the story, it is not the point.

beloved woman is, of course, a re-take of one of his own songs off whatever, mortal. what was a fantastic song is almost rewritten to cast a fraught and dark call at first, pushed and pulled by the minor key flushes of cello and violin, and pajo’s deeper register in an echo. just after minute three, it takes on a phenomenally uplifting, nearly ecstatic, orchestral tone wrought by molly and maggie’s strings. to rearrange one’s own music with such effect speaks of david pajo as perhaps the best musician amongst all these pieces of plastic and paper.

i believe i might have included the final song, i am the light of this world, as a different kind of “sing it in reverse” on a mixtape for a bloke, near the end (of it all). it’s the only song here that’s not his, and belongs instead to a reverend. i know what it means, literally, but i hear other stories. its repeated refrain sings, i am the light of this world just as long as i am in this world. there’s a human egoism, but also a sense of saying that to another – as long as i am in your world, i am your light. you lose me, you lose the light. it off-set my man’s lapsed catholicism and internal battles with my own immovable atheism (which isn’t even a label i identify with).  i also think it’s a close approximation to blues. i’ve thought many times as i’ve listened, that it’s not obvious, but the strong statements at the end of each verse follow a rapid drop along a minor chord. it gives the words that much greater impact.

this is also one of the only times so far that i have listened repeatedly to the music. three songs over and over again. i will never tire.

well we’ve got fiery fingers, and we’ve got fiery hands, and when i get up to heaven lord, gonna play in that fiery band


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