Chad Comello

libraries, culture, typewriters

Tag: Sandra McCracken

Music of the Moment – International Women’s Day edition

An ongoing series on music I’ve encountered recently.

Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, here’s an all-female list of music I’ve been really enjoying:

“Ain’t That Fine” by I’m With Her, See You Around
The soulful powers of Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins, and Sarah Jarosz combined have become I’m With Her (which I’ve learned pre-dated Hillary’s presidential campaign). Saw them live at Thalia Hall last week. Some bands sound better on the album, but not these women: you can’t fully appreciate their tight, soulful harmonies and virtuosic finger-pickin’ unless you’re up close. I hope this is the first of many albums from them.

“O Gracious Light” by Sandra McCracken, Songs from the Valley
With this blog’s top album of 2015, Sandra’s back this year with more goodness.

“It’s A Shame” by First Aid Kit, Ruins
Saw them live with my future wife back in 2012 when The Lion’s Roar came out. “Emmylou” is a special song in our relationship. They’ve been making equally great pop tunes ever since.

“The Eye” by Brandi Carlile, The Firewatcher’s Daughter
This was one of those albums where when I discovered it a couple months ago, I was mad I hadn’t discovered it sooner so it could have been in my life longer.

“Want You Back” by HAIM, Something to Tell You
Huge fan of their first album, and this one is more of the same, in a good way. So danceable, if I were a dancer.

“Sometimes” by Abigail Washburn, Song of the Traveling Daughter
As an aspiring banjoist, she and Bela Fleck are in my personal pantheon. I missed the chance to see them together in concert recently and I’m really regretting it. I’m hoping/assuming she’ll stay awesome and return to my town soon.

“To Know Him Is To Love Him” by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, Trio
Seeing I’m With Her reminded me of this classic women’s trio, which is more classically country. There’s just something about strong female harmonies.

The Preservation of Tangibility

What started with a web search for Wendell Berry’s mailing address led me to this article by Sandra McCracken about her pilgrimage to visit the Sage of Port Royal—thus combining two of my favorite artists into one webpage. A passage from McCracken’s reflections stood out:

One of my favorite moments was when Wendell said that he is a member of two organizations: 1) The Slow Communication Movement and 2) The Preservation of Tangibility. He noted that anyone can join these and added with a grin, “Actually, I think I founded them.”

I think about tangibility a lot. How the images we look at on a computer screen or smartphone don’t exist, not really, and how if a megavirus wiped out the internet and everything on our computers a huge percentage of our lives—probably too big—would cease to exist. Kinda makes me want to take up woodworking or something.

I’m not so silly to suggest life would be better without intangible technologies. I’m grateful to live in a time when I can choose tangible things like writing by hand or strumming the guitar or dropping the needle on a vinyl as a means of escape—rather than these things simply being the default mode of interacting with the world.

But damned if I wouldn’t take more of those things over staring at the same rectangle of pixels all day, every day, forever.

New Wonders We Will Sing

Sandra McCracken’s In Feast Or Fallow is a true beauty. This collection of old hymns re-imagined is appropriate for any time and any mood, but especially for Easter. The peril and the promise, the despair and the hope, and the pain and the renewal of this holiday – it’s all in the hymns. The good ones tell Christ’s story from birth to death to rebirth, reminding us of our sin but also of God’s amazing grace and the amazing wonder of creation we witness every spring:

Look around, every sparrow, every flower,
All creation sings outloud, of a grand design
You are small, but you are filled with breath and life
If you seek, then you will find
As the Father looks with favor on his child.
“New Wonders” by Sandra McCracken

Let us continue to rejoice in the new wonders of every day, of every breath we get, and of the grand design that Jesus put into action when he rolled away that stone. Glory hallelujah.

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