Sunday, August 13, 2006

Song of the Week

Coming to you live from Milam Headquarters, located in the bed of someone's pickup somewhere between Nashville and common sense, yet another Song of the Week!

"Chris," you protest, "isn't this thing really at best bimonthly? Didn't the Song of the Week disappear for, like, seven weeks a while back?"

No, I say. That's a falsehood. Also, you're clearly not a fan, since none of my fans use words like "bimonthly." Or trust math, for that matter.

This week: To Be Found," by Wes Charlton (click for the Myspace link to the song)

Even though Wes is a Nashville-based musician (like me) originally from Virginia (like me), I came to his music as any credible peer might: an episode of the Real World. The first episode of the Key West season featured "To Be Found" in the background while Johnny or Sally or Duncan did something insane. Which is appropriate. Sort of.

This song is a grade A example of form matching content. Charlton seeks to paint a portrait of stark--and beautiful--simplicity, and focuses his lyric on the town he's from. Appropriately, the song's structure, chord progression, melody, and lyrics are all focused, simple, and spare. Nothing in this town is wasted or taken for granted, so Charlton minces no words nor does he clutter the landscape with unnecessary ornamentation.

The song's most rewarding moments come from the refrain's harmony. While Charlton's melody tellingly settles down on "I'm lost/and need to be found," the female harmony rises to the occasion. His seems a statement of sadness and frustration, hers anticipation and optimism. Immediately after, the refrain concludes with a two-chord cadence and harmony that deliberately echoes Gram Parsons' "Love Hurts." Perhaps Charlton has the type of love/hate relationship with his home that artists typically have.

Leaving Tennessee...I swear it,

P.S. Happy birthday, bro. On this day 27 years ago...Mom was pretty disappointed.

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