Saturday, February 21, 2009

Trains: Pulling into the Station Edition

Katy Moffatt: This Heart Stops for Railway Crosses


Salamander Crossing: Passion Train


Susan Werner: Time Between Trains


Ah, so many train songs, so little time - please allow me to share three more favorites before the last whistle blows. This week has been quite a journey... segueing from melancholy to rollicking and everything in between... but our destination is in sight - why do I seem to have more baggage upon departing than boarding?

Katy Moffatt released The Greatest Show on Earth in 1993 but was prompted by a lawsuit from The Ringling Brothers Circus to re-release the recording as Evangeline Hotel - regardless of the title, between the lyrics (most of the songs are co-written with Tom Russell) and Katy's emotional yet powerful voice, it's a stunning piece of work... with the piece de resistance being This Heart Stops for Railway Crosses, a guaranteed lump-in-the-throat inducer every time...

Salamander Crossing, famous in New England in the 90's for "blending bluegrass instrumentation, stunning 3 part harmonies and an eclectic repertoire" disbanded in late 1999... and lead singer and fiddler Rani Arbo went on to form Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem - I've always loved the explanation for their choice of band name: "Under Henry Street in Amherst, Massachusetts, there lies a pair of tunnels. On the first warm, wet rainy night of spring, hundreds of salamanders begin a slow crawl from their wintering grounds across the street to a vernal pond to mate. The lucky ones find the tunnels. So there you have it. You want love, you gotta take a few risks."

I've seen Susan Werner tens of times (at various festivals, conferences and house concerts) - easily segueing from singer-songwriter folk to torch cabaret to agnostic gospel... and, in her latest release, chamber-music classic rock, she (to paraphrase one of her lyrics) "never disappoints" - I also love how she changes the line in Time Between Trains ("wonderin' why the fates above always route love through Miami") to another city when she plays here in South Florida... :-)

P.S. My understanding is that Boyhowdy will be showcasing Susan Werner on Cover Lay Down this week (probably tomorrow) - check it out!

[Edit boyhowdy 9:19 pm: Susan Werner cover feature now up at Cover Lay Down!]

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