Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homonyms: Wrecking Ball

Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball


Gillian Welch w Old Crow Medicine Show: Wrecking Ball

[unavailable, purchase studio version]

I suspect that we are going to see this week how certain metaphors strike different songwriters. A wrecking ball is a fine example to start with. Emmylou Harris makes a pun on the word ball, and her narrator invites a boy to a dance. The danger is implied rather than stated, and the song is an eloquent statement on the sense of personal danger that can come with the beginning of a new relationship. For Gillian Welch, her narrator is the wrecking ball of the title, and it is her life and prospects that get demolished. Welch’s Wrecking Ball was on her 2003 album Soul Journey, and that it is the purchase link I have provided, But the version heard here comes from the following year, from a live performance at radio station WXPN’s World Café program, and the backing band was Old Crow Medicine Show. Wow! It sounds as good as you would expect if you know both artists. This version is somewhat less produced than the album version; in either case, the strength of the song shines through.

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