Sunday, October 04, 2009

Lauren O'Connell

I discovered Lauren O'Connell's music a few months ago when she collaborated on a song with Julia Nunes. One of the things that attracts me to Lauren's music is her amazing ability to string together lyrics and music. Her lyrics are always unfailingly unique and thoughtful, sometimes whimsical, occasionally haunting, and frequently ( and somehow) both. The other thing I appreciate about this young lady is her experimental approach to sound. In her cover of the Wilco song, I am trying to Break Your Heart, she effectively uses both a garage door and a set of drawers as percussion instruments. I never knew repeated flying karate kicks into stationary objects could be anything but annoying (but I live with four boys, which probably explains a lot more than just my musical tastes).

She's also likable for a completely different reason than Julia. Julia is comfortable in front of a camera and you often get the feeling that she feels like she's talking to several thousand friends when she speaks or sings. Lauren is clearly not and it is part of her charm. I completely relate and I think a lot of people do. She is on camera because she wants to share her music (reminds me a little of Emmylou Harris in that regard), and maybe make a few dollars to support herself through college. I don't pretend to have a bead on her personal life, but I get the impression she could use the help and at a dollar a song (on her My Space Page), I don't think she's being too greedy.

If the music moves too fast for you to catch all of her remarkable words, I posted the lyrics below the video. The opening strikes me as a little strange; I think it's my exposure to blue grass and the minor key she's got the banjo tuned to. However it picks up quickly and, if you're like me, you're hooked after just a few bars.

Lyrics to

The Daylight Here
by Lauren O'Connell
To my mother, I'll be sorry that I gotta go
To my brother, I'll be sorry that I gotta go
To you I wish that I could say I wish you well
But I think I'll be waiting until
I'm honestly able.

I'm sure the air is lighter on the seas
In every city settled far away from me
Now I'm negotiating with the fear
That something's wrong with the daylight here
And I can't fix it.

Crooked or kind, if I'm free, if I'm fine
Either way, whatever I do
Whichever coast, there'll be room there for ghosts
Either way, I'll be thinking of you.

When gone I have sworn that I will worry not
Of satisfaction, justice, or the will of God
I'm not sure there's any difference in the three
Whatever the conscience decrees
I hope we both feel right.

Crooked or kind, if I'm free, if I'm fine
Either way, whatever I do
Whichever coast, there'll be room there for ghosts
Either way, I'll be thinking of you.


Ray Veen said...

That was amazing, Mary. Using a bow on a banjo creates such a unique and haunting sound -- brilliant, really.

Makes me want to take all my music videos down.

Ph00k4 said...

I really love this song.

paul said...

thank you for transcribing this song. poet musicians are wonderful rare creatures, and this quickened waif is a beautiful thing.

you're right about her camera presence, it's interesting and awkward. in contrast, nataly dawn (how i found lauren) has an unnaturally comfortable and subtle camera presence, which is also a rare gift (not to mention some pretty sweet musical talents of her own). check out her videos on youtube/natalydawn or to see what i mean. not many people can look through a camera to the viewer as she can.

looking forward to seeing and hearing more from these talented women. and thanks again.