Why don't more people listen to Ron Sexsmith? The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter crafts masterful pop songs, records them with topflight producers and sings them in an understated croon. Unless you hate music that makes you smile, what's not to like?
Wanda Jackson may be the queen of rockabilly, but Jack White is king of this collaboration. The roots-obsessed producer takes charge, offering a high-octane reimagination of various '50s styles. But where White's work on Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose (2004) came off as reverent and almost subtle, here 73-year-old Jackson's presence seems like an afterthought.
Vic Chesnutt, who died of an overdose in 2009, was one of the best and most unusual songwriters of his generation. Country-rock veterans Cowboy Junkies are far more conventional. So Chesnutt diehards might not find much to like in this collection of his songs, but the album may provide newcomers a bridge to his work.
First, use four similes to describe the lake: Grinnell Lake is like . . . a threshold . . . a turquoise . . . wings arching open . . . a nest.
+++ At the end of the boardwalk over red-rock streams, beyond the suspension bridge, the waterfall, the long hike, my feet on fire empty into the lake: home. Icy aqua iridescence, perfection of mountains, these trees.
Now use four metaphors: the lake is . . . reality . . . exquisite balance . . . a window . . . a cup filled with sky.
+++ In the lobby of the grand hotel miles below hang beautifully framed old photos. Grinnell Glacier, a wisp above us now, was enormous a century ago, its lake many times smaller.
How can we protect the earth but by drawing close, by falling in love? The lake is the glacier melting too fast. The lake is the waters from Jesus’ pierced side. The lake is the face of the love that saves us. How can we love the earth but by falling . . . in?