(This is our second annual “Favorite Songs”series. It’s a chance for Range Life fans, friends and family to shout-out and share some of the songs that made 2009 better, dancier, more deeply felt, more memorable and enjoyable. Songs are presented in no particular order. Submissions are welcome! Send a song link and whatever you want to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Song: “The Breeze/My Baby Cries” (Kath Bloom cover) by Bill Callahan
Song Link: Hype Machine
Bill Callahan is a National Treasure.
I defy anyone to listen to “The Breeze/My Baby Cries” and tell me he’s not.
He has the most authoritative voice in popular music, totally unfuckwithable. And yet he’s a fragile bundle of nerves. Which makes him perfect for this Kath Bloom cover, where he both saturates the song with human presence and convinces you he could be undone by… a breeze.
There are so many sad, splendid, alive but devastating moments in this song – and yet the chords hardly change. It’s like Folk Shakespeare, a triumph of the power of a voice.
And so it’s a cover. Not that Bill Callahan/(Smog) is any stranger to capturing thoughts and feelings in song. But the Kath Bloom original is all fidgety, woozy, a couple of sheets to the wind.
Bill Callahan cuts through the crap. He needs no shield, no shell, no defenses. He steps up to the mic like a man and then let’s his heart shatter into every moment of connection that’s ever filled it, pierced it, made it ache. When he’s done, there’s nothing left.
Just the breeze.