It's been a long, long, wordless season. In those times when language remains for me stifled and inadequate, I grope for what is unsayable from whom I can, those souls, friends and strangers, who have weathered their own hazardous and lonely journeys and somehow mined their dark days to forge art imbued with the weight of struggle, hard times oh so human and oh so inevitable. Art speaks to and for those of us still mired and mute until we finally find our way back to our own voices.
How timely this album from Over the Rhine, The Long Surrender, chuck full of lyrics voicing what I cannot not articulate. The arrangements are as gorgeous as Karin's voice. "All of my friends are part saint and part sinner," she sings on one of my favorite tracks, "All my favorite people are broken" and "The poet says, 'You must praise the mutilated world,'" the poet being my beloved former teacher, Adam Zagajewski. "Rave On" inspired by Pete Fairchild's poem, is another favorite track (and great poem.) "The Laugh of Recognition" when "you laugh but you feel like dying." You saints and sinners, artists and poets. For your gifts of broken beauty to those of us sojourning in the valley of relinquishment: thank you.