No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Meredith Lustig

Back for more then? Thanks! Before we get to the Song of the Day, let’s talk about the Youtube Rabbit Hole Effect. You’re probably not familiar with the term (because I made it up), but you’ve definitely experienced the phenomenon. Things start innocently enough. You click on that intriguing video your friend posted to Facebook, or perhaps you went directly to Youtube to watch that hilarious cat video to brighten your morning…either way the ending is the same. One video leads to the next and before you know it, you look up from your device to find the sun is setting. You’re left wondering how you became so easily distracted and how on Earth you missed lunch! Call me Alice, but I love falling down the Rabbit Hole.




 |  Meredith Lustig

My song for you today is So Many People from Sondheim’s Saturday Night. I love Sondheim. His prowess as a composer and lyricist makes him, in my mind, one of the most influential and important artists of the last century. His words are a masterclass in storytelling and his music, while simple sounding to the ear, is often incredibly complex.




 |  Kyle Jarrow

Nick is a good friend and sometime collaborator of mine. He’s also a fantastic songwriter and a killer singer. “Evaporate” one of my favorite of his songs, off his latest album Ampersand. It’s a great example of how to fuse acoustic instrumentation with electronic elements/effects to achieve a super-contemporary feeling.




 |  Kyle Jarrow

Candi Staton has one of my favorite voices in the history of music (besides Lauren’s, that is!). She sings with such honesty and rawness on this song about an ill-fated love affair. The emotion comes through strong, even when accompanied by a cheesy late-60s-mode “rock flute” and slightly overwrought horn lines. The lyrics—which don’t even make an effort to rhyme—have a straightforward, searching power to them. The fact there are no rhymes somehow makes the song feel all that much more honest. I particularly love the first two lines: “I can’t ignore the way your yearning eyes look at me / Oh darling, I know what we feel is wrong.”




 |  Kyle Jarrow

What I love most about this song is the story behind it. David Bazan was raised Pentecostal, and rose to fame as the lead singer/songwriter of the Christian indie band “Pedro the Lion.” Then he had a crisis of faith. He stopped playing churches, he left his Christian label, and he publicly declared himself agnostic. After that he recorded a solo record, featuring stunningly personal confessionals about his loss of faith. It’s basically a breakup album about breaking up with God. This is one of its best songs. I find it fascinating to hear someone sing so nakedly and honestly about doubt, with a such a palpable weariness in his voice. Feels like you can hear Bazan struggling as he sings.




 |  Kyle Jarrow

This is one of my favorite songs in the world. There’s something about Nick Cave’s rough rock n’ roll voice, paired with a tender string-soaked arrangement, that I find deeply moving. I particularly love how the piano is recorded; it sounds so warm and full of life. The suspensions in the string lines create a harmonic tension that seldom resolves until at least beat two of each measure. The resulting feeling, for me, is a bittersweet yearning that beautifully matches the content of lyrics. And then there’s the moment where the drums come in at 2:55… I get shivers every time. Just the perfect moment of release.




 |  Kyle Jarrow

One of the reasons I love the neo-folk duo Shovels & Rope is that it’s a husband-wife collaboration – like Sky-Pony. “Bridge on Fire” is one of my favorites of their catalogue. I find it to be a study in how effective simplicity can be. The guitar and drum parts could hardly be more rudimentary, […]




 |  Steven Blier

We weren’t sure we’d be able to make it to Westchester today. They predicted a lengthy snowfall with five to seven inches accumulated on the ground by noon. So we made a bunch of contingency plans, and were prepared to load the singers onto a Metro-North train to work at my house in the afternoon. But it turned out to be a fairly benign snowfall in above-freezing temperatures. The roads were clear (and blessedly empty) on the way up to Caramoor, and we managed to stay on course.




 |  Steven Blier

Something has been missing for me from the last few Caramoor residencies: one-on-one time with each singer, the kind of interaction where mountains get moved and new artistic ideas get planted. It’s mostly been a question of scheduling: when we have a guest coach, the singers are all in one room with Michael and me and the imported guru, and we simply have less one-on-one time. And this week we’ve had guest teachers every day. Until today.




 |  Steven Blier

Thursday is usually the most intense day—it’s the designated time for everyone to be off book, i.e., memorized. But today—Wednesday, usually a frolic in the sandbox—turned out to be a strenuous day of contact sports. Some of this had to do with the schedule: Marco was to join us in the afternoon, but he could only get there at 3:40. It was our last coaching day with him—yes, he’ll be back for more rehearsals and he’ll play the performances with us, but then he’ll be in his role purely as flautist. So we had a lot to cover in a short period, and that meant the day ended with three hours of extremely concentrated work on all the flute stuff and all the Spanish stuff.