This has been a rough, frigid, silent weekend in Colorado Springs, you guys.
There’s a sadness hovering in me and around me, temporarily pushing me under fuzzy blankets inside secure houses for protection against the glaring bleak evil that exploded Friday just a few minutes from my house, at a place that has always been a source of wonderful, empathetic care for me.
The music of Kevin Large, who plays under the name Widower, has been a delicate balm that I’ve been playing on repeat these last few days as the snow falls. I’m appreciative for that beauty.
Kevin writes literary songs that are often laced with a lovely uncertainty, an earnestness that he tries to convey using just the right string of alliterative language (“telltale tequila tears in a taxicab” is still one of my favorites). There’s no artifice with him, only thoughtful contemplation and a shining heart. So, it’s just what I needed this weekend.
Almost, Always, All Yours
I have always loved the sweet loss in this song, the sense of being so damn close and trying so hard but still overshooting it, or undershooting–missing what we were hoping for, in any case.
It stopped me cold the first time I heard it, during the grey winter weeks I spent listening to his Fool Moon album over and over again in rainy Portland, on buses and trudging through puddles in the streets during a grad school residency. I wrote: there’s this gorgeous hesitancy woven through this record, and nowhere do I hear it more than in the final song ‘Almost, Always, All Yours’ — because really — when are we ever completely anyone’s?
Your Copy of Catcher In The Rye
This is a new song from Kevin’s new Dark Blue EP, just released last month. I love the deep exhalation that Kevin lets out into that echoey church before he starts singing. Here we go. I hear this as a song about a breakup, a re-dividing into two the stuff that was just ours, but more than that, about a kind of silent, steely fear:
when the fire in your heart’s just another false alarm
and you feel you’re fading away and the focus is lost
it’s all my fault
it’s a stiff, it’s a still-life, it’s framed and hanging in the hallway
always there when I close my eyes
and I may be paraphrasing, but it frightens me at night
like a taxidermied sparrow’s wing, sparkling in the light
Exit For Eden
The second new song Kevin played– missing the exit for Eden and keeping on going towards whatever the new reality is that rests ahead. Every room’s got a view, if you just open up your eyes.
Dammit (Growing Up) (Blink 182)
Other than maybe the Cyndi Lauper cover, this is one of the last artists I would have thought that I’d hear covered in the chapel. And yet Kevin manages to take a pogoing youth anthem from 1997 and distill all the sadness right up to the top, turning this into something wistful.
Oh Catherine, My Catherine
The intricacy of this melody has always been mesmerizing to me, and in addition to the telltale tequila tears in a taxicab lyric I mentioned earlier, this one also has some lovely turns like “my long-stemmed loneliness your beck and call / we were roadside roses, we were record rainfall.” Wonderful.
[Recorded on the gorgeous Blue Microphones. Audio wizardry, recording, and mixing time donated by the Bourgal brothers at Blank Tape Records, as always, and video and photography from the supreme Kevin Ihle. Thanks for being part of creating these special sessions.]