Maybe it’s just because it’s that time of year, but this song made me cry last November when I read the lyrics. Red House Painters, Desertshore, Sun Kil Moon, it’s all Mark Kozelek, and I love to get sad with him.
I made friends with a guy who drove an employee shuttle at work; he took people back and forth half a mile to a parking lot, and played cool music in his van. He gave me a CD by Red House Painters, on the 4AD record label. 4AD was a brand you could trust in the 90s: the logo meant you were in for something good, something dark, and probably hard.
Twenty years later, Mark keeps making music and does it with a kind of Bob Dylan attitude I admire. The attitude is I’m going to do this with or without you, so decide if you want to come along, I don’t care much either way.
“Among the Leaves” is about a homeless girl Mark let sleep in his basement while he was away touring. It sparked my curiosity about the homeless in Seattle, and made me think I could change the world if I quit my job and dedicated myself to something more meaningful. Which is the crazy kind of thoughts real art should inspire.
The song reminds me of David Gray at first, but I think if Mark wanted the same kind of success he would have found it by now. Anytime I see an ad that he’s playing, it requires a footnote explaining who he is, and I like that. You should have to look hard to find real treasures. Life isn’t that easy, after all.
Submitted for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music.