Anaïs Mitchell: Why We Build the Wall

My introduction to Anaïs Mitchell was her song “Why We Build the Wall,” part of the folk opera Hadestown (inspired by the myth of Orpheus and set in depression-era America). This song in particular jumped out and grabbed me when I first heard it — here’s the last section:

What do we have that they should want?
We have a wall to work upon!
We have work and they have none
And our work is never done
My children, my children
And the war is never won
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free
We build the wall to keep us free

I later got to hear Anaïs on NPR singing from her album Young Man in America. I couldn’t stop thinking about the first song she sang, “Shepherd”:

I was thinking about her music today and decided to get her latest album, xoa. It’s a lovely solo album with some new and some older songs (including “Why We Build the Wall”) — my biggest challenge will be turning it off when I’m trying to work so I don’t get distracted by the beautiful lyrics.

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The language and poetry of Stuart Davis

Stuart Davis has been one of my favorite singer-songwriters for many years. His lyrics are clever and thoughtful (and sometimes weird and crazy) and his music is both unique and catchy. Not to mention that he’s an incredible performer — his shows are a blast.

On top of that, he created his own language, IS. The language is part of Stu’s art but also an illustration of his philosophy. It’s beautiful and I’ve enjoyed seeing how it has developed. Check out the video above to learn more about it.

And if that piqued your curiosity, enjoy Stu performing songs from a handful of his albums:

New Music: Broken Fences

While scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw that a friend posted the song “Stormy Clouds,” by Broken Fences. I almost skimmed past it. I already had music on. But at the last second I paused my music and gave it a listen — and I think you should do the same:

Beautiful indie folk music by two singers who create lovely harmonies together. And you can download the album (4 songs total) for just $3.97.

Not enough for you? Check our their first album (including the song in the music video above) or find out more about the duo on their website.

Bonus: On their website, you can find a cover of “Two-Headed Boy” by Neutral Milk Hotel. Sweet!