Tag Archives: Perfect Day

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Oct 7

Chris Whitley – Perfect Day

41ky0y0yrql

A National Resophonic is like a Villanelle. It’s a complicated form that does not yield beauty easily. One must work it, test it, twist it, push it, do battle with it, wring it and wring it and wring it, and force it to give forth its magic.

It is uniquely depressing and heartbreaking to have to listen to someone recycle ghastly 12-bar cliches on a National. It’s shameful.

Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is probably the most well-known example of a Villanelle, and it is a poem that evidences both extraordinary craft, and extraordinary beauty:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This is what composing and performing with a National Resophonic should be and do; there should be extraordinary beauty brought forth through extraordinary craft.

Chris Whitley did not simply PLAY National Resophonics. He brought beauty forth with them, through extraordinary craft. Nowhere is this more evident than on this album. Strangely, because these are covers, we feel this truth even more deeply—we KNOW these songs, and yet … do we?

What Chris does on this album is simply staggering. He wrestles from his Nationals something only the very few achieve—singular beauty.


%d bloggers like this: