Sep 08 2008

Song of the Day – 9/8/08

Published by at 10:21 am under Boston,Folk,MP3's,Song of the Day,Video

Hey everyone. It’s been crazy as always. Good to see you again.

photo credit: Bowen Rodkey

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to listen to the On the Tail of the White Donkey EP, the debut release from folk-singer Vikesh Kapoor. His music always brings me to the same conclusion. We must return to this tradition. There is so much to be had here–so much that real folk music can do for the industry and all the places it reaches.

I can just imagine Kapoor (recently off a successful tour with staff favorite Nicholas Beaven) moving along, each song gracefully falling from his back pocket. Travelling through the heart of an unnamed area,  almost ignoring the complications of musicianship and poetics, he sings his stories. I remember my first experience with his music, sitting cross-legged on the floor of a discreet second-story Allston apartment. There were no chairs, no posters, no amplifiers and absolutely no bullshit.

An Indian-American traditonal folk singer is something to turn your head to at first. His influences are part of a strong force of writers and players that do not share common ground in style, but share a similar need to create this long-forgotten escape that doesn’t have any room for the pitfalls of popular music today. I’ll spare all of you comparisons to others in his genre and simply say this: Everything in his music that at first sounds tired quickly becomes an understanding–that in order to create a piece of intellectual, poetic tradition one must come to terms with both who they are and what they have learned along the long, hard path. Kapoor’s feet are on their way to becoming tough and leathery and we’re lucky enough to catch him so soon.

Over the course of the EP, this truly became clear. Deciding which of these songs was going to be your Song of the Day was tough. Just as important as the individual tales, the whole EP is a coherent, imaginative collection of songs that describe a shared need for honest human connection. If that isn’t the point of this EP, then I would have to say Vikesh Kapoor as succeeded in creating something that, while sometimes inconsistent and unsteady in its footing, is in a way universally relatable–the way it should be.

Some major moments for me occur on the unnervingly beautiful “One Woman Man.” It’s those moments of folk glory where the song sounds as if it is from 1950 until he includes a line with a turn-of-phrase or euphemism that jarrs the listener back into the present. All of a sudden we have something that exists outside of the system. Later on, Kapoor hits what I consider to be a masterpiece, “Willy Robbins.” A traditional folk tale (no chorus, just the adamant painting of a harrowing picture). He sings lines like “then like many working men, he’d shower, watch TV.” and their gravity is unreal. It is truly brilliant.

However, neither of these songs I chose to share with you today. I think you should grab the EP and spend a moment to hear what an honest artist sounds like.  The songs discussed above are even better in context. One song, however, you should definitely hear. “Till the Fields” is a happy, catchy tune with many simple parts working together. Truly, Vikesh Kapoor’s poetry is the most obvious talent, but as a guitarist he supports himself in admirable fashion.

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Till the Fields”

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Down by the River”

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Support Vikesh Kapoor: Buy On The Tail Of The White Donkey EP

Vikesh Kapoor is performing at TT the Bears in Caimbridge on Thursday, September 25th. It’s his only show for a little while so GO THERE.

Pick up an album and meet the guy. It’s all possible with real music.

I leave you with an intimate performace by Kapoor at Firehouse 13 in Rhode Island

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One response so far

One Response to “Song of the Day – 9/8/08”

  1. boyhowdyon 08 Sep 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Wow. Great find. Guess it just goers to show you should never apologize for sounding “authentic” in the way that Dylan, Townes, and Guthrie did – there’s nothing stale about that level of intimacy, no matter how honestly others have found themselves producing music with harmonica, voice, guitar, and soul.

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