Nov 062009

I’m such an amateur folky. I don’t know Richard Shindell’s music. Other credentials: I don’t own a John gorka album. I never saw Dar williams or Lucy Kaplansky. Yup, I’m an amateur.

Wednesday night I saw Richard Shindell with some friends at Jammin Java in Vienna VA. Shindell’s songs are sometimes terribly touching and sometimes just kind of sweet and light. I have been captured by his “Balloon Man,” a simple and sympathetic portrayal of an apparent loser guy who sells balloons. I heard a lot of Shindell’s stuff for the first time at this show. He sang something about a guy struggling just to get from south America to Miami–a concrete description of every-day facts that make you tear up a little. I think that’s the magic in his writing. He draws clear, simple scenes and winds a little plot through it, and it works. Plus some standard out-of-the-box contemporary acoustic guitar playing and some very good musical composition. Now I see why he has such a great reputation.

some of my folky friends will read this and say, “Huh? You don’t own a stack of Shindell CDs?” What can I say? I’m a little unfocused in my musical tastes, so it takes me a while to come around sometimes.

Richard Shindell singing “Last Fare Of The Day”

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