Music Monday: Fox Grapes

September 16, 2014

Ooop, with travel, the talk today, and AAAI deadline, I’m late in EST. Sigh! I could have done this on Saturday when I heard Zoe give an absolutely spectacular performance of this song. Here’s a video of a different performance. Live is always better than videos of a live performance!

This is one of her early banjo tunes and it’s most definitely a New Jersey song. My absolutely favourite line (and which completely stunned me again in her performance) is

Wild as a muskrat, round as a ball
they taste of the summer as it turns into fall

I want this taste! One of my favourite times is late August in PA because the light has exactly this taste and all the longing and joy and anticipation that comes from being on that transitional cusp.

That’s where I want to live forever.

The song portrays nostalgia about spending an enormous amount of effort so that one can be nostalgic (about the summer turning into fall recalled by jelly one has for when the winter comes). I’m a sucker for that sort of layering!

Also, the chorus is an exceedingly fun mouthful:

Bring along a bucket cause we’re all gonna go
Up on the creek where the fox grapes grow
Up on the creek where the fox grapes grow

Now, my poetry analytic years are far behind me, but “Bring along a bucket” has that lovey staggered B with the doubled G in between. It feels harder than it is and when I succeed (which I always do), I feel like I’ve done something tricky but fun. Very much like picking fox grapes to make minute amounts of jam.

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