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Void ~ Red House Painters 2016.06.04@Plaza Theater, El Paso, TX

Just wrapped Show #325 of From the Top at the Plaza Theater in El Paso, TX.

I premiered, as my break piece midway through the show, a brand new arrangement I’d crafted in my long line of songs by Mark Kozelek, songwriter and lead singer of Red House Painters, his 90’s band in San Francsico, and subsequently Sun Kil Moon. I’ve been happily obsessed with Mark’s music for the past year. Never thought I’d find another artist in whose music I would so immerse myself after my decade-long fascination with Radiohead, Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. I’d already amassed a very long short-list of Mark’s songs I was keen to arrange for piano, and even then, I’d somehow bypassed one of the later RHP albums, Old Ramon, from which I discovered Void, an instant favorite, superceding all the others in my desire to set it in piano arrangement. Like Elliott, Mark’s music sounds different in full-band arrangement and in subsequent solo concert versions. I took the harmonies, the dual guitar solo, and the sumpuous harmonies of the cods from the Old Ramon version; the vocal phrasing from a later solo guitar-vocal version from a live track recorded in Sweden some years ago.

Also, like Elliott, I find Mark Kozelek’s harmonic language equally as compelling as his confessional, intimate lyric gift:

Find another corner of the house
When you need to get away
A guitar leans against the couch
Sometimes I pick it up and play
Loosen and stretch its ancient strings
Until it sounds the way I feel
Brush my thumb against it soft
Give it life or give it pause

When you look up in my eyes
I’m looking down in yours
All looks good up in the sky
Down to your wooly carpet floor
And I know that I have picked
The most perfect sunflower yet
Even on a sketchy day
Just outside her shore we stay

When all its colours turn and dry
Will you live or will you die?
When all its poets fall away
Will you go or will you stay?

Fill the void in me now
Making love to me girl
Red light cruising the night
Red light getting me home

Driving down the freeway in your truck
I watched the river flowing up
Headlights cutting through the night
Hear them pass this place in time
And I know that I have slept
In the warmest bedroom yet
Even on the coldest day
Here inside her shore we stay

A verse of hope
There on that reel
Lets you know the way I feel
Ram my fists up in your hair
Feel me cruise up in the air

Fill the void in me now
Making love to me girl
Red light cruising the night
Red light getting me home

Fill the void in me now
Making love to me girl
Red lights float in the night
Red lights getting me home

Fill the void in me now
Smile down on me girl
Red light cruising the night
Red lights getting me home

Fill the void in me now
Making love to me girl
Red lights float in the night
Red light getting me home

Pull the weight of me now
Wrapped around me so good
Red light cruising the night
Red lights getting me home

Pull the weight off me now
Wrapped around me so good
Red light cruising the night
Red light getting me home

Fill the void in me now
Making love to me girl
Red lights cruising the night
Red lights getting me home

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