Cover me badly: ‘Swimming Song’

So, After my love for „Light Flight“ I found out that Bruce Peninsula also covered „Swimming Song“ by Loudon Wainwright III.

Now! The cover is fantastic, it’s raunchy and with the banjo it conjures up images of swimming somewhere in the deep south, when the air is so hot that you actually feel like you’re melting into the ground. It also sounds as if you’re supposed to hear some inner turmoil amongst the joyful memory of childhood innocence.

I love the ending, I really want to grab someone’s arms and dance around a fire with a bottle of moonshine in my other hand. Come on, who wants to?

And then you have Loudon’s version which is absolutely gorgeous. The clarity of his voice is absolutely breath-taking, that’s a singer who doesn’t need to bury his vocals in little tidbits and runs but has so much fire behind the simple melody (which never really is simple, now is it?) that you wouldn’t want anything more. I think it was Hemmingway who had this reduction theory on writing (it had some iceberg-analogy-name). In which he stated it’s important what’s not being said but that the artist has to know what he leaves out, otherwise it would be empty and without meaning.

I guess Hemmingway was a little less confusing when he said it but I feel as if Loudon knows and excels in this way of creating his music.

Man, I never really listened to Loudon Wainwright. How the hell did he raise two musicians who did music that was so contrary to what he does? I love Rufus and enjoy quite a few Martha songs but they are very dramatic and heavy whereas Loudon has this airy lightness of great 70s songwriters – it’s a joy to listen to him and it feels so stripped down.

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