And Now For A Little Americana…

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Sarah Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan sing a John Hiatt tune, with three-part harmonies to lift the souls of angels…

Baby’s gone and I don’t know why
She let out this morning
Like a rusty shot in a hollow sky
She left me without warning

Sooner than the dogs could bark
Faster than the sun rose
Down to the banks on an old mule car
She took a flatboat ‘cross the shallow

Left me in my tears to drown
She left a baby daughter
Now the river’s wide and deep and brown
She’s crossing muddy waters

Tobacco standing in the fields
Be rotten, come November
And a bitter heart will not reveal
A spring that love remembers

When that sweet brown girl of mine
Hair, black eyes are raven
We broke the bread and drank the wine
From a jug that she’d been saving

Left me in my tears to drown
She left a baby daughter
Now the river’s wide and deep and brown
And she’s crossing muddy waters

Baby’s crying and the daylight’s gone
That big oak tree is groaning
In a rush of wind and a river of song
I can hear my true love moaning

Crying for her baby child
Or crying for her husband
Crying for that rivers wild
To take her from her loved ones

Left me in my tears to drown
She left a baby daughter
Now the river’s wide and deep and brown
And she’s crossing muddy waters

Now the river’s wide and deep and brown
And she’s crossing muddy waters

Freedom, Courage, Love, and Truth

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Two films currently in the running for the Academy’s “Best Picture” award are standouts for me. What they have in common is that, at their cores, they extol some very primal virtues. The first, Room, explores the value of freedom (which we too often take for granted); it’s ultimate price, courage; and the love that can motivate the needed courage: in this case, the mutual love of a very young child and his mother. This is a story that pushes some very emotional buttons, for all the best reasons. Here’s the official trailer, but if you haven’t read the novel, I recommend that you do not watch it prior to seeing the film, because it ruins the suspense of the plot (even if it doesn’t entirely neutralize its emotional wallop)-

The second film, Spotlight, is stylistically quite different. It’s a journalistic procedural, much in the spirit of 1976’s All The President’s Men, about how a dedicated group of reporters uncovered the depth and breadth of the “pedophile priest” problem in the Catholic Church. Being a (non-postmodernist) philosopher by trade, I’ve always been a sucker for stories about the pursuit and exposure of truth, especially when it’s intentionally been hidden, and when arriving at it comes at the cost of unexpectedly implicating apparent innocents in some moral morass. That’s where this film excels: when the head reporter (played by Michael Keaton) finally figures out who prevented the story from coming to light years earlier, it’s an enlightening surprise. Here’s the trailer (which, unlike the Room trailer, I can certify as “safe to watch”)-