This evening was like that. Song after song after song. And then David Dye, of the World Cafe, presented me with Josh Ritter's Girl in the War.
I know I've heard music from this guy before, and I remember thinking him pleasant, but I hadn't heard this song.
He has a pleasant nice voice, accompanied by delicate acoustic guitar picking. It was the lyrics that hit me:
Peter said to Paul you know all those words we wroteAnd
Are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go
But now talking to God is Laurel begging Hardy for a gun
I got a girl in the war man I wonder what it is we done
Paul said to Peter you got to rock yourself a little harderPeter and Paul (the Apostles?) seem to be discussing great metaphysical issues, but keep coming back to "I got a girl in the war." That does two things. It brings us back to what's most important on a basic, personal level. And it spins the old war-time, homefront cliche from the "girl back home" to the "girl in the war."
Pretend the dove from above is a dragon and your feet are on fire
But I got a girl in the war Paul her eyes are like champagne
They sparkle bubble over and in the morning all you got is rain
Looking into this song this evening led me to a video (quicktime) of Ritter performing this song at a Center for American Progress event last fall.
"I came 2000 miles to play you this song," he says. "I meant to write about this country, and it came out sounding like a love song."