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“The Beautiful Blur” is a great example of why Volume 3 of RRR has been so thrilling for us. Mark’s skeleton track was strictly in the acoustic realm, a galloping dervish of guitar, dobro, mandolin... and more guitar. All in all, a lovely and complete piece that could have lived quite happily in a cinematic and quiet zone with some orchestral percussion and some lush strings. But, as is our wont, we steered the ship of relative tranquility towards the iceberg of uncertain peril. Some loud drums, chugging guitars dueling it out with their acoustic brethren, and Voilà! The RRR rock circus continues!


Words about words (from Carla):
My friend Ruth Mankin recently turned me onto the work of California artist Kellesimone Waits. There was a particular series that stayed with me called Power Plays (2009). She paints political heavies (Ruth Bader Ginsberg, JFK, Condoleeza Rice, Rupert Murdoch) - the women are in their skivvies, the men, in suits. It’s uncomfortable and raw and sad… and provocative. This song was sparked in part by those paintings. It imagines a powerful couple in American industry/politics (can you really separate them these days?) and the distance between public facade their private despair. Or negligence.

I was also thinking about wives. About the wives of the heads of Monsanto, the wives of the Koch brothers. About the awkward quietness of a giant McMansion. About the over-conditioned air, the carpet cleaner, the white noise machine to absorb the deafening silence (forgive me if you use one... no offense intended!) How much do they want to know of their husbands’ dealings at the end of a work day? Do they ask? Would they rather not know? Are they Desdemonas? Or are they willfully blind? Are they kids we went to high school with? What were they dreaming of as young girls? Do they remember?

lyrics

THE BEAUTIFUL BLUR

Sickly boys and churlish girls walk hand in hand.
Angry angels and busy saints scour the land.
The sweet smell of afternoon gin,
and the black earth folds her in.
Hands drop.
Their defiance entwines.
They march side by side
making desperate lines.

Look up!
See his family name
inscribed on the archway
in a rainbow of shame.

She fixes her mind on the one thing that’s still,
but her thoughts spin around it so fast
and the beautiful blur holds her steady.
So steady.

His culpable dreams tell her more than they ought.
She hides away treasures the adjuster forgot.
Let’s plug in the ocean to cover the din.
Let’s plug in the ocean so the silence can’t win.

There used to be stars here, she says,
so he turns out the light and holds her steady.
So steady.

credits

from Rabbit Rabbit Radio, Vol. 3 - Year of the Wooden Horse, released July 1, 2015
Carla Kihlstedt - voice
Mark Orton - guitars (national, acoustic) mandolin, dobro
Jon Evans - guitar (telecaster), bass
Matthias Bossi - drums

Music by Mark Orton
Words by Carla Kihlstedt
Published by Camp Watertown, BMI
and by Broca’s Fold, ASCAP

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Rabbit Rabbit Radio Falmouth, Massachusetts

Rabbit Rabbit Radio is the song-spinning duo of Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi. Collectively, they are founding members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Tin Hat, 2 Foot Yard, Causing a Tiger, The Book of Knots, and Fred Frith’s Cosa Brava.

Drawing on their love of both art & folk song, industrial & improvised music and heart-wrenching balladry, their songs are raw, beautiful, sparse and rich.
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