There are all sorts of ways to jam econo – one was embodied by Minutemen, an iconic San Pedro trio whose legacy is still very much alive in spite of lead singer D. Boone untimely death. You can say that Louisville’s Tender Mercy (aka Mark Kramer) also jams econo – the structure of his compositions is skeletal, the songs themselves don’t change all that much from album to album and his sonic palette is minimal (voice + guitar). Yet the overall effect his songs produce is nothing short of stunning (especially in a live setting) and “The Key”, the subject of today’s premiere, serves as another proof that refusal to go along with times is often the best decision an artist can make.
Slow-paced and utterly lonesome (if not downright ominous) sounding, “The Key” might be the last thing anyone would associate with warmth, yet there is something deeply human about the way in which the song conveys feelings of loss/grief/profound sadness. The foreboding/cryptic lyrics complete the picture – sounding as if the narrator is too scared to give away too much for fear it might emotionally damage the listener.
Don’t forget to put on the headphones while listening to this one.
The War Within is out on Oct. 17 via Obsolete Staircases