Tuesday, October 09, 2007

OCT 9 - John Lennon and ELEANOR MCEVOY

It was the night of October 9th, three years ago. Mid-way into her set, Eleanor McEvoy did what I was hoping she'd do...sing "Last Seen October 9th."
By way of preface, expecting her song title for an answer, she asked the audience, "Anyone know what day this is?"
From my ringside seat, I answered, "Yes...John Lennon's birthday."
"Is it?"
"Yes...October 9th."
"Really. I didn't know that..."
Eleanor then explained that she rarely performed this particular song, but being October 9th, it was a fitting night for it. And while it's about a person gone missing, not someone assassinated, for me and for perhaps others in the crowd, the song evoked John's image, in its quiet lines about life's fragility and the emptiness that goes with loss.
This simple, stark song is about a missing person and one of those sad, "last seen..." signs that families nail to trees and tape to lamp posts...an act of futility dressed as hope.
After the show, I mentioned to Eleanor that home-made "last seen" signs, xeroxed with a snapshot of the missing loved one, were vivid on bus shelters and lamp posts and in store windows after 9/11, and stayed up until the rains and wind mottled and bent them, and the faces and names on them were faded and streaked. One of the nice things about having a CD, is you have the artist's complete vision, including the CD booklet and lyrics. You also have something that can be autographed. It's reproduced here, amended a bit.
"Last Seen October 9th" appears on "Yola," Eleanor's first album after going indie. Her first CD (Geffen) had the hit, later covered by Mary Black, "Only A Woman's Heart"). She then recorded two CDs for Columbia. Her latest album, appropriately titled, is "Out There." She performs mostly in her native Ireland.
Classically trained, McEvoy's music can paint images without words ("The Rain Falls" and "Days Go By" live up to the titles, even before she starts singing). Her lyrics, deceptively simple, etch deep, such as "Sophie" (about an anorexic). Unlike country-woman Sinead O'Connor, Eleanor's palette is somberly hued, but doesn't flare into the histrionic. Perhaps it's that lack of flash that has won her critical acclaim rather than fame. Each McEvoy CD in its jewel box, is like any woman's jewel case...it holds treasures, some obvious, some fragile, some sentimental, some faceted so skillfully they can shine in new ways every time they are given the chance.
Remembering John Lennon, 9/11, and all the lost ones "last seen" on a home-made poster, here is

OCTOBER 9th Listen on line, no pop-ups, "you have won 2 ipods" scams, or porn ads


Elaine said...

I love it when you put away the unbeatable sparkle of your wordplay for a few minutes now and again (not that I don't enjoy that, too, as you are the best there's ever been, Old Son!--but pattern and variation are everything). What a beautiful write-up.

Ill Folks said...

All credit to Eleanor McEvoy. What was that Jack Nicholson line from "As Good As It Gets?" He tells the lady, "You make me want to be a better man." (Or at least, less of The Joker.)

The moment was hers, in asking that (un-rhetorical) question, and writing the kind of songs that brought me ringside.

Well, any future sensitivity at ill's blog...or lack of extraordinarily crude photos...might just be the inspiration of a certain mod, guitarist and part-time muse.