Art Works Blog

Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight.

Summer is fast approaching and so we're winding things down on the Big Read blog. Two more posts to go and then we close up shop 'til the fall. Fare the well breezy spring days of 75 degree temps (all three of them), and hello swamp-heat, which so graciously suffocates the District like a wool blanket of kudzu. In honor of this mildly depressing weather transition, I thought it'd be mildly appropriate to check out the beautiful, yet heavy-hearted song that closes out our Housekeeping audio documentary. As our host says at the end, "if one song were to serve as a soundtrack for the lives of the novel's protagonists Ruth and Sylvie, it would be the classic folk song “Goodnight, Irene.”' Made famous by Lead Belly and recorded by a host of others, today we turn to the version by Tom Waits. For those who aren't familiar with the book, all you need to know to enjoy this is a) it's Tom Waits and b) the song is sung in Housekeeping several times. The lyrics about love and loss seem to haunt every moment of the novel. 

If you need more reason to keep listening, our audio program includes song excerpts by M. Ward, Feist, Aimee Mann, Bartok, and Bach! Also, the program features Annette Bening reading excerpts from Marilynne Robinson's pitch-perfect novel. You really can't beat that.  

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