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I love this album and I haven't listened to it in a long time, in fact, I forgot it was called Befriended.

I need to figure out where it is.


Good plan.:-)

I have a feeling that I would need to listen to the entire album to get into the groove and enjoy her voice. Which sounds a lot like Natalie Merchant's voice, by the way.

I think it's odder than Natalie Merchant's, though I haven't heard that much of her. But I can imagine someone listening to this and thinking it was no better than pleasant.

I was thinking about Wrecking Ball and its sound and groove - the Emmylou album you mention in the post. I don't know that listening to just one or two tracks really does it, you need to experience the entire thing for it to hit you. I love to listen to that CD while driving long distances at night on the interstate (traveling). It is night-time, evening, driving music for me.

Nice to see this review again -- I remember reading it a long time ago and forwarding it to friends. I think that for a lot of people this album was an introduction to the band, or perhaps a re-introduction, as five years had passed since their previous one had come out. That was Birds of My Neighborhood, which I like as much as this one, and has what I think is one of their finest songs on it, "The Lakes of Canada."

I was a big 10000 Maniacs fan back in their early days (I still listen to the first album fairly often) but except for the odd song Natalie Merchant's solo material never did much for me.

There is some sort of Peris-Merchant-Emmylou connection but I don't remember the details.

I have Birds of My Neighborhood but haven't listened to it very much. Not that I didn't like it, just haven't really gotten acquainted with it.

"I love to listen to that CD while driving long distances at night on the interstate (traveling)."

I could say that about a number of albums. It's a great time to listen to music.

Now I want to go get in the car and drive somewhere and listen to the radio. Probably shouldn't do that since I have 18 people coming for Bill's birthday party on Sunday.

Guess who one of the people is.


Some other Mac?

Somebody who was born last October.


Oh, I thought you were making some kind of reference to the album. Anyway, that's great.

Sat down and listened to Befriended straight through last evening -- I had forgotten just how good it really is. Makes me want to revisit some of their other albums that I haven't listened to in awhile.

Me too. There are at least a couple that I have but am not well acquainted with, and I haven't heard the most recent one at all. I had planned to buy it but didn't get around to it.

The most recent one was a slow grower for me. Was underwhelmed at first but the more I listened to it the more I liked it.

Speaking of i.m., this video never fails to bring a smile to my face.


"oddities of pronunciation that sometimes obscure the words." Make that "often." It is unfortunate that the words are important, since I couldn't understand half of them, so couldn't get the "transcendence," (which I can with Emmilou Harris." I did find her voice pleasant. Perfect for the kind of music she sings. I listened to the whole thing.

I don't mind sparse, but the relative lack of production variety made it seem almost monotonous. Doesn't the guitarist have any other effects? Also, the instruments were JUST BARELY out of tune, especially the piano. The "monostrings" effect was fine on one or two songs, but it kept coming back.

I'm listening the Now the Day is Over right now, which I like very much. I know the songs, so don't have to strain to understand the words.

You need to buy the cd so you can read the lyrics. :-) But most of When Mac Was Swimming is clear enough, especially the chorus. So if that doesn't move you, the album is probably not for you.

I like the sparseness. Matter of taste I guess. Out-of-tuneness didn't hit me. I don't have a very good ear.

Sweet video, Rob.

"Sweet video, Rob."

Later I found this, a new post:



I don't remember the oddities of pronunciation but then it's been a long time. I don't think it could have ever bothered me. One thing I love about them is that the songs are about their family. This is so unusual that I can't think of another group that does this. Maybe the occasional song, but nothing that nears IM.


Yes, Janet -- family, friends, hometown, church, etc. It's all very "place" centered.

I listened to Birds of My Neighborhood last night with lyric sheet in hand, and besides the pronunciation thing, I also noticed something that I had noted previously but had forgotten. The phrasings and rhythms of the lyrics don't always precisely match those of the music like they do in a lot of other pop and folk material. So like in a lot of modern (but not free verse) poetry, there are line breaks, accents, etc., in places where you don't expect them to be, and at times this is accentuated by the musical line. I don't see this as a fault by any stretch, because while it may make the lyrics a bit more difficult to grasp it also helps preserve the songs from triteness and from having any sort of sing-songy feeling.

I'll listen to "When Mac Was Swimming" again. I don't really care to read lyrics while I'm listening to music--even choral music, which is often hard to understand. It changes the experience for me. My hearing ain't good in the first place, though, so maybe it is just me.

It isn't the sparseness that I didn't like, but the relative uniform musical palette. I'm usually a music-first guy, then lyrics--although bad lyrics can ruin a very good musical piece.

Yeah, I generally don't read along, but scan the lyrics quickly as the song starts then put them aside. I virtually never do that on a first listening to a new album however, and usually do so only when I have a question about them or if they seem exceptionally interesting/clever.

I listened again to "When Mac Was Swimming." It was indeed good musically. Reminded me (perhaps unfairly) of "The Girl from Ipanema." I did look at the lyrics while listening. The lyrics are certainly evocative, but are slightly too obscure for my simple tastes.

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