Alone and 'Ashamed,' a Golden Boy Falls

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/14466454/14423732" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Ashamed"
  • Artist: Deer Tick
  • CD: War Elephant
  • Genre: Folk-Rock
Deer Tick's John MacAuley makes Dylan-esque folk music with a reedy twang.

Deer Tick's John MacAuley makes Dylan-esque folk music with a reedy twang. Kim Fearick hide caption

itoggle caption Kim Fearick

The lone singer with a guitar will always be an icon of American folk music, but modern American folk is a diverse and rich genre that branches into rock, country and blues. Deer Tick understands this: Its new album pays as much homage to Tom Petty and John Fahey as it does to Bob Dylan. While the variety of its songs is admirable, "Ashamed," the album's most Dylan-esque track, is also its best.

Over deft acoustic fingerpicking, songwriter John MacAuley's reedy twang relates the story of a golden boy — "the boy your mother wanted you to meet" — who has failed to live up to his name. "I should have been an angel," he wails. "What a crying shame / what we became." Rich, haunting imagery of death, violence and angels lends an almost apocalyptic nature to the otherwise tranquil song.

But the instrumentation is symbolic, as well. On the final, short verse, MacAuley's deft fingerwork is accompanied by drums, violin and multi-harmony backing vocals. The song ends abruptly and too soon, much like the life of a man who's failed to realize his potential.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music

War Elephant

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
War Elephant
Artist
Deer Tick
Label
TBC
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.