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Places Have Feelings, Too

Everybody Knows Empty Houses Are Lonely

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "Everybody Knows Empty Houses Are Lonely"
  • Artist: Tom Brosseau
  • CD: Empty Houses Are Lonely
  • Genre: Folk-Pop

Tom Brosseau understands the sentimental pull of places — the way a building or a town can come to life in memories as vividly as loved ones do. He often sings about home as more than a bricks-and-mortar construct: It lives, breathes, feels, and dies.

Tom Brosseau sings with uncommon delicacy, recalling the likes of Jeff Buckley. Sam Jones hide caption

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Sam Jones

Brosseau's fascination with location has never sounded more lovingly intimate than it does on his hushed, languid lament "Everybody Knows Empty Houses Are Lonely." Backed by minimal instrumentation and a few lovely vocal harmonies, Brosseau slowly and subtly describes the way abandonment and neglect can suck the joy out of a once-vibrant place: "The vines climb the trellis outside / Once like the top of an apple pie / Up and over, real tight / Under and through."

Available on Empty Houses Are Lonely, a collection of Brosseau's early recordings, "Everybody Knows Empty Houses Are Lonely" sets its scene efficiently, relying on tiny slivers of detail to hammer home the titular message. Understandably a favorite of Jeff Buckley fetishists, Brosseau combines Buckley's swoony delicacy with Nick Drake's restraint, in the service of a singular songwriting voice.

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Empty Houses Are Lonely
Tom Brosseau

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