Song of the Day: “Thin Blue Flame”, Josh Ritter

 

I became a thin blue flame
Polished on a mountain range
And over hills and fields I flew
Wrapped up in a royal blue
I flew over Royal City last night
A bullfighter on the horns of a new moon’s light
Caesar’s ghost I saw the war-time tides
The prince of Denmark’s father still and quiet
And the whole world was looking to get drowned
Trees were a fist shaking themselves at the clouds
I looked over curtains and it was then that I knew
Only a full house gonna make it through

Few songs will ever come close to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a brilliant ode to the problems within religion.  Josh Ritter’s “Thin Blue Flame” becomes all that and more, the hushed tone in front of a live audience, the simple rhythm guitar, and the words.  At times elegant and at times blunt, the prose is poetic not with a sense of cynicism, but reverence. Not many people could dot their lyrical stanzas with as many purposeful Shakespeare references as Ritter does here, as if to tell us underneath it all the world is our stage, and we the only players. The song is a long one at around 10 minutes but its a sermon that doesn’t patronize or drag, its got a ghostly power to it, and it is well worth your time.

Thin Blue Flame- Josh Ritter

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