Friday, March 9, 2012

Song #149 of 9999 - Reckoning by Ani DiFranco

Song #149 of 9999

Title: Reckoning
Artist: Ani DiFranco
Year: 2001
Album: Reveling/Reckoning

A few months ago, I was gushing over The National's High Violet and one of my friends told me I had to get The Boxer, which is "so much better." So I bought The Boxer and it is good but when I want to hear The National, I put on High Violet. I find this to be a curious thing about discovering an artist with a back catalog later in their career. It seems nearly impossible for me to appreciate the other albums (even if they're more critically acclaimed) as much as the one that came first to me. Future albums fare better, but I still often find myself gravitating toward whatever originated the love affair.

Such is the case with Ani DiFranco's Revelling/Reckoning, her two-CD set that delves heavily into jazz. I'm almost certain that real Ani fans could supply me with a list of records SO much better than this one, but I have a hard time believing that, despite the lukewarm reception the record apparently received. To me, this record defines Ani DiFranco, even as it may mark a departure for people who know her music much better than I. To make matters worse, I saw Ani on this tour in Paris and hold fond memories of the show, which was in a club that seemed ridiculously small for someone of her repute. Later live performances (and records for that matter) haven't lived up.

It was hard choosing a song to spotlight, but I really like this cool track with the punchy baritone guitar and sustained wind stacks. Around this time, I was starting to learn how to play the guitar in a more meaningful way and Ani DiFranco's approach and style were a revelation. I still can't play anything like her but I certainly had my eyes opened to the possibilities of the instrument as a complex accompaniment tool. Honestly, she blew me away.

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