Not really a folk song, and certainly not English but this is just beautiful. It’s by Josh Ritter, an American singer-songwriter, from Hello Starling which is one of my all time favourite albums.
Ritter has a wonderfully poetic way with words which reward a bit of digging. Lines like
I stole a mule from Anthony
(st Anthony is the patron saint of lost things)
Anne said “inside this gilded cage a songbird always looks so plain”
And in the midst of it all a hard hitting critique of industrial society:
We floated on to Hanford in a lumber boat, upriver
Past the fisheries and the milltowns, like a stretch of future graveyards
She was given to distraction, said ‘I wonder what will happen
When they find out they’re mistaken and the land is too changed to ever change’
Seriously, how good is that ‘like a stretch of future graveyards’ line?!
As you can probably tell I love this song, I hope you enjoy it!
Lyrics: from memory
Takes: 2 (I fluffed verse 4 first time round)
Download: 08 Wings