‘Watching The Sun Come Up’
A daily routine of mine is a beach walk in the early hours. I usually make it to the shore before sunrise and I witness the day begin over the great Atlantic Ocean from a South Florida shore. My twilight journey to the shore is a song long – in that there’s usually time for a piece of music to play through before I walk out onto the sands to forget myself.
There are lots of songs that use the dawn as a metaphor and in time I’ll bring those to your attention. Some are uplifting and aspirational. Others are romantic and dreamy, and still more use the sunrise to symbolise a new start, or a step forward. A sunrise can be bitter-sweet too, and songwriters have chosen the daybreak as a way to write a break-up song.
Ed Harcourt is one of England’s most talented and eclectic singer-songwriters. He’s toured with Wilco and REM and has been justly compared with the lost legends of songwriting, such as Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. I’m a big fan of the misunderstood genius musicians – Tim Finn, Robyn Hitchcock, Robert Wyatt, you know the sort – so Ed Harcourt is a good choice to kick off my sunrise playlist.
His studio version of ‘Watching The Sun Come Up’ was released back in 2003 on his second album, yet it was his performance at Glastonbury 2013, in the blazing Somerset sunshine that caught my imagination. Blinking in the light was a song that was truely epic in it’s scope. His hangover cure festival treatment with edgy strings, sunburst brass all laid out on a bed of frippertronics is really something to behold and seemed perfect for the moment.
An epic song delivered in a laid back languid style. Perfect for a balmy Festival, but also moody enough to work on a deserted tropical beach.
He played the same arangement in a solo show at Gothenburg’s legendary jazz club Nefertiti.
The original is a little more mannered…
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