When is someone going to re-popularize the waltz? It's such a listenable time signature, and yet based on the concerts I've seen lately, most drummers seem unable to play anything that doesn't involve a pounding 4/4 kick drum beat.
Last Friday night Marcellus Hall (of Railroad Jerk and White Hassle fame) took the tiny stage at Union Hall with a trio of Hostages. As the headlining act they didn't need to hurry to setup, and the small crowd was quite receptive, but when they began performing a short set of earnest songs it was as if their lives depended on it. I appreciated the subdued drumming for sure, but honestly, they had me at The First Line.
In my humble opinion, the most memorable song of the evening may have been a waltz entitled "One Drop of Rain," a somber melody that cleverly mimics the refrain with an instrumental passage in all but the first and last iterations. Mr. Hall's plaintive lyrics are matched by the timbre of his voice, and his band treads lightly as the story unfolds with each verse. The structure itself is simple and could be mistaken for something A.P. Carter might have composed if the grandfather of country had written about death and electronic communication instead of death and salvation. Whether or not you agree with the comparison, "One Drop of Rain" works as a piece of music. Fans of timeless songwriting, harmonica solos, and yes, slower tempos take note: his will be an album to watch for next year.