Tuesday, December 18, 2012

American song: Corn, Water & Wood

I'm shopping around for American Christmas songs this year, mostly because it's fun to do that. But also because I have this not-very-well-developed theory that many American expressions of Christianity, despite their apparent strengths, aren't rooted deeply enough in the American landscape to be sustainable and therefore are susceptible to being swept away by the next spring twister. I'll work more on this line of thought.

But I really like this not especially old song that lifts the legend of the three magi out of Mideast mythology and resettles it gently in America's arid Southwest, replacing the grandiosity of gold, frankincense and myrrh with corn, water and wood. It's a uniquely American retelling expressed in a uniquely American musical genre.

The song was co-written by Wendy Waldman and Carol Elliot not long before this performance was recorded. Riders in the Sky (how about them costumes?) perform it here. Michael Martin Murphey may have been first to do so. For those who follow such things, it's a song that also earned the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

No comments: