Tomorrow night's another Club Renaissance "Glamourspunk Night," and in a quest to find new songs to perform I've finally tackled the holy grail: "'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel" by Cowboy Junkies.
It's already a risky song because it's slow and sad, but it's also eloquent and poignant and awfully fitting for a "bar performance around Christmas." The only problem is the extended instrumental portion in the middle, which consists of a steel guitar solo followed by an accordion solo, during which the key and the mood changes from "I'm game" to "I've found temporary happiness" to "I'm simply resigned."
Cutting instrumentals out of songs is easy enough to do, and I do it frequently to prevent me from prancing about on stage with nothing to do. But this instrumental is one of the most important parts of the song...it tells a story in a way the words never could. And the solos are so individual and complete that you simply cannot chop pieces out of them. Believe me, I've tried.
After all this editing frustration I can only conclude one thing: this song is a perfect construction which cannot be dismantled. You can't take a single thing out of it without throwing the whole thing out of balance. That's annoying, but it's also evidence of a really special piece of music. This is one of the world's most under appreciated "musical moments."
I guess I'll just have to come up with some "business" in the middle.