There's this thing about the divide between folk music and pop music that's bothered me for a long time, and it has to do with the word "clever." When an artist is clever or wordy or dare we mention it funny, well, that about trounces any potential for crossover into broader markets. I just don't get it. Not that Lavin particularly cares about being heard by the churning masses: she has quite a nice gig going and doesn't seem to be complaining. But every now and then I just get the feeling the churning masses could really do for some slack-jawed, vulnerable time particularly when I hear songs like "The Sixth Floor / Moon-Rising Tide," which takes something as tiny as a souvenir pen from a Texas tourist attraction and coats it with layer upon layer of meaning until the final effect is positively religious, global, and drenched with truth.
Christine Lavin returns to the Ark on Saturday, April 20.
[Originally published in April, 2002.]