October Musical Moment: Light of the Clear Blue Morning

Justin Langham   -  
Welcome to the first Monthly Musical Moment!
I’m excited to share with you each month what I believe are meaningful moments of all periods, styles, and genres from this wonderful world of music. There is an incredible variety of musical tastes and experiences among people in our society and all around the world, but sometimes there are perceived barriers between the different forms that music takes in our lives.
If you know me at all, even from a distance, it won’t surprise you that I feel a deep connection to music, which is a feeling I’m sure you can relate to. I find music to be a necessary part of the human experience and what connects us to every other human all over the world. Music is also a vast universe of potential exploration that far too many only scratches the surface of. My passion is finding common characteristics across seemingly unrelated types of music that can lead to a deeper connection between one another.
My goal with these monthly columns is not only to hopefully expose you to new music that you connect with, but also to deepen the understanding, connection, and love of music that you’ve heard all your life. Maybe starting with the musical moment for this month.
There are not many songs that are covered, arranged, or otherwise redone and retain an equal or greater impact than the original. We all certainly know some bad ones, but Craig Hella Johnson’s arrangement of “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” by Dolly Parton is not one of them.
Although Dolly’s version is timeless on its own, I encourage you to listen to both versions and notice how CHJ uses the different colors of the choir to let the text sung by the soloist come through, almost like he knew not to mess with perfection. However, the addition of the choir at full force in the middle, along with an almost atmospheric closing outro, only enhances the emotional goal of the music and makes it an especially powerful arrangement.