"Ann Jane" by the Jayhawks, 1995

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm not the biggest Jayhawks fan ever. I got very into the alt-country/No Depression sound right after college, though, particularly via Wilco's A.M. and Son Volt and those bands' respective leaders' shared history in Uncle Tupelo. Of the Jayhawks, I only knew "Blue," so I bought Tomorrow the Green Grass, and I liked it a lot. But it was not an everyday listen, and lots of the deeper cuts didn't leap out at me as fantastic right away. It took years. It took nearly two decades now for "Ann Jane" to present itself as my favorite track on the LP. This is odd to Jayhawks fans, who apparently regard the second half of Tomorrow the Green Grass as something of a throwaway. Apparently.

It's something of a dirge, with a persistent hi-hat that gives the song a marching feel, as if accompanying a funeral. I don't know exactly what the song is about, if I'm honest, but it feels to me like a big brother doing a shitty but touching job of comforting his little sister, though their father is dead or dying. If I'm wrong, I don't want to know. (I have a suspicion that the narrator here could be a man of God, or God Himself. I don't know. Like I said, don't wanna.)

I can't find a video for this track on YouTube, so here's a link to the MySpace version. You might have to watch a little ad first.