"Into the dark or the blinding light,
either way you can't see a thing."
- Karen Dalton
This is the first Karen Dalton song I fell in love with. It was written by Tim Hardin and covered a million times, but hers is my favorite version:
Karen Dalton released only two albums: It's So Hard to Tell Who's Going to Love You the Best and In My Own Time. Neither of which contained any original songs. She's been compared to a folk Billie Holiday or Bessie Smith. She's the best singer you never heard of. A sad soul. And truly something else.
A new alum, Remembering Mountains, is being released next week o of Karen Dalton songs, and these are her own. Her lyrics were left behind, and several artists have created them into full-fledged songs. It's beautiful. Listen to Patty Griffin's contribution here, and Sharon Van Etten's contribution here.
When my dad passed away, we had mountains of papers, books, clothes. A huge physical shadow that had to be sorted through. That's all there will be for future friends and family to know him by. There were lovely things that have become treasures, but also handfuls of caffeine pills and bottles of nasal spray. Very human. Still tender.
Everyone leaves things behind, and future generations create their own narratives of who the deceased are to fill in the gaps. Even if it's not lyrics, it could be your journal, your mementos, your messy sheets.
What will be created out of what you leave behind?