Weep no more. It’s the Weepies | Art & Appetite

By James Spangler | Jun 30, 2017
The Weepies perform Aug. 9 in Edmonds.

Some people like to hold onto the preposterous notion that they make everything happen for themselves by themselves.

When my marriage of 25 years ended, I found myself adrift. I gathered close friends together and struggled to figure out what was next for me. My pastor dropped by my new apartment frequently. Friends called regularly just to check up on me.

I had one particular friend whose taste in music was excellent (in that it exactly coincided with my own). We’ll call her Jane – might as well, that is her name. Jane is what Malcolm Gladwell might refer to as a music maven. Knowing pop, folk, and rock is almost a calling for her.

When I asked her to burn a disc, what I really needed was music therapy – a prescription for a broken heart. She’d been through a breakup herself a few years earlier, so she was well positioned to advise me.

Although I appreciated the Wilco, Decemberists and Gomez recommendations, the music I still turn to almost a decade later is the indie folk rock duo the Weepies. For weeks, my disc player ran Weepies nonstop.

My kids were sure I'd lost my mind. But there was something beautiful about it that I was drawn to.

When I try to put my finger on exactly what it is that sets the Weepies apart, I'm a little stumped. It’s not one thing, really.

It’s not just the extraordinary poetry and intelligence of their lyrics, it’s not their exquisite harmonies, nor is it just Deb Talan's limpid, translucent, crystalline voice – possessed of a subtle power and charm that defies description. It's some combination of those things, I think.

It also might have something to do with the universal desire for a deep emotional connection to our music. A truly great ballad recounting heartbreak can have transcendent power over us.

It can help us access some of the most poignant emotions we are capable of feeling.

Talan touched on it in an NPR interview where she described how they came up with their name “... (It) came about from a few different sources, but one was, you know, those sort of old movies that were called weepies, where you could basically be guaranteed that if you needed a good cry, you could go and see one of these and bring your hanky and have a good time. And we want to be able to provide that for people. We want to make music that touches them and moves them in that way, the place where tears come from, for joy and for sorrow.”

Even if you think you don't know their music, you’ve probably heard something of theirs on one of the various television programs or movie soundtracks they've contributed to. What’s more, the musicians they've collaborated with include a couple of dozen A-list rockers.

By dumb luck, the Weepies will be performing unplugged at the Edmonds Center for Arts in early August. I can't wait.

It should be a fantastic show. The ECA’s acoustics will be ideal for this sort of performance. I'm intrigued by what they've been doing most recently, as well. Their 2015 album “Sirens” contains an amusing jazz/folk/rock single entitled “Fancy Things” – an adorable departure for them that I can't get out of my head.

Deb Talan will be dropping her first solo album this fall. I'd be very surprised if we aren't treated to a taste of that. Good seats are still available as of the writing of this, but don't wait too long.

The Weepies

When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9
Where: Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N, Edmonds
Tickets: ($19-$49
Information: 425-275-9595, www.edmondscenterforthearts.org


#James Spangler is the owner of Spangler Book Exchange in Edmonds and an aficionado of all things art and appetite. Do you know of a Snohomish County restaurant, art gallery or theatrical show worthy of a review? Call him at 206-795-0128 or email him at jamessspangler@gmail.com.#





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