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Angel from Montgomery

This is one of my favorite songs that plays with persona and identity. Serendipitously, my brother reminded me of it this weekend, just when I’d been thinking about how it is that art can transcend identity categories. It’s a beautiful, wistful song, and, as John Prine points out in this video, it’s in the voice of a “47-year-old housewife” even though it was written by him. I might add that it was written by him when he was young enough to think that 47 is old.

Bonnie Raitt, of course, is the person who made it famous. She has a voice like no other and that has transcended genre and made many a convert to country and blues. So, I offer her version, too, even though I put the Prine one first, on the basis of authorship, the lovely video of him on the river, and the way he describes his imaginative process.

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