Tunes for the river red

Your soundtrack to this year’s historic flood

Anything can be improved with music, including road closures due to flooding.

With the Red River set to crest by the end of the week, and multiple main bridges under feet of flood water already, the 2019 flood has been on everyone’s mind lately.

There doesn’t seem like anything good could come of the situation, but that is why this playlist is here.

‘Red River Shore’

Forgive me for the blasphemous statement that follows, but I am not a fan of Bob Dylan’s original version. Instead, I opt for a cover by Austin blues/folk artist Jimmy LaFave.

“Red River Shore” has only ever been released on Dylan’s outtakes and bootleg compilations of later works. I am not a fan of Dylan live, and time has not been kind to the Minnesota folk singer’s voice. Combined with the lack of post-production, it’s raw in the wrong ways.

In comparison, LaFave takes Dylan’s gravelly mumble and adds smooth connections and bluesy feel. In my opinion, it is a much more engaging listen.

Do I realize that Dylan is from Minnesota, which is a lot closer to our section of the Red than Texas? Of course.

It is a rambling song about a past love and nights spent together on the shore of the Red River with a little bit of folklore thrown in.

‘Red River’

On Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ last album “Hypnotic Eye,” this bewitching song tells the story of a voodoo woman.

The story speaks of a woman who tries to cover all the bases: a rosary and a gris-gris stick (voodoo amulet), a rabbit’s foot and a black cat bone, yet none of it seems to be working.

Petty plans on taking her to cleanse her spirit in the powerful Red River.

‘Head Above Water’

Avril Lavigne is back and better than ever. With “Head Above Water,” Lavigne updates with the times but doesn’t lose her unique style.

While the song is meant to be an anthem to overcoming life’s struggles, in the context of an actual flood, much of the lyrics still hold.

“So, pull me up from down below/ ‘Cause I’m underneath the undertow/ Come dry me off and hold me close/ I need you now; I need you most.”

‘When the Levee Breaks’

They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, and my Led Zeppelin collection gathers no dust. Of course, I had to pull out this acid-soaked blues tune from “Led Zeppelin IV.”

Let’s hope none of our levees break, though.

For a full playlist of more flood-worthy songs, search Fargo Flood 2019 on Spotify.

Leave a Reply