Song of the Day: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn – “The Final Countdown”

 

I was trying to think of a Béla Fleck/Abigail Washburn song to post, since this incredible duo will be playing at CC in a matter of hours. While I could have played some of Béla’s selections from Rocket Power (the best Flecktones album, in my opinion), or from his recent duo album with Chick Corea which absolutely blew my mind when I heard it, or something of Abigail’s insanely creative “City of Refuge”, I decided to go with a new and seemingly humorous piece the married duo performed almost a year ago.

When I talk about their performance of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” as humorous, I am really only extending the degree of levity to the superficial: the wigs, The A.V. Club’s tradition of comedy, my obsession with GOB from arrested development. All other aspects of this performance, though, are met with the gravest intent, as if the duo are performing a sacred Appalachian folk song from deep within their repertoire. From her first chord, Abigail sets the tone of the performance as different and beautiful. Her accompaniment to Béla’s tender rendition of the melody and chorus make turn the performance on its head. Where others like to keep in the A.V. Club’s tradition of satirizing popular music (of course, not that this is a bad thing!), the duo quietly and methodically go about fulfilling their endless creative impulses and leave us, the listener, with a piece of astoundingly spiritual beauty.

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