At one point in my life, I found my­self mar­ried to a les­bian. It’s a long sto­ry, not ter­ri­bly hap­py. This ar­range­ment had im­por­tant dis­ad­van­tages, but a pret­ty big up­side: I dis­cov­ered women’s mu­sic. It’s not ac­tu­al­ly a gen­re, it’s just that the per­form­ers are most­ly les­bian and the au­di­ences are most­ly, wom­en (although men were per­fect­ly wel­come; I have yet to en­counter any class of mu­si­cian who ob­ject­ed to any class of per­son en­joy­ing their mu­sic, and (e­spe­cial­ly) pay­ing for it. If you’re won­der­ing what kind of mu­sic I’m talk­ing about, lis­ten to Belly­bowl by Fer­ron, and you’ll know; most­ly, ex­cel­len­t.

It’s from Tes­ti­mo­ny, one of her ear­li­est record­ings, and pret­ty well ev­ery­thing on it is great; I’m sure there are lots of fans out there who think Belly­bowl is a mi­nor work com­pared to the ti­tle track and Ain’t Life a Brook and one or two oth­er­s, but it’s been dear to me since I first heard it. Belly­bowl is fast and ur­gent and beau­ti­ful, and the jazz-flavored ar­range­ment here is fan­tas­tic.

Babe you are my belly­bowl / my soft-shoe shuf­fle / I come be­hind, I fol­low whole / for me there is no oth­er.


Fer­ron, much more grown-up than back in Tes­ti­mo­ny days.

Along with this kind of mu­sic be­ing most­ly re­al­ly good, the con­certs  —  well, the ones I at­tend­ed  —  were big in­tense baths of love. It was a spe­cial kind of oc­ca­sion, and one I’m very hap­py to have ex­pe­ri­enced a few times.

Fer­ron is a name to reck­on with in Women’s mu­sic. She’s Cana­di­an and grew up around here where I live and has writ­ten sev­er­al songs that have brought tears to my eyes on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sion­s. She used to tour reg­u­lar­ly and ev­ery time I saw her she took my breath away.

Reg­u­lar read­ers will know that I’m an au­dio­phile, a lover of beau­ti­ful sound. Real au­dio­philes wor­ship live con­cert sound over all oth­er fla­vors, and at a Fer­ron con­cert I ex­pe­ri­enced the most beau­ti­ful live sound I’ve ev­er heard. This was in Water­loo, On­tario some­time around 1990, and on this tour it was Fer­ron and a gui­tarist (skin­ny, blon­de, don’t re­call her name). Any­how, she told the crowd she was go­ing to do Belly­bowl (the hall filled with lov­ing awwww sound­s) and that she need­ed help, ask­ing ev­ery­one to take out their car keys. In Belly­bowl in each verse there’s a place with a a big in­take of breath; she asked the peo­ple to jin­gle their keys along with the rhythm and then scream soft­ly at the breath-point.

Boy, were those wom­en ev­er in­to it. And they weren’t in­to any lit­tle soft screams ei­ther, they joined in a full-throated howl when the mo­ment came around each verse. It was in a church, and words just can’t be­gin to de­scribe how won­der­ful it sound­ed, the sparkle of keys fill­ing the air, the gui­tars urg­ing the beat along and Ferron’s voice rid­ing that melody, then the room erupt­ing in a wrench­ing col­lec­tive fem­i­nine scream. I doubt I’ll ev­er hear as in­tense a sound again in my life.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Ama­zon, iTunes, Spo­ti­fy. There’s no de­cent video of Fer­ron on­line, that I can find; so sad.


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From: Tim Walters (Jun 12 2018, at 21:47)

A great singer/songwriter, and an excellent sneaky song choice (although my absolute favorite of hers is probably “As Soon As I Find My Shoes I’m Gone”).

You’re going to pick one by Veda Hille, Vancouver’s finest, right?


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