Monday, February 06, 2006

In the Sun

About a month ago, I saw Coldplay on Austin City Limits. Chris Martin delivered a sub-par performance, however, Michael Stipe came in and saved the show with a haunting rendition of Joseph Arthur's "In the Sun." So, I went online, on iTunes, and everywhere else to find the song. Of course, iTunes didn't allow the song to be purchased as a single, forcing me to buy the only album iTunes had with the song included, The 'L' Word. Or, I could go to Amazon and purchase Arthur's Come to Where I'm From album, which includes the song. At this point, I was mad at iTunes, at Joseph Arthur and at Coldplay (simply because Chris Martin is a default scapegoat).

OK. So, in my anger, I download the guitar tablature and learn how to play the song myself. If I can't listen to it, I'll sing it. Then, Coldplay's performance (generous) on ACL showed up in video format on iTunes. Rock on - maybe Stipe's incredible performance is included. Nope. ANGER!
I'd given up hope and resigned to buying Come to Where I'm From, then heard the song on Grey's Anatomy last night. Amazing. Leave it to GA's song choreographers to light the fire under Stipe's cover. I knew song soon would be public - iTunes (and Stipe - a seasoned cross-promoter) couldn't let this go.

Not only did they not let this opportunity go, they were in front of it.

I purchased Stipe's 4-song EP on iTunes this morning. It's amazing. Includes duets with Martin (the version on GA), Arthur and a remix from Justin Timberlake and (don't laugh - it's good). Now, I was still sneering at the orchestrated commercialism of this process, until I found that this was in fact a very impressive launch for Michael Stipe's In the Sun Foundation - a foundation dedicated to the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. Very cool. I enjoy when my cynicism is unwarranted.

So now, I eat crow. What I deemed simple inconvenience to my ears was in fact a brilliant preparation for launching a profound project. The path to a launch doesn't get much bigger than this:

Hurricane Katrina>Austin City Limits appearance with Coldplay>final soundtrack slot on post-Super Bowl Grey's Anatomy>featured iTunes EP.

Brilliant. Since downloading the EP in my pajamas this morning, I've had the EP on repeat. It was worth the wait, not because I can now play the song while strumming away, but because the wait encompassed purpose. And the four dollars I spent prior to knowing where those dollars would go, now are helping a worthy cause.

The world needs more Michael Stipes. And I need a little more confidence in the world.


Anonymous Mike Swenson said...

I will be downloading this tonight. Thanks for doing all the up front work for the rest of us.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Where did you find the tab?


12:16 PM  
Blogger Andrew Woolard said...

Had a couple inquiries regarding where to find "In the Sun" tab. You have to search for Joseph Arthur's version, but the search results work. Try this link -

you can use this progression to cue your bass tab, too.

12:36 PM  

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