Song of the Week: “Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves (feat. Esmé Patterson)

I have a soft spot for songs that start out with percussion and hand claps because instantly I’m in the mood to dance. Not only does this song start out that way, but then Shakey Graves and Esmé Patterson bring in the vocals with harmonized “oohs” that effortlessly dip into a jaunty, fun chorus. On top of all this, the opening lyrics talk about haunted houses and ghosts and rattlin’ chains—after one minute of listening, I’m hooked!

I think what I love most about this track, though, is the comraderie and goofiness that both singers share throughout. Some of the lines are spoken in an almost theatrical way. “[Both] When the sun came up and we had no place to hide, [Shakey] You had to tell your friends that all my things were fake. [Esmé] I had to. [Shakey] Hmph!”

Put this song on for a perfect autumnal tune, with the old-timey tones of the guitar and what sound like the familiar voices of longtime friends. In fact, put on the whole album by Shakey Graves called And the War Came (Esmé appears on two other tracks as well). Despite the heavy title, the songs are warm and inviting, perfect for a quiet moment snuggled in front of a fire or for a loud gathering of friends and family. I like this song in particular just because it makes me feel good every time I listen to it.

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