When one of my best friends, David, told me I needed to listen to a band called The Decemberists last summer, I was in a sufficiently good mood to heed his advice. From my first listen of The King is Dead, I was hooked. And I’m still hooked.

What do you call this music? Nerd Folk Pop? Literate Rock? Regardless, it’s all interesting. Whether lead singer and songwriter, Colin Meloy, is writing and singing about Japanese Folk Tales, Shakespearean dramas or composing whole folk-rock operas, it’s all riveting. And rarely is it not ringed with beauty.

Recently, my wife and I have been listening to the new live album chronicling their last year’s tour. We were too late to the party to see them live, but this is certainly one of those cases where we’re just glad to have arrived.

I would say this is music for all of us who have been spoiled by Masterpiece Theater and Downton Abbey and can no longer enjoy network television programming.

Now, the music…

This first video is just the lead singer, Colin Meloy, singing all three parts of “The Crane Wife.” Based on a Japanese folk tale, it’s 16 minutes of getting lost in wonder.

This second video is them running straight through their latest studio album, The King is Dead. The only album I listened to more last year was Adele’s 21. This is worth an hour of your time.

And this last video is a rough one of “Grace Cathedral Hill.” Rough but awesome. It’s the kind of song you want to enter into, experience all he’s singing about first hand. You don’t know where Grace Cathedral Hill is but you wanna be there.

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