This week’s episode (57) of Six Feet Under, The Rainbow of Her Reasons, takes the show into glorious spiritual-quest country as Ruth Fisher and her friends mourn the death of friend and fellow questor, Fiona Lenore Kleinschmidt (1948-2005). This episode makes especially powerful use of Jane Siberry’s miraculous Calling All Angels (hear it) in its soundtrack. All the major female characters on the show including Brenda, Claire, Ruth, Sarah (Patricia Clarkson) and Bettina (Kathy Bates) gather round Fiona’s body in the candle lit prep room. In a séance-like rite, they begin singing Calling All Angels. I’ve got to tell you it made chills run up and down my spine. I was incredibly moved both by the scene and the song.
Click here (Quicktime users) for some video highlights of this week’s episode.
I first heard this song on KCRW shortly after it came out. KCRW DJs, who in those days championed some wonderfully obscure (or is it “obscurely wonderful”?) music, really took a shine to Siberry’s When I Was a Boy (an amazing album) and played the hell out of it on air.
I’ve written a post about the album for my mp3 blog and you can listen to two other songs from the album there.
Today, I had a terribly dispiriting altercation with my next door neighbor and this song was all that prevented me from determining that human beings are basically shits.
The neighbor has torn his home down to its studs and spent four months building himself an essentially new house. So after entire nights of generators blasting 10 feet from our bedroom (workmen forgot to turn it off), tarpaulins flapping loudly all night long in stormy breezes (again 10 feet from our bedroom), deafening floor refinishing equipment, workmen parking in our only on-street parking spot (after repeated requests not to); oh, and did I mention the multiple nights when their burglar alarm went off for hours at a time while they were on vacation?–I thought we’d weathered the worst of it. Until, that is, the contractor returned to paint the exterior of the house. So after five hours of deafening powerwashing equipment on one day and sandblasting equipment the next, today was the final straw when the workmen blasted an outdoor radio 10 feet from my kitchen and bedroom.
Keep in mind that I have 8 month old twins who like to have two naps a day. So I went over to my neighbor’s home expecting that I’d try my best pigdin Spanish to ask the workmen (who seemed like nice enough folks when I’d met them) to turn down the volume. Instead, I met my neighbors exiting their front gate. When I asked them politely (I thought) to turn the music down, the lawyer among them put on his best obstreporous lawyer attidude and pointed out what seemed like 50 reasons that my request was ludicrous. I was about the turn around and walk home, but his barely concealed disdain just set me off.
I turned to him and said: “If you could just manage a little fellow-feeling for the ear-splitting, deafening noise assault that I and my babies suffer every day that this goes on–then I wouldn’t feel as badly as I do.” They came at me both of them like a house afire. Their message was essentially: “Everyone in this neighborhood has had to suffer when someone next door has done construction work. Why do you expect any different treatment?” Then they turned on their heels in a huff and were off in their car to no doubt immensely more important things than my mere trivial problems.
Like I said, real shits. And it made me feel like the rest of humanity wasn’t worth more than these two miserable excuses for human beings. But then I remembered that song from Six Feet Under. My wife luckily came home early from work to prevent me from imploding and I played the song for her. It probably doesn’t mean as much for her as for me since her favorite musical style is classical. But I think I conveyed to her some of the song’s redemptive and healing power for me.
Thank God for music when all else around you seems to turn to shit.
Jamie Leigh says
Hi, my name is Jamie Leigh. I have a website which you’re more than welcome to stop into… I noticed your letter about this last show (awaiting the new one to begin now in nearly a half hour…) and have to say – your words echoed mine… I only wished I could find where I had put my review from last week.
I have a forum, and after this show tonight I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts over at the forum, you’re welcome to come over and we can meet and discuss the show back and forth if you’d like… always looking for someone who can appreciate the writing and depth of this show, and they are mighty hard to come by indeed.
I’ll kee an eye out! Enjoy the SILENCE!
Make your way on over to the forum!
I used to be a Jane Siberry fan in college. Great music.
JAN LAWRENCE says
THIS SONG GOES RIGHT TO MY SOUL. FIRST TIME I HEARD IT WAS ON SIX FEET UNDER. THE EPISODE WITH ALL THE WOMEN SINGING AROUNG THEIR DEAD FRIEND WAS VERY MOVING. I CRIED. I HA DTO SEE IT AGAIN, I HAD TO HEAR THAT SONG AGAIN. IT FEEDS MY SOUL. I FOUND IT ON A GREAT WEBSITE: http://www.andiesisle.com/Calling_All_Angels.html , CHECK IT OUT. I JUST LOVE THAT A SONG AND VOICE CAN MOVE ME THAT MUCH.
Thanks for writing this. I just watched the episode on dvd last night and haven’t been able to get the song out of my head. Now I know who sings it and where to find it–thanks again.
Hope that these 2 years later the awful neighbors have calmed down.
very interstesting that these were all women singing and I wonder what this means