Politics & SocietyShort Take
Eric T. Styles
The prospect of a new life for this hymn heard in churches and assemblies across the country at once causes me discomfort and piques my interest. What can this song mean for a nation in peril?
Mary Lou Williams, third from left, with friends in her New York apartment (photo: Alamy).
Arts & CultureMusic
Michael Scott Alexander
Williams came to write “Mary Lou’s Mass” to capture her feeling of suffering—and its apotheosis.
Arts & CultureBooks
Joe Pagetta
Aaron J. Leonard’s new book draws from almost 10,000 pages of F.B.I. files on an array of folk artists. It aims to illustrate the considerable impact that the U.S. government’s campaign against Communism had on folk artists in the 1940s and early ’50s.
Joni Mitchell strums guitar outside the The Revolution Club, London, England, Sept. 17, 1968 (Alamy).
Arts & CultureMusic
Rob Weinert-Kendt
Like a master painter’s sketchbooks, “Archives” is uniquely revealing of the roots of Joni Mitchell’s distinctive voice both as a singer and a writer.
Arts & CultureFilm
Deniz Demirer
An austere film about a drummer going deaf finds revelation in the quiet moments.
FaithFaith in Focus
Christian Lingner
As is so often the case with old songs, the middle verses bear the greater load of meaningful content (and are also, incidentally, the first forgotten.)