The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (The ’59) #294

The ’59 2018 #294: 181021

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 48 – 2006.

The Crane Wife was the fourth album by The Decemberists, released in 2006. It was produced by Tucker Martine and Chris Walla, and is the band’s first album on the Capitol Records label.

It was inspired by a Japanese folk tale, and centres on two song cycles, The Crane Wife and The Island, the latter inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The album cover was designed by the Portland artist Carson Ellis, Colin Meloy’s wife, who has created artwork for each of the band’s albums

The Decemberists – Castaways & Cutouts (The ’59) #273

The ’59 2018 #273: 180930

The Decemberists – Castaways & Cutouts (2002)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Today ends year 44 – 2002. 2003 tomorrow.

Castaways and Cutouts was the first full-length album by The Decemberists, originally released on May 21, 2002, on Hush Records and reissued on May 6, 2003, on Kill Rock Stars. The album’s title is taken from a lyric of the song “California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade” featured on the album and in the YouTube clip below.

The album cover was designed by the Portland artist Carson Ellis, the long-time girlfriend (now wife) of frontman Colin Meloy. She has created artwork for each of the band’s albums.

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (Epic 2017 #052)

The Epic 2017 Project #052: 170221

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)

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The Crane Wife is an old Japanese folktale. While there are many variations of the tale, a common version is that a poor man finds an injured crane on his doorstep and takes it in and nurses it back to health. After he releases the crane, a woman appears at his doorstep with whom he falls in love and marries. Because they need money, his wife offers to weave wondrous clothes out of silk that they can sell at the market, but only if he agrees never to watch her making them. They begin to sell them and live a comfortable life, but he soon makes her weave them more and more. Oblivious to his wife’s declining health, his greed increases. He eventually peeks in to see what she is doing to make the silk she weaves so desirable. He is shocked to discover that at the loom is a crane plucking feathers from her own body and weaving them into the loom. The crane, seeing him, flies away and never returns.

This fourth album, released by The Decemberists in 2006, was inspired by this tale. It centres on two song cycles, The Crane Wife and The Island, the latter inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The album cover was designed by the Portland artist Carson Ellis, Colin Meloy’s wife, who has created artwork for each of the band’s albums. Colin Meloy is the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist.