As soon as I saw our last Chain Gang entry was a cover of The Band’s ‘The Weight’, one very specific thing came to mind: a Saturday Night Live sketch from 2007 with that week’s host, actor/director/writer Zach Braff. Random I know, but that’s the way my mind works: it picks up small and insignificant things and remembers them. Forever. This is sometimes more of a curse than a blessing, but I digress.
I’d love to be able to link to the sketch, but sadly the people at NBC Universal have yet to upload an official version. I can give you the general gist though: a group of male friends sit in a bar and recount various life stories of a darkly comic nature; all the while, ‘The Weight’ plays in the background, and they periodically join in as a collective on the chorus. As I said, a fairly unmemorable sketch, but it’s stayed with me.
“Now where to go?” you might wonder. Well, when I think of Zach Braff I connect him with one seminal thing: the soundtrack to his 2004 directorial debut, ‘Garden State’ – which still holds up pretty well, especially if you skip track number one that’s by a 2004-and-thus-mildy-less-objectionable-than-modern-day Coldplay. I was fairly green as far as all things Americana goes at the time, but that soundtrack introduced me to some great artists, including the one I’m going to feature here: Iron & Wine.
Sam Beam’s contribution was a cover version of indie-pop band The Postal Services’ track ‘Such Great Heights’. His version is delicate and folky, missing all the beats and loops of the original, and as I think you’ll agree, it’s honestly all the better for it.