Imitations of Immortality
We all need heroes from time to time. Today, I think my hero will be Tara Key (and her husband/band mate Tim Harris). Key and Harris have been through a lot in recent years. They’ve lost parents, seen long-time friends pass on and were displaced for months after a fire tore through the building next to theirs. Key told the Chicago Reader’s Peter Margasak that these were just “your garden variety adult redefinitions.” Tara Key is my hero today because I’ve been going through some emotionally tough times. I’m getting up there in years and I’m encouraged that someone a bit older than me can shrug off all these “redefinitions” and produce stellar art.
Tara Key remains a ferocious, if underrated guitarist. You can hear her guitar howl on songs like “I’m So Tired”, which is about just putting one foot in front of the other and getting on with things, despite the frustrations life throws at you. Friends can help you get through the tough times. “Jefferson” is brightened by honkytonk piano played by Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo). Cheryl Kingan and Steven Levi from The Scene is Now pop up on trumpet and sax from time to time and Sue Garner (Run On) adds some lovely vocals. Antietam are part of a long established community that help Imitations of Immortality be more than songs about pushing through obstacles. The album’s opening track “Sunshine” is about the simple pleasure of getting out on a sunny day. “Birdwatching” is a great horn driven track celebrating the titular past time. The album closes with another instrumental, “And Then”. It’s a quiet track with muted trumpet playing off Key’s single note leads. It’s a reflective and hopeful way to end the record.
Just to make Imitations of Immortality a bit more attractive to purchase in a physical form, the CD box set comes with 12 prints of original paintings by Tara Key. There is a painting corresponding to each of the songs on the album. Who says you can only be good at one thing?