True Blood: Beautifully Broken With Shelby Lynne
Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.
Season 3, Episode 2: "Beautifully Broken"
Season 3 of True Blood is living up to its own hype fairly well, and even though Gothtopia had some deep misgivings about the music when we saw the episode titles list for this season, thus far, we have nothing to complain about.
Max Crace via Wikipedia Shelby Lynne at Antone's, Austin, April 2008
Reduced down to almost its lowest common denominator, True Blood is about relationships. You'll find the books filed under paranormal romance in many stores. And though the first episode set us up to contemplate the dangers of relationships, and whether or not we are tainted by them, Episode 2 ("Beautifully Broken"), addresses the other side pf that equation.
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) continues to hunt for her missing fiancé Vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer). In doing so, she is incurring the wrath of a sect of secretive Nazi werewolves. (Aside: This episode features a pop-culture cameo by having an appearance by a werewolf woman of the SS. Make the movie, Zombie, and don't argue. End aside.)
In other news, Tara (Rutina Wesley) almost commits suicide, but is saved by her cousin Lafayette (Alfre Woodard), who takes her to visit her mother in an insane asylum for a bit of shock therapy.
Nothing sums up what is going on better than the song this week, "I'm Alive" by Alabama-born alt-country artist Shelby Lynne, who visited Warehouse Live last month behind new album Tears, Lies & Alibis. Lynne's been be-boppin' around the world of music for many years now putting out all kinds of good country music. Her 2003 album Identity Crisis was not a smashing commercial success, but made many critics best-of lists that year.
That album features "I'm Alive," an extremely dark ballad defiantly proclaiming the singer's continued earthly existence, but making it quite clear that that existence is due only to the person she loves. Without him, Lynne sings, she'd just lie down on the railroad tracks and let the steel wheels cut through her bones.
None, and we mean NONE, of the characters in True Blood, whatever their gifts or strengths, are strong enough to save themselves by themselves. Though there may be inherent curses, prices and other hazards in the bonds that they have formed, without those bonds they will all be eaten alive.
And now for a bonus! Snoop Dogg has been a very vocal fan of True Blood since the show's beginning, and has begged Alan Ball to let him cameo as a vampire. Well, that hasn't happened yet, but Ball was kind enough to let Snoop use Warner Bros.' back lot and the Merlotte's set to record a video for his tribute to the series, "Oh Sookie" That's right, Snoop Dogg wrote a song about True Blood, and oh my stars and garters it is something to behold.
Be sure to visit the Loving True Blood in Dallas blog, where Jef With One F will be a semi-regular contributor to the podcast this season.