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Places Have Feelings, Too

Tom Brosseau understands the sentimental pull of places -- the way a building or a town can come to life in memories as vividly as loved ones do. He often sings about home as more than a bricks-and-mortar construct: It lives, breathes, feels, and dies.

Brosseau's fascination with location has never sounded more lovingly intimate than it does on his hushed, languid lament "Everybody Knows Empty Houses Are Lonely." Backed by minimal instrumentation and a few lovely vocal harmonies, Brosseau slowly and subtly describes the way abandonment and neglect can suck the joy out of a once-vibrant place: "The vines climb the trellis outside / Once like the top of an apple pie / Up and over, real tight / Under and through."

Available on Empty Houses Are Lonely, a collection of Brosseau's early recordings, "Everybody Knows Empty Houses Are Lonely" sets its scene efficiently, relying on tiny slivers of detail to hammer home the titular message. Understandably a favorite of Jeff Buckley fetishists, Brosseau combines Buckley's swoony delicacy with Nick Drake's restraint, in the service of a singular songwriting voice.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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