Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Original Album: Bar 17 (2006)
Albums: Bar 17
Historian: Tim Wade (TheEmu)
Last Update: 2015-06-17
In his 2006 review of Trey Anastasio’s Bar 17, Jesse Jarnow called “Empty House,” “Gloomy Sky,” and “Shadow” the album’s “sad sack” trilogy. But while the titles and lyrics are melancholy, the music is decidedly not, and the resulting songs are more complex than one might think.
In the case of “Gloomy Sky,” words paint a gray picture. “The rain keeps falling,” Trey sings, expressing regret for inscrutable actions. But the melancholy images are paired with a gauzy composition that turns chilly fall drizzle into a warm spring soak. Rain streaks and beads on a window, courtesy of strings and piano, and the thunder of percussion rolls gently in the background. This isn’t an oppressive storm, it’s a refreshing shower which washes away mistakes and gives the song an aura of hope.
Ostensibly, “Gloomy Sky” debuted on 4/27/05, a year and a half before the release of Bar 17, but no recordings of this show circulate. It’s interesting to imagine how a song that so prominently features the string section would sound coming from the 70 Volt Parade lineup. Unfortunately, “Gloomy Sky” has not seen a second live performance, so imagination will have to suffice.