The Simple: The Silos, “Mary’s Getting Married” (1987)

The simple is necessarily deceptive.  To the person who creates an impression of simplicity, nothing is simple.  To the person who reaches for simplicity, it’s charged with complexities of past history, renunciation, and hope.

Consider the rear album cover of The Silos’ Cuba.  A naked guy is playing an electric guitar on a rocky outcrop.  (Let’s say it’s a Tennessee mountain setting, since the first track on the album is “Tennessee Fire”).  This is not a man sprung from the rocks, raised by bears; we know he drove to this “pristine” site and took his clothes off to get into (or at least represent) a punning rock ‘n’ roll attunement with it.  In fact The Silos will play a tastefully simplified rock ‘n’ roll on this album, one of the prototypes for what will later be called alt-country—a hip version of an idiom that drones and twangs to signify the simpler life.

Now consider the song content on the album.  “Mary’s Getting Married” is typical.  It’s about a friend of the singer’s named Mary getting married.  Here’s how the guileless narrative goes:

“Mary’s Getting Married” 1

Mary’s getting married on March 15th
Up in Vermont at her family’s house
Mary’s getting married to her man Jonathan
They’re gonna stand up there, try and speak with great care
Then they’ll lift their heads, holler in the air
I do, I do

At the end of the third verse, “I do!” is really hollered and is marvelously exuberant.  

“Mary’s Getting Married” 2

This was the reason for the stripping down:  partly to make the point that actually getting married is greater than any cute wedding song, but mostly to gain energy in blasting like wind funneled through the narrow gate of just this thing—leaving a lot behind, and maybe coming into a lot.  It’s the simplest sentence in the English language, and the fullest with implications.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.


About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College
This entry was posted in Rock Aesthetics, Words and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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