A walk past Ninth and James unleashes memories and visions for composer/singer Mark Lanegan in “Harborview Hospital.” His song is on the recently released album, Blues Funeral.
Lanegan lived for a time on Seattles First Hill, site of the University of Washington-operated hospital. Its hard to say how much of his mystical lyrics arose from his own experiences or the universality of any troubled soul seeking mercy, acceptance and solace.
Lanegans deep-in-the-chest baritone is a rough patch of road. Its the voice of a tough guy fallen on hard times. The song’s persona judges himself harshly: “All around this place, I was a sad disgrace.” What percolates in his mind while stopping outside the hospital lifts and sinks him. Either way is “beautiful and still.”
Formerly a member of “Screaming Trees,” he is the lead singer of the Mark Lanegan Band. He grew up in Ellensburg, Wash., and makes his home in Los Angeles. He is now on a North American performance tour.
View the KEXP video premiere of the 4AD session of “Harborview Hospital.”
Here are the lyrics, copyright Mark Lanegan Band, all rights reserved.