Only the second time ‘pines’ have featured in A Year In December. Today, I talk about something by The Innocence Mission.

The first half of the song reminds me of a music box. It’s delicate, the way you would wind the box so the tines would ring. The accordion is a surprising touch; I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the accordion before. Along with Karen Peris’ voice and the imagery of the title, it puts the folk in folk music. But no one has ever held a music box in their hands and not tried it at different paces. We turn the crank real slow, sometimes so slow there’s no tune. Or we try to go as fast as possible, creating a ferocious waterfall of notes, like a piano crashing down from the second floor. ‘Shadow Of The Pines’ never threatens to do so, though it does build up enough steam to make you wonder just what one would see, coming out of the shadow of the pines. Will it be wonder or chaos? I may not have played this the most often, but this is one of 2018’s most beautiful songs.

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