The Magician

Andy Shauf has been active in music since the early 2000s, but I’d say his 2016 album The Party is his most widely-known work.

The singer-songwriter was born in rural Saskatchewan, and settled in Regina. He played all the instruments on The Party, including the clarinet, the trademark sound from today’s selection, “The Magician.” The album sounds rich and full; a true labour of love. I bought it soon after hearing it… the first time was likely in Winnipeg, Canada’s Parlour Coffee, where I used to take a break in the morning when I was still working.

From humble beginnings, Shauf has become so well-known he has been played in the United Kingdom on BBC 6 Music. (I was sure I’d heard today’s song on a recent episode of Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour but wasn’t able to find it. Some of the recent episodes seem to have been corrupted when archived, as the playlists show several songs duplicated or even triplicated so it’s hard to know if something was dropped off the listing in that process. Much as I’d like to re-listen to each show to find out for sure, I won’t be doing that… It may have even been on another program; who knows.)

I think the song is about trying to fool oneself about life’s challenges; becoming numb to them or creating an alternate reality to present to people, instead of admitting hardships, facing them and trying to solve them.

“Do you find
It gets a little easier each time you make it disappear?
Oh fools, the magician bends the rules
As the crowd watches his every move

Just a shaking hand without a concrete plan
Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo

Sidesteps to a death-defying feat
Wait for him to reappear
Look close, you’ll see him sweat the most
Each time his options disappear”

(from “The Magician,” by Andy Shauf)

What do you think?

The video for today’s song has nearly five million views, which says a lot about Shauf’s appeal. At the same time, he still plays smaller-venue shows: While a friend was working a temporary job in Regina some years back, he posted on social media about attending a Shauf concert.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. (And if you enjoyed this post, please click the “like” button or, better yet, leave a comment with your thoughts — I’d love to hear from you!)

This is the official video for the song from the ANTI-Records YouTube channel. Please remember to click on “thumbs-up” on the video if you appreciated the artist’s work. 

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