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Monday, April 25, 2011

Saskia Hamilton/Ben Folds & Nick Hornby

For the 2010 album Lonely Avenue, Ben Folds collaborated with author Nick Hornby, whose books include High Fidelity (1995), About a Boy (1998), and most recently Juliet, Naked (2009). Hornby provided the lyrics, Folds supplied the melodies and recorded the songs. "Each track is a story," Time Magazine wrote of the album. "And in every story, there's something relatable. In fact, the album almost comes across as a short-story collection put to music. Perhaps this is the benefit of asking a novelist to co-write the songs."

One of the tracks on the album is called Saskia Hamilton, named for the poet whose collections include As for Dream (2001), Canal, and Divide These (both 2005). She also edited The Letters of Robert Lowell.The song is less about Hamilton herself, however, and more about her name. (I've only ever seen her name on the spine but that's enough. I want to make her mine!) "One night I just found myself thinking about what a fantastic name she has for her line of work," Hornby wrote in the liner notes. "The song's narrator is a teenage poetry nerd. There are some, still."

One final note: The album's name was inspired by Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus, Alex Halberstadt's 2008 biography of the blues musician. There's a song called Doc Pomus, inspired by the book, on the album.

High Fidelity (Kindle Edition)

About a Boy (Kindle Edition)

Juliet, Naked (Kindle Edition)

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