‘Keeping Awake,’ The Innocence Mission

The Innocence Mission - Keeping Awake

I remember sleeping on the sleeper sofa in my grandmother’s old rickety house, listening to the sound of people walking on the creaky floor, watching the old propane heater crackle and hearing my grandmother tell my mother all the gossip that had happened over the last few weeks. The voices were only two rooms away, but it was always a comfort hearing them in the background as I drifted off to sleep.

The same thing happens in the Innocence Mission’s “Keeping Awake,” from their phenomenal album Glow.

The music of ‘Keeping Awake’

The musical accompaniment is perfect, beginning with Don Peris’s crystal clear electric guitar playing during the verses, echoing through the song.  Her crystal clear, childlike voice lends to the nostalgia of warm beds, fighting sleep and comfort and security. She explains, “Hearing your voice in the blue light / Calming people in the house.” It’s a feeling of security and curiosity, wanting to stay up and listen before sleep takes over.

The chorus is also warm as Don accompanies Karen on vocals. Drummer Steve Brown brushes the snares deftly but softly so as to not awaken the singer. “Oh, I’m near to sleeping, I am keeping awake,” she sings.

It’s a great opening to an album that doesn’t have a bad song on it. And “Keeping Awake” keeps you interested despite the delightful experiences that it brings back for almost everyone – trying to stay awake and be an adult while your childlike body takes over and takes you off to dreamland. “Keeping Awake” is dreamy and sweet, and it brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. It’s near perfection from a group at their creative peak.

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