Grand Hotel by Regina Spektor, from the album Remember Us To Life.
I was driving home from my monthly
Delta Green RPG manly high-stakes poker game when I heard this on A Prairie Home Companion, an NPR radio show. I was immediately smitten by the Joni Mitchell-like delivery, the entirely un-Joni Mitchell vocal quality, the spare piano treatment and the story hiding inside the lyric, which I've come to realize isn't what I first thought it was.
Public radio and television have steered me toward many artists I'd otherwise have never come across, either directly or indirectly. It was on a late-night bread acquisition mission that I first heard Stan Rogers singing Barrett's Privateers, which caused a bout of collecting and listening itself causing me to discover Archie Fischer (Rogers recorded a shortened and livened-up version of Witch of the Westmorelands provoking me to seek out the original on an album called The Man With A Rhyme - which had the original of The Whale, a song I first heard done by Fairport Convention on Five Seasons).
I discovered Paul Brady's beautiful album Spirits Colliding after watching a Britcom on Channel 21 WLIW, and found out he was with The Johnsons and wrote a favorite of theirs I had on a now long-lost Transatlantic sampler album Continental Trailways Bus.
But enough of lucky finds and odd syncronicities!
Grand Hotel and Remember Us To Life are recommended to Joni Mitchell fans and everyone else too.