I was driving home from work today and, as I usually do in the car when not listening to a CD, I had NPR on the radio. Afternoons mean All Things Considered, and like every news show that’s been on for the past two weeks, they were pretty much covering Katrina and not much else—though over the last couple days I’ve been relieved to hear them start covering the John Roberts hearings.

Toward the end of the show, they played a story about a song by Eliza Gilkyson called “Requiem.” She wrote it last winter, after the tsunami. I was a little skeptical for many reasons, including the fact that I’d never heard of this woman or any of her music, and I was about to write it off as some unknown folk singer writing an overly-emotional song about something with which she had had no experience or understanding. Naturally, they were doing the story on the song because of the rather apropos connection between what happened there last year and what happened on our own Gulf Coast this month. I wasn’t expecting much, but then something amazing happened.

They started playing the song. And God, was it ever beautiful.

It isn’t much—just a piano, guitar, cello and two voices (Gilkyson’s and her daughter’s). But this song just… grabbed me. It’s quite hymnlike, and while its lyrics are slightly overwrought, it’s got this amazing quality to it. I think that ultimately, its simplicity is what draws me in: the song is just two people singing, in what I instantly recognized as that mode that I get into when I’m singing in a church. It’s that feeling you get where you just feel like the music you’re making is going directly out the roof of the church and right to where it needs to go, if you get what I’m getting at.

I just couldn’t stop playing it. I highly suggest you give it a listen at the NPR site. If you like it, it can be bought at the iTunes Music Store.