High Five

Nick Urata on a few songs that get him choked up

I am not ashamed to admit that DeVotchKa has made me cry in a concert hall. It usually happens when the band performs “You Love Me.” There’s just something overwhelming about the way frontman Nick Urata, his voice wistful but heavy with regret, sings this verse about a former flame:

And, oh my Lord, how you’ve grown

To find me still alone

I am humble

I’m still trying to forget

When you said you loved me

I thought you loved me

It seemed fair, then, to ask Urata, ahead of DeVotchKa’s show at the House of Blues this weekend, to reflect on a few songs that get him choked up.

1. “Between the Bars,” by Elliott Smith and. . .


2. “Hallelujah,” by Jeff Buckley. “I don’t know if it’s the incredible writing or the untouchable performances, but the fact they both died tragically young makes getting all choked up unavoidable.”

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3. “Sunrise, Sunset” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” “I’ve always been a sucker for show tunes. This one has been murdered at weddings and bar mitzvahs for generations, but it kills me every time I try to play it. The father says, ‘I don’t remember growing older/ When did they?’ just as the chords resolve at the end of the verse.”

4. “Violin Concerto,” by Beethoven. “The opening movement has got to be my all-time favorite piece of music. The intro is very slow and deliberate, when suddenly — as if to grab you by the shoulders and say, ‘Wake up, you are not going to be here much longer!’ — the entire orchestra climbs toward the heavens. And just when you think it can’t possibly be any more beautiful, it falls to the minor [key].”


DeVotchKa performs at the House of Blues on Saturday,
7 p.m. Tickets: $27.50. 800-745-3000,