This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. I was casting around YouTube to try to find an orchestral version of one of my favorite melodies, the haunting folk song Shenandoah. I couldn't find it, of course. Instead there were some awful versions by high school bands, and innumerable overblown abuses by (mostly) opera singers trying to make it sound Dramatic, Rich and Bold.
This just somehow came to me, sung by one Randy Granger, someone I'd never heard of. He has one album out which is mostly Native American flute music. After hearing this, I wish he would play flute less, sing more.
I can't describe his voice, and describing it at all would be desecration, but I must try. It has a warmth and a complexity, a richness of shivering overtones, and that incredible, nearly impossible stone-skipping (I can't think of the technical term, but it's those tiny, rapid steps up and down between tones - somewhere between a trill and a yodel - can you hear it?). But it's the tenderness, the longing and the caressing of the deceptively simple lyric that I love the most.
I may never find that passionate, roiling orchestral version that caught me up like a dangerous current all those years ago. Instead I found this. A human voice displayed naked, so that every nuance is exposed.