Music is definitely one of my comforts and joys. I love music. And not just one or two genres, but lots of them. Bach’s cello concertos? Divine. Oooo...and those Mozart arrangements that are heavy on the French horn that my Dad got me for Christmas one year. Heavenly. And the old standards...Billie, Ella, Louis, Bing...oh and Frank and Doris and Bobby and and and...lots of great music from that era. I could eat Willie Nelson’s Teatro album with a spoon. And Lyle Lovett is clever and funny and tender too. And Loretta Lynn is a national treasure. And the harmonies of the Indigo Girls. And Alison Kraus. Beautiful. Paul Simon is a god. Oh, and Kacey Musgraves is just classic. And Johnny Cash, genius. And Tom Petty. And Fleetwood Mac. And Pink Martini. And oh, gracious. You don’t need a catalog listing of my cd collection… One of my favorite things, though, is good lyrics. Thoughtful lyrics. Poetry set to sound. I’m a big fan. Not all good musicians are famous and most famous artists were one time struggling to make it. With those two things in mind, I’m going to lift up smaller musicians that you might not have heard of.
First a little shout out to Mr. Steve Everett. He has written some gorgeous words:
What am I more afraid of
To lose or never find love
To bruise or never take a punch at all
Can it be true that I would walk away and try to hide
From one good thing because I can’t decide
To bruise or never take the punch at all. What a perfect analogy for that age-old situation.
I’m gonna go north for the winter
Where they don’t know my name
Run til the temperatures change
North for the winter hoppin’ train to train
And hope that the cold dulls the pain
And strengthens my name
And changes my frame
Oh, I love that...strengthens my name and changes my frame. Pain. Pain changes a person, but that’s not a bad way to be changed.
And then there’s my favorite: JD Eicher. It’s not fair to call him my favorite, I suppose, but he writes a bit like I do and so maybe he just resonates with me more than your typical artist. You know, I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird probably 10 times (I started in 4th grade…) and there are images that she cast that I can almost taste. I don’t know how else to explain it. And they aren’t big grand images. They are simple but powerful. Atticus, dropping his glasses to the pavement as he prepares to shoot the rabid dog, then finishing the act by grinding the broken lens into harmless dust with the heel of his shoe against the pavement. I can’t explain to you why that bit of writing affects me so, but it does. And JD is the master of tidy little images that encapsulate a wealth of detail.
A bumper sticker pickup, pledged allegiance to the war
I want to have written that line.
On finding yourself in the middle of a love that had died, but may still be breathed back into life:
You and I, we were better than friends We’re living like strangers
How could we ever be strangers
I don’t know anything stranger
On what comes next:
I think science and a story aren’t mutually imperfect I doubt life’s a black hole or a sorting of the souls And I know it isn’t popular to talk about these things And I mean to make no sermon - you and I can disagree
On, uh...the complexities of life, and love and redemption.
He held his hand up to her stomach She knew he never saw it coming And she wrestled with the newborn fear that he would leave But he said, “Baby I’m not going It won’t be easy, but we’ll own it I won’t allow myself to father all the same mistakes mine made
I mean, his writing is DENSE. The typical writer would need at least double the words to say half as much. And though these lines are all from his most recent album, there are a wealth of gems on his other ones as well. His music can speak to me in just about any of my moods. I love it.
So, I know that Small Business Saturday has passed. But check out these two artists. You may have never thought about it but musicians are definitely small business owners. And it’s a tough field to make it in! Buy an album or two...and maybe consider booking a house concert. They are TOTALLY fun.