Take a stroll around this blog and you’ll probably notice something very quickly. I like music. No but like…a lot. No matter how bad a day or a mood, music can turn it around. I’m writing this at 8:30 in the morning and I’m sitting in a bean bag chair across from my Crosley Musician listening to Benny Goodman and all is well. I take my iPod to work and walk around with it in my back pocket playing tobyMac or Stars Go Dim or Walk the Moon or Jess Glynne or whatever I’m in the mood for. And if I’m not listening to someone else’s music, I play my own. What I usually tell people, is that I’ve been writing songs since the 6th grade. I’ve been writing GOOD songs since the 9th grade. (I once wrote an ode to my retainer in the 6th grade…so I had nowhere to go but up.) Anyway, what I’m trying to say, is this: I like music.
But I’m not sure it feels the same way.
For the past, I don’t know how long, when I pick up my guitar (which has been rare) it feels like trying to spark up a conversation with a stranger. I want to talk about love and soul. He wants to talk about the same things we have always talked about. I want to go to new places. He’s happy where we are. Its been weird for me. I’ve tried playing around. I’ve beaten on a piano and strummed away at the ukulele. But it just isn’t coming back. My main problem with all of it, is that it sounds the same. And that same sounds like the same thing everyone else’s songs sound like. I’m tired of all of our music sounding the same.
A lot of people who are going to read this are learning for the first time that my guitar and I have separated. Its going to be a relief for some who thought they’d done something or that I was slipping down a dark and horrid path. Its going to be scary for others who know what its like to have someone/something that helps you cope with every situation life throws at you and then you lose that.
But I would like to share with you the two songs that I listen to that make me never want to give up on anything, especially music. The first one is “The Sound of A Million Dreams” by David Nail.
I first discovered this song when working at a country radio station. Everything about this song sets me on fire. Its the perfect example of why I think the piano is even more versatile than the guitar or most any other instrument. And when played by the right person, by itself, can move you to tears. And the lyrics. Oh these lyrics. They perfectly capture what I love about music and why I love writing music. My favorite quote ever, is from Hans Christian Andersen. “When words fail music speaks.” This song speaks loudly.
The second song is by one of my favorite lyricists. Ben Rector. Its from his latest album “Brand New” and the name of the song is “The Men that Drive Me Places”.
What I love about this song is its power. It had the power of storytelling from the writer. It was personal and impactful for Rector and he was able to make that come across in his writing. And the power that it has on the listener is undeniable. If you REALLY listen to these words, you can’t help but be impacted by what he has to say. And that is one of the greatest things about music. And that is one of the biggest reasons I’ve left my guitar out through all of this. And that is one of the biggest reasons I stare at it, and I pick it up, and I keep trying. Because music has power that nothing else does. Its stronger than many things and weaker than others. But it never dies.
And maybe I want to write something new, and maybe right now I can’t find it, but one day it will come…and when it does, that guitar in the corner is going to be a awkward stranger. Its going to be the long lost friend you haven’t seen in years who still knows more about you than you know about yourself. And you’re going to say, “Hey. Lets write something nobody has ever heard before. And lets make it…” and as you search for the right word, that friend smiles and says, “make it sound like this?” And suddenly…Stellas got her groove back.
But until I’m playing again, until I remember how to play and write, I’ll keep listening. So play it again Mr. Goodman, I’ll have another cup of coffee, and keep smiling at that six-stringed stranger in the corner.
Long live the music.