I have been around music in one form or another for all of my sixty years. I’ve written before about growing up in a large family that, because of a broken radio in our green Plymouth station wagon, we used to sing in three and four part harmony. That was my introduction to music and I’m so thankful for it.
As a kid, I can remember sitting in front of our record player for hours listening to my sisters’ records. Yes, records made of vinyl. The Everly Brothers; The Chad Mitchell Trio; Harry Belafonte; Peter, Paul and Mary; Duane Eddie, and so many more. Later, I discovered Rock ‘n Roll and fell in love with The Beatles; Bee Gees; Aerosmith; Bob Seger; Bruce Springsteen; Bon Jovi; Tom Petty; Journey; Tom Cochrane; Eagles. Even some of the lesser known, but equally good groups, like Cheap Trick; The BoDeans; Foreigner; and .38 Special.
I listen to country music because of the lyrics and stories, the melodies and harmonies. Seldom do I take a trip without a Kip Moore or Sugarland CD, and a Seger or Springsteen or Petty CD.
When Kim and I lived in California, we went to concerts more so than we do now, and honestly, I miss it. Once upon a time, we saw Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Loggins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Springsteen, James Taylor, and a host of others. On the country side, we saw Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, Martina McBride, Keith Urban, and Tim McGraw.
There is a movie Kim and I and the girls like titled, “Music And Lyrics” with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, and in it, the Hugh Grant character, Alex Fletcher, says something to the effect that – and I’m paraphrasing rather badly – “there is nothing like a pop song to brighten your day and make you smile.” I know it was something like that, and the meaning is the same. I promise!
Kim taped a special a couple of weeks ago and this past Sunday, we watched it. It was James Taylor sharing the stage with Carole King. Songs Kim and I grew together with and dated to. As we watched, both of us hummed or sang along.
It was a show of beauty. Two artists doing what they loved doing. Lyrics that meant something, with melodies and harmonies that lifted and uplifted. From their expressions, they love doing what they do. It was their life and their gift to us. I can’t explain why, but watching and listening to them, there were times I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
There are songs that, when I hear the first couple of notes, the first lyrics, I associate with my kids. Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels” and Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” with my daughter Hannah. Zak Brown’s “Chicken Fried” and Rodney Atkins’ “Watching You” with Emily. Just about anything of Aerosmith with my son, Wil. Eagles’ “Easy Feeling” with Kim.
I hear one of those songs and I picture Em, or Hannah, or Wil, or Kim. I see their face, hear their voice. I picture them thinking. I see them smiling. I see them day dreaming.
There really is Nothing Like A Song.
James Taylor and Carole King sang and told stories. They lifted me . . . us . . . up. Made our spirits soar. A song does that. Nothing Like A Song.
The song doesn’t have to break eardrums. The lyrics don’t have to be screamed.
Taylor and King sang in such a gentle way, like a mom or dad saying, “You can do it! Really, you can!” Like best friends saying, “I’ll be with you, right by your side.” They smiled. At times their eyes were closed. They told stories in between their songs that brought a smile, a laugh.
I realize this is a bit of a departure from what I typically write, and I realize my writing is a bit clumsier than it usually is, but I just wanted to pay a bit of tribute to them. Real artists. Real musicians. Storytellers and Dream weavers. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Thank you for sharing your hopes and your dreams with us. Thank you for sharing your stories of failure and sadness with us. Because in your songs, your stories, you gave up a piece of your heart and shared it with us. Perhaps, showed us what we were thinking and feeling and hoping. Thank you. Something to think about . . .