Sunday, October 7, 2012

Music is Playing Inside my Head

Music is Playing Inside my Head

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music."
-Billy Joel

Part of our summer travel plans always include music –favorite road trip CDs, satellite radio tuned to classic vinyl and concerts.  The Rio Grande Railroad from La Veta CO takes you from a station in town by the city park, through the foothills, into the mountains and stops at a remote spot with beautiful views where a small stage area has been constructed for summer performances.  This year the show we chose was Michael Hearne and South by Southwest.  Mike is Darrell’s long time school friend from junior high and high school; they played sports together and played songs together.  While Mike went on to make music his profession, we’ve followed him through the years as he worked mostly out of Red River, Taos, Nashville and Austin.

“Something’s Gotta Give” is a song Michael describes as inspired from a conversation with his son; they were bemoaning the state of pop music currently played on the radio and wishing for the quality of the old classics.  A line from this song caught our attention as it was sung in the mountain top sunshine, “Crosby, Stills and Nash, where have you gone?” A few days down the line, our next music experience was Crosby, Stills and Nash performing at another beautiful concert venue, Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison CO.  This one we attended along with Dave & Tracey McKinney, a cool Colorado couple who enjoys music from our generation and also happen to be parents of our lovely daughter-in-law, Chelsea.

Magical night! This Texas woman was able to climb the many steps up to our seats in the mile high altitude without completely losing my stamina – I did require a few rest stops along the way.  Playing all my old favorites, their harmonies were still tight, the guitar work was still fine and the new songs introduced are still in my mind.  Best moment of the show was David Crosby- shining in the light of stars, moon and spotlight, city of Denver twinkling in the background distance, standing tall, white hair flowing behind him in the cool breeze, belting out, “Almost Cut My Hair”.

Still a spark of political defiance, but a man who seemed softened by the hardness of his years showed up to give a peak performance.  Many remember him for his infamous drug arrest in Dallas.  I recently read Carole King’s autobiography and she remembered driving her young daughters to school in the early 70’s in their LA neighborhood where they would regularly pass a bicycler wearing nothing but shorts, long hair and a purple cape – David Crosby.  My internet research on his life revealed giving up two children for adoption, serving prison time, needing a liver transplant due to his poor lifestyle choices of alcohol and drug abuse, receiving a liver transplant that was generously paid for by musician friends, losing his house to an earthquake, nearly losing his life in an automobile accident and oh yeah, he created and performed a lot of soulful music along the way.

Besides seeing this crazy life rocker as an old man, I also got to witness a peek at perhaps redemption?  During the show, all members of the band were introduced and a talented keyboard player who had also co-written several songs performed that night was named James Redmond.  Crosby explained that this was his son (one of the children who had been given up for adoption) and proclaimed that his own life was so much better now since they had been together.  “Radio” was their co-written song that was performed that night and the words I remember were about putting your hand in the water to pull someone out who is going under.  Crosby said the message was meant to inspire people to just help out another.  I wish that one could be found on I tunes or heard today on the radio…something’s gotta give…where are the good new songs being played today?

From a later conversation with Chelsea, I came to understand that this young man who had been raised in an adoptive family had been redeemed from a possibly horrible childhood of being raised by an unfit father, a drug addict.  The psychological needs we all share for a father figure to provide an image of guidance and wisdom came to him later when tough experiences had time to transform his biological father into a person who could possibly fulfill that role.

So we spent more time in the mountains, staying at our favorite B&B in Carbondale CO (Ambiance Inn), staying with Travis and Chelsea in their beautiful log cabin-house and staying in a historic rental house in Redstone CO that backed up to the Crystal River.  Taking in the sights of the rocks, rivers, trees and wildlife renews your soul just like listening to music and our spirits were filled every day.

Along the return trip to Texas, we stopped in Taos NM to attend the 10th annual Big Barn Dance Music Festival sponsored by our friend, Michael Hearne.  Although traditions for this weekend had been developing a following through the years, this was our first time to attend – previously the dates would not fit our lifestyle due to me following a school calendar but a new retirement allowed me to plan according to a schedule of choice J We arrived in town for the Friday evening performances and had signed up as volunteers for the next morning.  Darrell was assigned security and I was part of the ticket table.

Incredible experience of the senses and emotions!  The unique element of this music festival is the focus on songwriters – the performers sing their own songs (many are recognized as being made famous by other award winning artists such as Dixie Chicks, Toby Keith, and Jimmy Buffett…) and then the musicians join in on other’s sets and jam onstage creating amazing group renditions. A bitter cold front blew in with rough winds, some showers and also some rainbows!  Words cannot express the feelings of the music in those moments and it is small, intimate – you can dance if you want to, you can sing along, you can eat & drink, you can leave to check on your dog & come back in but you don’t want to miss a set! Favorites I remember are Susan Gibson singing her song Wide Open Spaces, Jimmy Stadler singing It’s Past My BeerTime, Keith Sykes singing I’m Sorry, Don C. (long Italian name) singing Other Side, Trout Fishing in America singing Pico de Gallo and Don’t Touch My Stuff, Mike singing with his aunt & uncle Bill & Bonnie Hearne, and then of course the whole group onstage with audience sing along to Mentor Williams’ famous tune, Drift Away:

Day after day I'm more confused
When I look for the light in the pouring rain
I know that's a game that I hate to lose
And I'm feeling the strength
Ain't it a shame
Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
Oh. Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
Beginning to think that I'm wasting time
I don't understand the things I do
The world outside looks so un-kind
I'm countin' on you
To carry me through...OH...
Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
Yeah! Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
When my mind is free
You know a melody can move me
When I'm feeling blue
The guitar is coming through to soothe me...
Thanks for the joy that your giving me
I want you to know I believe in your song
Rhythm and Rhyme and Harmony
You've helped me along
Making me strong....OH!...
Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
OH....Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
OH...Give me the Beat Boys to free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll and drift away
Now, now, now, wont ya
Wont ya take me, oh...take me

So my message is music: triggers memories of special moments in time, provides inspiration to something better, gives us common ground with many others, makes you just feel good.

My second message is redemption:  we all have a chance for it; I hope David Crosby really has it!

Psalm 5:11 Let them sing for joy!

Psalm 130:7 And with Him is abundant redemption.





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