Marian recently posted a fascinating survey regarding the music we’ve listened to in the last ten years. Considering how much I listen to music — constantly, unless I’m at work, sleeping, or reading — it was a tough exercise to follow!
“A Glorious Dawn”, melodysheep
The wonder that is melodysheep shared a….Carl Sagan remix in late 2009, and while I’m not sure when I first listened to it, I was early to the party and have cherished every single thing melodysheep has released since then — even beyond his Symphony of Science videos, which feature many scientists…even Stephen Hawking. Melodysheep’s tribute to Robin Williams is a must-listen if you’re even the slightest fan of Robin.
“Set Ourselves Free”, The Wild.
This is more of a “The Wild” entry. To be honest, I can’t recall the exact year I encountered them, but 2011 feels about the right time. The Wild are a…folk punk band, if that makes any sense at all, and in 2011 I was transitioning from from college leftist to…whatever I am now. I still listen to The Wild even now, whereas if I listen to Evan Greer, it’s in the same mood that I might listen to mass choirs from my Pentecostal days — a reflective visit to the past.
“Farewell to you, my chicks, soon you must fly alone
Flesh of my flesh, my future life, bone of my bone
May your wings be strong may your days be long safe be your journey
Each of you bears inside of you the gift of love
May it bring you light and warmth and the pleasure of giving
Eagerly savour each new day and the taste of its mouth
Never lose sight of the thrill and the joy of living.”
Bobby Horton’s Civil War and 19th century music albums introduced me to folk music, but after college I began exploring the British-American musical tradition in full. Ewan MacColl’s “The Joy of Living” is a more contemporary piece, but it speaks to me. It’s about a dying man who bids all that he loves — the mountains, his wife, his children — farewell.
“For an Old Kentucky Anarchist”, which…it’s hard to explain why I like this song so much. It’s a story in music that touches on a lot of what I cherish.
“All I got’s my stories and this old guitar
My crops have all come and gone away
I got a head full of recipes enticin’ to the taste
And a likin’ to wake up and greet the day!
Got a bad back from raisin’ my children
From huggin’ my husband so tight
Hell, I never cared much for any government
I got my Jesus when I feel the time was right
Singing, I’m the richest I’ll ever be
I embrace the world I have around me
So sing a dyin’ song and slap your knee,
Have a taste of true anarchy!”
“On the Rebound”, Floyd Cramer
In 2014, I bought An Education and watched it for the first time. It opens with this unforgettable piece, which introduced me to Cramer’s piano work in general. An Education brimmed over with outstanding music; three other pieces I continually re-listen to are “A Sunday Kind of Love“, “Wrapped Around Your Little Finger“, and “I’m Comin’ Home, Baby“.
“20th Century Man”, The Kinks
I was born in a welfare state / ruled by bureaucracy
Controlled by civil servants / and people dressed in grey
Got no privacy / Got no liberty / coz’ the 20th century people
Took it all away from me
“You don’t need no teeth for kissin’ gals or smokin’ cheap cigars!”
My former sociology professor, knowing of my affection for Ed Abbey’s nonfiction, introduced me to Russell’s “Ballad of Ed Abbey“, and Russell quickly became one of my favorite still-living artists. “Tonight We Ride” and “Stealing Electricity” are my favorites.
“The Hippies and the Cowboys” , Cody Jinks
Yeah, the yuppies and the hipsters and the wannabe scene
That ain’t down home with me —
I like $2 beers, I like $3 wells,
And some ol’ honky tonk bar I know by the smell
Some ol’ drunk on a bar stool on a Merle Haggard tune,
That’s my kind of room
I grew up on country music but stopped paying attention to new music somewhere in the 2000s, favoring instead ever-earlier artists like Merle Haggard and George Jones. Cody Jinks made me realize there’s still guys out there whose country comes from the heart and has nothing to do with the dreck on the pop charts. Jinks made me discover guys like Chris Stapleton, Aaron Lewis, and a few more.
Whenever I introduce someone to Chloe Feoranzano, I use this piece because it’s her most technically challenging — I think. I’ve never played a woodwind so I have no real idea, but it sounds complex. I love love love Chloe’s style.
Have you been introduced to Alma Deutscher? There she is, above, playing a piece she created to set Goethe’s “Nähe des Geliebten” to music — and singing it. She was composing operas at age seven.
The finale from her opera, Cinderella.
I have probably listened to “May I Stand Unshaken” a hundred times since April.
Am I to wander as a wayward son? Will the hunter be hunted by the smoking gun?
The piece plays during a pivotal moment of Red Dead Redemption 2, in which the main character has survived exile following a catastrophic mission gone bad, in which several of his friends died. Long struggling with his conscience, the ride to this music marks the moment in which Arthur starts to follow his convictions instead of the bidding of his increasingly erratic father-substitute, Dutch.