They Know, You Know and I Know…..
I was speaking to a friend of mine the other day about how so many people tend to mourn musicians, artists, actors, actresses (and I am sure with any vocation the same connection can be made, Military, business, etc.) whom they have never met or had any interaction with. This topic has always intrigued me and today I want to share my thoughts with you on this often debated emotional mystery.
I believe that through music and the arts it is possible for humans to discover deep and inarticulate awareness about their personality, character, values, dreams, wishes, regrets, appreciation, love, addictions, fears, strengths, admiration, etc. The list goes on and on. Through music and art you grow and as you grow through life, music is right there beside you. Well, for most people. So over the course of time many songs and artists can become part of our personal history. They have the possibility of somewhat becoming a permanent part of our soul and DNA. A constant if you will. Music takes us places only we have privy to. Music gently takes up permanent residence in parts of our soul, which no one else can gain access to, it makes our hearts feel deep feelings that only we know and can articulate to ourselves. Music can be a safe haven, a close family member, a friend, a lover, a fantasy, a drinking buddy or a lifetime full of memories. Music can be whatever you want it to be. It is the universe’s largest wormhole – a faithful and reliable time machine. The artist and/or songwriter in question has all of this power in your life so you feel a ‘natural’ connection to them- and when you lose one it can hurt, some more than others and sometimes quite badly.
Recently and over the past two years we continue to lose what seems like an unprecedented number of inspirational and legendary musicians and artists. I realize people die every day who are not in the media and it is just time moving on, yet somehow it feels different. I think we take for granted the strangers who have found their way into our soul and spirit. We feel they will always be here for us to lean on, a constant comfort in our life that will never change and when we lose one, regardless of their age, we feel a little more of our own mortality.
I had no intention of writing this blog today. In fact, there are a dozen other things I should be doing; still I put them aside, for I really wanted to share this. Last night after a long and tiring evening at work, I pulled my truck into my driveway ready to call it a day. Exactly at that moment a song from my early youth that has always carried me away came on the radio. With the very first note it catapulted me back to the early 70’s where endless memories and emotions appeared. All in the matter of seconds it seemed. Over the course of the song it felt like I went through my entire life, yet in the end I returned back to the days of my youth when my dreams burned and music and life as a young boy in America came a lot easier. I have not heard this song in a long time and it felt good, even in a melancholy way. Just being alone for a few minutes with a full moon, a clear sky, the cool night air and the sweet low volume of “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul in my ears made the burdens of my day take the night off.
This morning my Mother, who I share a one of a kind musical relationship with called to inform me that Billy Paul passed away today. There is no doubt his passing will be overshadowed with the recent death of Prince, but given how Prince entertained and touched the world with his endless talent it is completely understandable. Yet, I am sure there are many people who may not have been that familiar with Prince, people who were perhaps touched by ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’ (for example) more than anything that the extraordinarily gifted Prince ever offered them.
For those of us who are really absorbed with music it is a very special and unique part of our energy. Each one of us is touched by as many different songs; artists and forms of music as there are stars in the sky. We are all unique. It is nothing new to those who know me well that I have been known to make my opinions clear on what I consider to be good music and bad music. (a personality and intellectual choice I am not very proud of, but seem to revert to). Today I want to stand up for every career artist. Not just the worldly famous ones, but for every musician, actor, painter, producer, sculptor, etc., who has spent years honing their craft out of the sheer love, dedication and respect to what their spirit calls them to do. Regardless of the price they have had to pay. For every ‘Prince’ and ‘Billy Paul’ who has touched millions of lives, there are thousands of artists who continuously struggle. There are countless artists who are not famous, but who still touch lives in just the same way, just not as many in numbers. It is for them I tip my hat too. No, nobody ever said that the music business is fair, nor life for that matter, but it would be nice to see a little more justice every once in awhile. Well, with that note I think I will retreat to the dimness of my home and my turntable. Until we meet again…
“They know, you know and I know that this is wrong…”
April 25, 2016