Have you ever heard a song that caught you up short and brought you almost to tears? Boston to St. John --- sung by Great Big Sea, does that to me, no matter how many times I hear it. In fact, when we pass over St. John on the way to Europe and it shows up on the map on the little TV, I get weepy just hearing it in my head. What is it about this romantic, acoustic song accompanied by a pipe and a guitar? Just listen (this one has lyrics posted) - it's a nice thing to end the week with.
I don't think I'll ever get over the wonder of what music has come to mean to me, again. Of course I was a typical teen fan, and then in my college years obsessed with Bob Dylan, the Beatles, The Doors, Cream, anything by Ellie Greenwich, anything from Motown, Linda Ronstadt (especially the Stone Ponies phase) - listen to this primo girl song:
I also loved the great folkies like Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, Joan Baez ( oh - and Peter, Paul and Mary (need I go on?) and Simon and Garfunkel -- among others. Then I went into semi-retirement. I made mix tapes for my kids - Good Day Sunshine, Hippy Hippy Shake, Here Comes the Sun, the Garden Song, Carolina... you name it. And we sang a lot. But the deep, gut-wrenching feeling you get when the music drills right to the center of your soul -- that all came back more recently. And differently. Once, my Deadhead son asked me why I had never gone to one of their concerts. The answer was peculiar, I guess. I heard all my music for free at marches. And peace rallies. Who needed to buy tickets?
The music was, literally, the soundtrack to my life. Every song I hear pulls a movie into my head -- me on a bus to Manhattan for a march, in a boat on Paradise Pond with my boyfriend, dancing like crazy someplace or other. Now, though, the music seems to bring the mood to me, rather than meeting it half way. I can be moved from zero to 60 - solid to weepy - in about one chorus. Maybe it's the passage of time. Maybe it's that I hear far more of it alone. Maybe it's just that much of what I listen to evokes other times in my life. Today, driving home, I had my iPod plugged into the car radio, on random shuffle, and Pete Seeger singing All My Life's a Circle did it. Again.
Of course, anything from the Juno soundtrack just makes me laugh. And lots of Bruce just makes me want to dance. It's not all sad stuff. I guess I should try to figure it out, but I'd rather just think I'm newly available, or RE-newly available, to those feelings. And be grateful for the music that brings them.