The Heart of Music

It’s hard to describe what happens to me when I strap on my guitar and strum the first chord of the first song of the first set. Something or someone else takes control, directing every move, every chord change, every word. I’m just the vessel, the transportation; destination unknown.

I think the heart of music is each of us, all of our hearts combined to form many vessels, many forms of transportation, with many unknown destinations. The beauty of all that is we don’t need to understand the heart itself, we just need to feel the body that contains it. But how is that possible?

Make a playlist of 20 or 25 of your favorite songs, then share that with someone, anyone, and ask them to make one and share it with you. I’m convinced that if we do that it just might be possible to feel, to see each other again. And heal ourselves from the hatred and division that has infected us.

Here’s a playlist of 20 of my favorites in no particular order. I know it might be hard for some of you to list only 20, or maybe even two or three, but even if it’s just one song that touches you in a special way, share it here with us in a comment. And then go out and feel the bodies of music all around you.

  1. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (Bob Dylan)
  2. Slither (Mandolin Orange)
  3. Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2 (Father John Misty)
  4. Love is All (The Tallest Man On Earth)
  5. She Lit a Fire (Lord Huron)
  6. Over The Rainbow (Eva Cassidy)
  7. Red Light (The Paper Kites)
  8. Cedar Lane (First Aid Kit)
  9. Blacktop (Julien Baker)
  10. Holocene (Bon Iver)
  11. Tennessee Whiskey (Chris Stapleton)
  12. Hey Hey What Can I Do (Led Zeppelin)
  13. Hotel California (Eagles)
  14. How To Forget (Jason Isbell)
  15. Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
  16. Pink Rabbits (The National)
  17. The House That Built Me (Miranda Lambert)
  18. I Can Almost See You (Hammock)
  19. Am I Going Up (All Them Witches)
  20. Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe)

Matthew 12:25

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

I’m not one to preach, but I was raised in a Christian household and went to church just about every Sunday as a boy. I have since distanced myself from organized religion, but there are certain things happening in today’s world that remind me of biblical predictions my mother used to warn me about.

I posted something on Facebook that started a discussion that showed me just how divided our nation is. I said that I believed President Trump was a racist after I heard about and read his tweets regarding four congresswomen of color. (Click here: Trump’s racist tweets if you want to find out more.) I have never said anything like that before against the Commander in Chief, publicly or privately, to anyone. But this time I felt the need to speak out. At last count, there were 222 comments on my post. (If you go to my Facebook page and scroll down you’ll find the comment.)

Abraham Lincoln used the biblical metaphor in his House Divided Speech in 1858. In it, Mr. Lincoln was concerned with slavery and said: “Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

We all know what happened a couple of years after Lincoln’s speech. Are we heading toward another civil war today? Referring back to biblical predictions my mother used to warn me about, here’s another one, from Matthew 24:6: “”You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”

It’s very hard not to be frightened!