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)

Nothing to say

Well, maybe I have a little something to say. After all, spring has sprung here in our neck of the woods and although it might not feel like it just yet, I know warmer weather is just around the corner!

These northeast winters didn’t used to bother me as much when I was in my 30s and 40s. But when I hit 50 the cold and snow began a vicious attack on my well being, physically and mentally. I’ve mentioned selling the farm (i.e. six acres) and moving to a warmer clime, but it hasn’t went over very well, yet.

I used to think moving back home to Kentucky would be nice. But Old Man Winter visits that state too, and I’m beginning to think that in order to get out of his reach I’ll have to relocate further south, much further south.

I still call Kentucky home, but I’ve actually lived here in Pennsylvania longer. I guess it must have something to do with the state you were born in rather than the length of time you lived there. Pennsylvania has never felt like home to me because it’s not where I was rooted.

Folks will often combine the two states and it becomes Pennsyltucky. I cringe when I hear it. The only thing the two states have in common is they’re both commonwealths. Maybe one other thing – pretty countryside, in places. I think Kentucky’s hills have more of a pronounced “roll” to them, whereas Pennsylvania’s are higher and steeper.

I haven’t read Thomas Wolfe’s novel You Can’t Go Home Again but I probably won’t let what that title means convince me that it’s true. I’ll return to my past in Kentucky one of these days and we’ll have a long talk about the rest of my future.

Here’s an old Kentucky photo of my father and his band. That’s him on the left, standing with his guitar.