2000: Stressed? Who's Stressed?
2001: at the Drive-In
2002: Pride Goeth Before the Fall
2004: Ok, Well Maybe One More
2005: My New Role
2006: An Appointment with Death
2007: From L-empress
IN MY OPINION
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TO JOHN DENVER
8 June 2008
John Denver music makes me cry, sometimes, for all sorts of reasons.
I have quite a lot of it on my iPod, so I decided to have a John Denver day driving to and from my mother's yesterday. I went through 70 songs (not all of which I played -- I skipped the Christmas album, for example), and didn't begin to make a dent in the collection I have!
There is one song that I swear he wrote because someone dared him to write a song that featured only eight words: joy, sorrow, promise, pain, life, being, feeling, and love. And he did. You can read the lyrics here. But it's the arrangement that gets me every time.
It starts with Denver singing solo, then he's joined by a few children's voices, than a larger choir of women's voices, and finally full mixed choir that just fills your soul with music; then the groups begin dropping away so that you are left with only Denver's voice at the end.
Magnificent. Whoever arranged it deserves a gold star.
Another song that affected me very emotionally was one particular recording of "The Flower that Shattered the Stone." It's a lovely song in its own right, which I had never heard before Peggy introduced it to me back in 2000. I instantly liked it and continue to like it. But then I came across this particular recording made with a Japanese artist, Kosetsu Minami, who was, like Denver, an environmentalist. He was, for a time, known in Japan as the "Japanese John Denver."
They sang this song together at a conference about the pollution of bodies of fresh water in the world. The very first time I heard it, I was in the car, and when, in the middle of the song with which I was already very familiar, John Denver dropped out and this Japanese man began singing in Japanese, it was a jolt and I didn't know how I liked it (I accept "change" reluctantly!) but when they sang together, both in English and in Japanese, their voices blended so beautifully that it made me cry.
I often cry when music is so beautiful it touches my soul.
There is a country song called "Dance, Little Jean" (lyrics here) about a jaded musician playing yet another wedding
Then a little girl dances by and the band learns that this is the wedding of her parents
and ultimately the band stays to play for free so that Little Jean can have a memorable day. Silly song (no the dog doesn't die and the truck doesn't break down), but it just struck me, the vision of this happy little girl because her Momma and her Daddy were finally getting married.
(Remember, I'm the person who cries at supermarket openings and Hallmark card commercials!)
There's a song called "Autograph" (lyrics here) which just sounds like the perfect background music to a film of Denver's experimental plane flying off into the sunset, on the flight that killed him. It just seems like his goodbye to the world. Tears well up.
But there were two songs that hit me very strongly yesterday. The first was "I Want to Live." (lyrics here) and the second was "And You Say that the Battle is Over" (lyrics here). Both are environmental-themed songs about the destruction of the environment, the plight of children in Third World and war-torn countries, the slaughter of whales, dolphins and other living beings.
As I listened to the two songs, I was driving through a peaceful countryside, looking at the cows grazing on the hills rising above a Jack-in-the-Box and suddenly I didn't want to eat food that once had a heartbeat (it was a passing feeling, but it was very strong for awhile there!). I cried for the magnificent whales being slaughtered, for the elephants slaughtered for ivory, leaving behind traumatized babies, for the children in war-torn countries whose parents are killed, whose limbs are blown off, or who lie dead among the rubble of a bombed-out building.
I don't know why. I guess it was an emotional day for me.
Obviously I should never listen to John
Denver when I'm feeing emotional!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 49 miles