I remember seeing a variation of this quote (incidentally - attributed to Berthold Auerbach) on the mixing desk of producer Mike Plotnikoff.
and how true the saying...
Music more than anything else provides the themes and memories..the very threads that define my life. I have loved music, and more precisely songs my entire life.
I always dreamed of being a singer, but unfortunately a fear of singing in public put paid to that dream in my teens and early adult life.
Thank god I dropped that fear! (As my friends and family will attest I now sing almost constantly!)
As an author and spiritual life coach words play such a huge role in my life, and I think that my 'art'; my gift to the world has been and continues to be an ability to elucidate some concepts to those receptive to my style and thereby help people to improve their lives. A small grace for which I am proud and honoured.
But lyrics! Oh lyrics! Those words married to poignant moments, crescendos and tones of a beautiful melody are indeed something special. To hear meaningful words, sung...REALLY sung can make the heart soar, or the heart melt. Nothing can quite describe the feeling of how a beautiful song can affect us so deeply.
And so music; that brush that sweeps away the dust from the soul has been there for me, like it has for, in the times when life was great, when life was hard and when it seemed as if we couldn't go on (and yet we did for we are still here...)
I was sitting on my couch listening to one of my favourite albums: "Drunkard's Prayer" by Over The Rhine, and began reminiscing about some of the albums, artists and songs that have provided the solace of sadness and the soundtracks of joyous moments in my life...
Here are just a few of the musical bookmarks that have punctuated my life...
Blind Melon - Blind Melon
1993 - This album may have been the first that I loved. Not just liked...but absolutely, totally fell head over heels in love with...
It wasn't love at first sound though. My buddy Andrew introduced me to it and at first I thought quite frankly that it was crap. Hey REALLY dug it though...and after a few plays through I began to first appreciate, then groove to and eventually become completely addicted to. It is only due to the financial strappings of a young teenager that I don't have the opening verse of "I Wonder" tattooed down my forearm...
Fiona Apple - Tidal
1998 - We were sitting around as a family. My Mum had passed away in my arms only a day earlier. A good friend of mine came around to my family home with a tape she had recorded for me. It was Fiona Apple's 'Tidal'.
I loved Fiona Apples voice, and the mix of sadness and fight encapsulated within her songs became a blanket that I could wrap myself with in my time of loss. (Thank you Tulsi - you may not even remember that - but I'll never forget.)
Mercury Rev - Deserters Songs
1999 - I was in business at the age of 19. I was making a lot of money and spending it with abandon. Still probably not ready to deal with the death of Mum properly - and in business with a self confessed lunatic - this hazy, psychedelic album (which seemed to be on constant rotation in our shop) strangely encapsulated the weirdness that was my first few years in business and post-college 'adult-hood'.
Rest now Andy mate. I'm so glad we came to peace and now your soul has been released.
Jay-Z - The Blue Print
2004-2005 - One of my favourite albums...along with the rest of Jay-Z's back catalogue provided the soundtrack for the boldness and brashness of this period of life. The world was at my feet, my practice was thriving, I was a business man turning into a business...man! (Thanks must go to my Samoan Lawyer Simon for encouraging my Hip-Hop addiction!)
Over the Rhine - Drunkard's Prayer
2007 - It had been a tough break up. The toughest in fact....
Again I was given a gift of music by a good friend (thank you Shelley) of a great album...an album that became the soundtrack...and the solace through that particular time.
[Cryptic reference to 'Keep the Pain Alive' perhaps?] ;)
30 Seconds to Mars - A Beautiful Lie
2008 - Ahhhh Vancouver! One of the few albums on regular rotation after I had moved to Vancouver, BC. One of my enduring memories is of trudging through snow up West Broadway on many, many mornings listening to this phenomenal album.
Like A Storm - 'Galaxy'
2009 - This song would have held a special place in my heart in any respect. I was living with the band when they received news that their Grandmother had passed away and listened from my room whilst the musical eulogy that would become the amazing song 'Galaxy' came together in basically a single night in order to be ready for the funeral.
Skip forward a year and I am on a plane heading home to New Zealand to attend the funeral of my uncle Dexter, who was like a father to my dad, and a grandfather to me. Listening to my iPod 'Galaxy' came on and I was just floored. I had heard the song in it's inception, I had loved the song before, but now it just brought everything together in only the way great music can. To this day I still listen to 'Galaxy' when I miss my uncle Dex.
You're missed every day Dex. I still stand in the shadow of a great man...
Thanks to my brothers Kent, Chris and Matt for blessing us with this song. Aroha nui boys.
Econoline Crush - 'Razorblades and Bandaides'
2010 - I must admit I didn't know this song until I went on tour with Like A Storm and we supported Econoline on their Western Canada tour. I dug this song and it went into constant rotation post-tour. Still dig it and still listening. Reminds me of those great times with my brothers every time I hear it...
Rihanna - 'Only Girl in the World' & Katy Perry - 'Firework'
Yep - I kid you not....What can I say...I'm in an upbeat mood!
As embarrassing as that might be these tracks can't help but remind me of some of the old days back in the late '90s when we used to get all dressed up and go out to Uplifting Trance gigs (anyone remember 'Just Another Day'?). The build ups, a beat drops and you just want to throw your arms in the air...
I'm sure I'll get over it - but for now I'm gonna dig these two as well!
[And I know that some of you Rockers out there are equally guilty of being former closet ravers!]
What are some of the tracks that helped you to sweep aside the dust of life?