TS10

TS10: Another Mother’s Son

I don’t know Phil Cook, but I wish I did. Considering everything I’ve heard from and of him, he seems like a good dude. I caught the last half of his performance at Eaux Claires this year, and I couldn’t help but smile. I guess that makes sense when the guy has an album entitled People Are My Drug. That may sound like a nice catchy name, but I think it’s likely a reliable indicator of the kind of guy Cook is.

One of the songs from that album is featured on this week’s TS10. It’s called Another Mother’s Son. I read a little about that song on Cook’s website and it immediately resonated with me. If you read my post, Every Son Is My Son, about the slaying of young Jordan Edwards, you would know why. Cook’s song is a heartbreaking (and perhaps a little defiant) anthem proclaiming the value of every mother’s son and highlighting the tragedy of black lives senselessly cut short by a police officer’s gun.

As you listen to this week’s TS10, I invite you to feel deeply. There’s a lot here. I love the premise of Naked GiantsEverybody Thinks They Know… Damn, it sure feels like that sometimes, and I wish we could all admit that, mostly, we don’t “really know.” You have the raw emotion of serpentwithfeet’s invoice, along with two exciting new songs from Matthew Perryman Jones and Big Red Machine respectively.

However, I would invite you to engage especially with the content and feel of Cook’s Another Mother’s Son. Go deep and let yourself feel through the tragic truth there. To help that process, here are the lyrics to the song:

Did you know?

That the moment I first held you in my arms

I held you close and felt your beating heart

Like a hummingbird’s wings

Did you know, son?

There’s a prayer that I offer to the moon

Watching sleep slowly wrap you in its womb

Like a hummingbird’s wings

Heaven keep him safe

May he always find his way

He didn’t make it

He didn’t make it home, it’s like she always feared

Will we whitewash our fences with her tears

Like we always do?

Will we find it?

Will we find another way to empathize?

Will we open up and see it eye to eye

Or will we all run away?

And another one is gone

Another mother’s son is gone away

Police man let his pistol free

Poet ran to write a eulogy

Po’ Mama, all her cries are drowned by sirens

Rifle man calls it liberty

Preacher trusts the Trinity

But only Mama, she holds all that silence

You can find it

You can find it anywhere their laughter lives

Ain’t it sacred as a prayer on your lips

Say no more, say no more

Another one is gone

Another mother’s son is gone away

Police man let his pistol free

Poet ran to write a eulogy

Po’ Mama, all her cries are drowned by sirens

Rifle man calls it liberty

Preacher trusts the Trinity

But only Mama, she holds all that…

SILENCE!    

SILENCE!

SILENCE!

SILENCE!

No more silence! (Everybody)

No more silence! (Everybody)

No more fathers! (Everybody)

No more mothers! (Everybody)

No more daughters! (Everybody)

No more sons! (Everybody)

No more sisters! (Everybody)

No more brothers! (Everybody)

No more daughters! (Everybody)

No more sons! (Everybody)

Anymore!  (No more bodies)

Anymore! (No more bodies)

Never anymore! (No more bodies)

No more bodies

No more bodies

No more bodies

No more bodies

No more bodies

 

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TS10

TS10: Finding “Fault” With Insecurity

Above image is a photo of Autumn Hefferan’s original painting, “Fault”

I almost did it. I almost decided not to add a certain track to this playlist because of how I thought it might be perceived by others. As I was sampling potentials for this week’s TS10, I came across Seal’s Prayer for the Dying. It’s a beautiful song from Seal’s 1994 self-titled album (as opposed to his 1991 also self-titled album).

I listened to Seal quite a bit back in the early to mid-90s. I actually picked that 1991 album up while on an internship in India in 1993. That was a particularly difficult season for me emotionally, and that album, which included the hit single Crazy, was constantly in my Walkman. It was a rotation of Arrested Development’s 3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days in the Life of…, Extreme’s III Sides to Every Story, and this record. I still vividly remember listening to the album in its entirety while on the flight home from India.

When I first heard Seal’s Kiss From a Rose, from his 1994 release, I fell in love with it. Soon afterward, I grabbed the album and listened to it non-stop. I thought the record was beautiful and, even though I would not have recognized it as such at the time, intensely emotive. Prayer for the Dying was one of the singles released from that album and is also one of my favorite Seal songs.

However, when presented with the possibility of including it on this week’s TS10, it wasn’t an immediate slam dunk choice. Why? It wasn’t because the song isn’t worthy. It wasn’t because it no longer connects with me emotionally. It was simply because my insecurity told me the cool kids would make fun of me for including a Seal song. In fact, the original iteration for this playlist didn’t include the song. But, as I considered it more, I decided not to let the cool kids tell me what to do.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, sometimes I just like to spill the beans because I know I’m not the only one dealing issues like this. We all have our insecurities. Many of us get concerned about the bullying voices of the cool kids. Screw those voices.  Let’s not let our insecurities direct our decision-making. Let’s just be who we are. For real. The truth is, the cool kids are insecure too, which is why they try to make us feel bad for being who we are.

Somehow, I hope this rambling and, more importantly, this incredible music will lead us all to deeper freedom to be who we were created to be.

-Ed

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Poignant Songs

When Songs Overtake You… Matthew Perryman Jones and the Gordy’s Parking Lot

The other day, after dropping my boy off at school, I headed over to Gordy’s with Matthew Perryman Jones’ “Land of the Living” playing in the van. I downloaded that album off of NoiseTrade sometime ago, and my wife and I love it. Much of the album was borne out of Jones’ experiences while dealing with the death of his father. As one might imagine, there a parts of the album that are really emotive.

While driving to the store, I listened to the last two tracks of the album, “The Angels Were Singing” and “Land of the Living.” “The Angels Were Singing” is a somber tune that begins with the lyrics describing the singer standing before a headstone at a cemetery:

Talking to stone,
Listening to birds
With no more to say,
I kissed my fingers
And touched the red dirt

The imagery is heartrending. For my wife and me, it speaks to our own loss that we have experienced in the last few years, especially the loss of my mother-in-law in 2012. As the song goes on, you can hear the grief and mourning in Jones’ voice, the music, and the lyrics. When I am really engaged with the song, it inevitably takes me to my own sadness, for both his loss and mine. I love that music can do that… Feeling emotions like that makes me feel more fully alive, and it is a wonderful dynamic when music takes me places like that emotionally. So, as I listened that afternoon, I let myself take it in and feel what I needed to feel.

One of the wonderful aspects of this album is how it ends and how it moves from the grief of “The Angels Were Singing” to the joy and hope of the final track, “Land of the Living.” “Land of the Living” is a veritable anthem of hope; the hope that death is not the ultimate finale, that there is more life on the other side, that the darkness will be “swallowed by the sun.” It’s one of those songs that builds and builds throughout, leading the listener to the climactic moment in which the singer realizes he is “coming home.” It is seriously beautiful. If you’d like to listen to it, there is a video on YouTube that accompanies the song with inspiring images and quotes (not an official music video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAkUppnVgMw. From one song to the next, the songwriter takes us from deep grief to overwhelming hope. I love that.

As I listened to these two songs that day, I was overtaken. In fact, when I got to Gordy’s, I had to sit in the van in the parking lot so I could listen to the rest of “Land of the Living.” I also sang along, very loudly, not caring who might hear. And, then as I walked the aisles, I couldn’t stop myself from singing the lyrics over and over again. Again, overtaken… I love it when that happens. I’m thankful for artists like Matthew Perryman Jones who bare their souls in their music. And, by doing so, they help me engage with my emotions, making me feel more alive.

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