Few things renew the spirit more than a new song that hits a nerve. And my spirit has needed renewal of late. Up one recent night and well into a bottle of whisky, I staggered upon Mumford & Sons' lone album Sigh No More and was arrested. Oh don’t you so love when an album grabs you with two hands by the lapels and jerks you violently into its world, by turns soothing and caressing that tattered soul before burying the knife deep into your solar plexus. That’s what happened for me with that album. After two plus listens I woke bleary on the living room carpet, somehow found and made my way to bed.
Come morning I furiously scripted an email to Br. Trevor and Br. TJ titled ‘How Friendships End’, searing them for having overlooked this recommendation in a brother’s time of need and warning if any other such finds lay hidden, the price would be steep.
Two of my oldest friends, both knew this was no time to doubt my conviction, that this indeed could be the end of a glorious friendship. They leaped into action, throwing a litany of names and titles at me until my small brain went tilt. Just come here and give me some I grumbled. And TJ did, bless him. Dropped off a dozen or so albums that he had calibrated would leave an imprint. And they have, so far. Reified my spirit, opened dormant or unattended to emotions. Entertained and consoled. Somehow pointed towards a path for what in truth is a new, and unexpected, life stage. Alabama Shakes, Lykke Li, Bierut, many more. New friends, trusted allies, lovers with bodies of work to explore and divine within.
Below are three new songs that have played a key role over the past couple of weeks in renewing my spirit and refreshing the way forward.
White Blank Page was the first song from Sigh No More that I clicked after buying the album. It starts with a question, really a challenge, veers into victimhood and quickly degenerates into rage. Exactly what a broken heart is looking for.
Next, Alabama Shakes with this short, sweet, punchy anthem of total happiness, I Found You. This here heart wasn’t just looking to lament. No, there is more ahead than broken pieces of the past. This song has been a reminder of that peace, beauty and safety that rises when love is true.
Finally, Lykke Li, with a song, I Follow Rivers, that apparently everyone else knows about but me. Quirky pop wall of sound that slowly, methodically takes over the room until it surrounds and dissolves the mind into imagination.
Bonus track. Another good friend recently pointed me to this cover of Pearl Jam's Just Breathe by Willie Nelson and his sons Lucas and Micah. Just, wow.