Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Ode to Music...and Life.

I want you to get something out of my blog.  And not what it is that I am giving you--which is, I have realized in the last few days, negativity.

I don’t want to rant and rave and loathe about drinking too much, gaining weight, having disagreements with family, feeling lonely, depressed, anxious, etc.  ENOUGH!  (At the end of this really is an ode to music…bear with me.)  ENOUGH!  Let’s talk about things that bring me up, energize me, bring me closer to the Lord, fulfill me with contentment and closure. 

Well, I give you the first of these things—these happy things.  I am so, completely moved by music.  I really enjoy listening to soul music [I mean SOUL music]…with the bass and the electric guitars and organ…wow – I am in my zone.  I am calm.  I am smiling.  I sit still.

Favorite singer/songwriter of all time:
Citizen Cope—the lyrics sung through Clarence Greenwood’s voice are amazing; I’m held breathless, and I say that with an honest, whole heart.   I have been a fan for many years, and I saw him live for the first time a few months ago.  Amazing.  Favorite songs live:  107 degrees, Bullet and A Target, and Pablo Picasso.  I will be at an acoustic show he plays during this next year (I can thank the acoustic version of Salvation I heard recently for sparking this desire in me).  No matter the distance, I.Am.There. It’s my gift to myself.

He first made headway with his song Son’s Gonna Rise, but for those of you who yearn for true-to-the-soul music, your favorite songs are likely found on the album, The Rainwater LP, which was self-produced by him…well…by him once he said ENOUGH! I like them all, but some favorite songs from this album are Lifeline, Family (The Shotgun LP features—both of which are incredible), and Keep Askin’.  And, just a couple more—If There’s Love and Holdin’ On—my body cannot stop moving when these songs are playing.

My answer if anyone asks me why Citizen Cope is one of the best artists (and my favorite) of all time:  What courage and commitment to stay true to the talents you were given, to do whatever is required to make the vision you have of the best you become a reality.  And, to do it better than anyone else in your in your expertise, in the same artistry of your God-given talent, in the core of makes you truly you.

Some of my other favorite soulful artists that have helped pick up my spirit:
Lauryn Hill
Nothing Even Matters  with D’Angelo is soulfully powerful.  Also, Ex Factor, a breakup song (only enjoyable when listened to once every 6 months, and when you aren’t going through a breakup).
Erykah BaduNext Lifetime.  She is awesomely one-of-a-kind.  I saw her live at Lilith Fair when I was in high school.
John Legend – I am a HUGE John Legend fan.  His lyrics are loving and masculine and give the feeling you’re listening to words whispered into your ear from the lips of a sweet gentleman.  Any girl needs that.
Ben HarperAmen Omen, I don’t think I need to say any more.

And, just for fun, move-to-grove-to fun:
The Script
Breakeven, a good relationship (of any kind) healing song about “how much breaking up sucks now but deep down you know it’s supposed to”; If U See Kay, because I am a Kay, of sorts, and just love the beat and lyrics.
Mat NathansonBullet
Justin NozukaMr. Therapy Man
O.A.R.Heard the World

I also like an eclectic mix, filled with inspiration:
Corinne Bailey RaePut Your Records On—I just can't keep from smiling, singing, and dancing around my room (kinda like Pocket Full of Sunshine).
Lily Allen —her lyrics and distinct voice will make you laugh…
JemIt’s Amazing

Songs that allow you to just mellow out—these are all nice:
Portishead – according to a new, close friend, Portishead is a band from the 90’s.  I just heard their music for the first time last week and I really am hooked.
BittersweetTrouble…feels like you’re a spy in a 40’s comic (find it on iTunes.  you’ll see.)
Matisyahu – an American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician (thank you, Wikipedia).  Amazing music–his voice; his lyrics; his faith.
Zero 7 – the only song of theirs I’ve heard is In The Waiting Line—very relaxing.

And last, but not least--and yet another piece of grace granted to me by my Lord;
the song which showed me once more how very much He loves me (and inspired me to give the consideration and time required to write this post):

the original is sung by Leonard Cohen (which I found out tonight when looking up info for this post), but I have only heard covers.  This is telling, because when I first heard a cover of this song live, I felt insanely close to tearing up.  Something about it…and here, about 10 months later, I find out this moving song was originally sung by an artist who’s tickets I sold at my first job I randomly got when I was thrown back in my hometown—the job that was truly a saving grace for me and where I met and connected with some really good, original people. 


May you listen to your heart to learn the simple places you find contentment, and may your contentment flow endlessly from within, into, and outward.  I genuinely wish you a Happy 2011--I seriously just typed 2010 the first time around...it gets me every year   :)

I really like hearing about new music artists…who do you enjoy listening to?  I’ll definitely check ‘em out.

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