It’s hard to say what determines the musical path we take through life, I suspect the initial introduction to a certain “sound” through our parents’ record collection and their chosen radio programmes, plays a great part in shaping what we will favour as we grow older. Especially if it’s true that our adult personality is determined in our first five infant years, this is sure to include musical influences. But, as we grow older and school, friends and freedom play a part, we start to meet new and varied sounds and our journey of personal discovery begins.
Even though we listen to everything life throws at us, there is no doubt that certain sounds form stepping stones that will stay with us forever. Certain lyrics or melodies just “connect” and root themselves in our psyche. We don’t always recognise that they are there but when least expected they throw themselves to the fore. For example, I have decided that it’s high time I stopped loafing around and learned to play the guitar. What is the song I can’t wait to learn and belt out? “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. Why, I have no idea. I like the song but it isn’t in my collection. Yet somehow I see that opening riff as the very best thing to learn to play first and that to get it right and belt it out will feel absolutely brilliant! I can’t get to the music store fast enough.
So many songs dwell inside us as part of our soul and some I can’t even sing along to without a lump in my throat, “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelburg is one such example. It connects me with my own father I guess and says things I could never express so clearly. Then again, Dan is one of the best poetic lyricists I have ever encountered so I’m not surprised his lyrics have such an affect. Many songs touch the spot over time but it is my most recent discovery of a truly British band that I want to share with you today. Check out this link http://www.showofhands.co.uk/ .
I first heard Show Of Hands on the radio as I drove home from work one Sunday afternoon. It was a track called “Roots” and it summed up everything that is wrong with our country today. Loss of identity, lack of respect for our heritage, commercialism taking the place of social culture – all of that. It strives to remind us all that without our roots and respect for our heritage and the efforts of our forefathers, we really have little to identify with. And yet all the immigrants who share our shores loyally bring and embrace their cultures at every opportunity. If you don’t do anything else today, check out this site and listen to the samples of “Roots” and “Witness” they may just become your stepping stones too.
After listening – order your copy and when you get it, put on your headphones and soak it deep into your soul to remain forever. Steve Knightley and Phil Beer are masters of their craft, as you will see for yourself. I won’t expand on that now. You can check out the site. But I will say this; these guys have a unique ability to blend music with the soul, their words and music the nearest thing, in this modern age, to spells and incantations. They will touch and change you.
Music and words are ever present and easily accessible but many just form the sand upon our shore – seek out the stepping stones and construct your passage between the shores of life. As Dan Fogelburg would say, from the Cradle to the Grave.
Trevor C. Krueger