Let’s Take A Moment Day 397

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

May 2021 blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today marks the 105th birth anniversary of my beloved grandmother, Ida. It closely coincides with birthday #86 for legendary artist Loretta Lynn, who I discovered thanks to my grandmother’s love of country music. Lynn was born April 14, 1935 in Kentucky. The day before her 35th birthday, on April 13, 1970, she broke through the Grand Ole Opry’s glass ceiling when she became the first woman to earn a gold album with Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind). By October of the same year, she released yet another career defining album, Coal Miner’s Daughter. The title song was the story of her life which she turned into an autobiography in 1976 and then a movie in 1980.

My grandmother taught me many lessons about life while I was growing up intertwined with stories of her childhood living in New York City. And being a one dimensional tween at the time, that is how I saw her life-as a child and as my grandmother, giving no thought whatsoever about all the years she lived in between. But then one day we were watching one of the daytime talk shows where Lynn was discussing her book. She talked about how young she was when she got married, how naïve she was and how lonely she would get waiting for her husband to come home from work before she had her children to take care of.

A big reason why my grandmother liked Lynn was because she related to her early story as my grandmother was a young bride once, too (she got married when she was 18), even if I could not picture it at the time. Here were two women born twenty years apart in two different worlds who shared a similar background told in a song. The power of music will never cease to amaze me. Happy birthday, Loretta Lynn & happy heavenly birthday to my dear Idie.

Well a lot of things have changed since a way back then
And it’s so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floor, nothing lives here anymore
Except the memory of a coal miner’s daughter
“.

Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Loretta Lynn: “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1970, written by Loretta Lynn).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 180

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Jane Austen Music Quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Six months have now passed since the pandemic came into our lives. I will refrain from using the terms that have become our new language and just say as difficult as this time has been, I am thankful for this outlet because it has given me back the magic of music. Listening to songs and artists I somehow lost track of or denied myself the joy of because I felt obligated to put others first in enabling ways or because of work or domestic monotony or anything else “I was supposed to do”. Well this time has taught me I come first-finally-and I will no longer deny that nor will I apologize for it. In the middle of a pandemic, I found me. How can I not be grateful for that? So, to quote Casey Kasem, on with the music. And a virtual road trip to clear out the cobwebs.

The voices I have heard in music have affected me in different ways. Some were subtle, some were intense and some were massive. Today’s singers fall into the last category. The first time I heard The Band, I fell in love with not one but three distinct beautiful voices-the ones belonging to Rick Danko, Levon Helm & Richard Manuel. Danko’s vocal on “Long Black Veil“, Helm’s vocal on “The Weight” (see day 60) and Manuel’s vocal on “I Shall Be Released“, with each of the other singers providing harmony on those songs, is some of the most remarkable music I have ever heard. After the original group broke up in 1976, the three singers along with fellow bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson, reformed as a band in 1983. And despite the heartbreaking loss of Manuel in 1986 to suicide after an ongoing battle with drug & alcohol addiction, the other three members carried on.

Every time I heard their music or saw one of the singers, I felt at home. I remember sitting in a movie theatre watching “The Big Chill” and doing an internal cartwheel as soon as I heard the acoustic guitar intro to “The Weight” during the breakfast scene where every one gets their running shoes. Or when I was in the same theatre watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seeing Levon Helm on the big screen as Loretta Lynn’s father, Ted Webb. Or whenever I needed to see “The Last Waltz” just one more time.

Danko died of heart failure in 1999 which is when this stunning group ended their career for good. Helm kept acting, performing and making music on his own, right up until he died in 2012 from cancer. With all three of these beautiful voices gone now, there is a place inside my soul that just yearns for them. Their contribution to music in general and my world specifically, is immeasurable, despite the efforts of others to downplay or forget their roles in one of the most extraordinary bands to ever make music.

Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City
“.

The Band 1969

The Band: “Atlantic City” (1993, written by Bruce Springsteen).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.