What is a song?
Poetry set to music? Chaos and confusion given form and order in notes, chords and bars? A melody? A story, an event , a real life experience that we try to make sense of? A truth and a dose or reality, or a dream and a wish of what we really hoped would happen? Utter joy or devastation… Or all of it?
Music is different for everyone… or perhaps I should say very specific for everyone, at least in the way it hits us at any given point in time. Yet the universal truths it unleashes and reveals are potent, and actually, if we let it, brings us all much closer together… for we do have so much in common, us human souls.
We laugh and love, hurt and cry, and sometimes songs tell us why.
Last night I saw Venice at another fantastic Russ & Julie House Concert. The room was packed and warm. We were quite literally on top of each other and I could occasionally feel the sweat from my buddy to the left… or was that mine? Sorry. TMI?
We were communal, in every sense of the word, and in a very generous attempt to get as many of us in there as possible, they pushed the chairs a wee bit closer. But once the music played, none of that mattered. We were literally transported to so many places in our minds and souls… our guts and our hearts. The band reacted to songs in a new way, too… talking about “Two Places At One Time” and how something that was first played thirteen years ago about fathers and musicians going away for work, now resonates as their own children go off to college and out into the world. Yes, most of us in the room let that one sink in, too.
And this is why music resonates… why bands become our favorites… why songs move along with us, with so many steps of our lives… serving as soundtrack and friend, providing clarity and understanding, defining and comforting the most powerful moments we feel and face.
A smart artist or band knows that writing from the heart, from a place of truth and deep, introspective reality is what will endure, because people will identify with those songs, cherish them and hold onto them; and though the very specifics may not be our own, there is so much we do share.
Songs evolve and grow and can mean one thing at one time, and then be a huge and different revelation somewhere down the line… That is powerful, powerful stuff.
Venice is a smart band… a great band. It should be no surprise that they are also great guys, who are not only open and accessible, but who give so much back to the community in terms of shows and benefit concerts. Any regular readers of this blog know I will guffaw over them from time to time, but it is just simply deserved. They make such stunningly beautiful, indelible and wonderful music, but they also make you feel like a real friend.
My other buddy takes pride in saying he introduced me to them, and while this is mostly true, I did own a CD of theirs before we met. But even more essential and important is the reason he made that introduction… the reason I introduce people to music and bands… because we know our friends and loved ones (or hell, even strangers) will connect with the music and find a true bliss in it. For that, I will most sincerely and gratefully thank him, for pushing me more and more into the world of Venice and thus enriching mine.
I watched my friend with a deep interest and concern, for while we are both on a journey, a very new, roller coaster, kitchen sink kind of journey… he is at a much more challenging time than I am at this particular moment. I could see his brain reacting to certain lyrics and ideas… feel his heart and his soul aching and yearning. His body was moved in a rhythm, but also emotionally. A squirm of discomfort when something hit too close to home, a sigh, or even a smile. Music is an amazing thing.
For those three hours our brains, while still always working and chattering, could at least be a little quieter as we let the music be the sounds we hear, fill our minds and hearts, sway us… As the music guided the journey, we were able to meditate on that. Music is an amazing thing.
Music helps us discover ourselves… defines us… puts things in perspective. Sometimes it brings us a little lower, deeper into the pain we may be dealing with… but mostly it rises us up… out of our chairs and out of our despair. Music matters. Our favorite bands matter. Being around people, listening to songs and tunes matters. Music is an amazing thing and it matters more than we will ever know.