Continuing a series exploring the more meaningful parts of my playlist. Looking for the music of hope. The criteria I set for myself was something like this;
It has to be beautiful
It has to open up something in my soul
It has to have brought me at least close to tears. (It does not take much to be fair.)
I first heard Over the Rhine at Greenbelt Festival about 6-7 years ago. They played an unfashionable slot on the main stage mid-afternoon, to an almost empty field. I was passing, on my way to a seminar on some obscure aspect of theology or other which seemed important at the time. I missed the seminar because the music nailed me to the spot. The broken edge of her voice mixed with his harmonies. The shape of their songs. Slide guitar punctuated by delicate finger picking and simple piano. If you have a weakness for Americana, it does not get much better than this.
Cut forward a few more years. My Daughter Emily (who lives and breathes music) and I are heading north on the M6. She has recently passed her test and is driving, which give sher previously jealously guarded music choice privileges. That’s the rule right? Will and Michaela are in the back, sleepy and only semi-engaged in the social side of family travel. Then this album comes on via Emily’s phone which is plugged in to the stereo. I had not heard it before.
Perhaps it was the treasure in the moment. We were all tired and unwinding after a long weekend full of good things- a wedding; good friends; us all together again. The feeling of expansion into another phase of life when one’s daughter is old enough to drive you home. Or perhaps it was just the music.
But that is the power of music right? It can capture a moment for us and seal it with sound and emotion into something precious.
Before long we were all weeping. That is no big deal for me, but even Will, in the awkward mid-teen phase, was not immune to the power of a song like this one;
Or perhaps you might prefer this song instead, from a different album;