by Will Fuller
[Author’s Note: This entry and all future pieces submitted to Live Music Daily are dedicated to our friend and hero, John Andrew McConnell. Spread his spirit into the world wherever you may roam.]
Generations of artists and listeners confirm that music is tonic for the suffering. It is a vehicle through which one can escape, if only for a few brief moments, the pains that come along with being completely broken open. As we can all attest, life changes in a millisecond, but there are certain constants we cling to daily. Music can challenge us to cease fighting these changes, no matter what questions may remain.
If you are reading this article, I would be willing to wager that not many hours go by for you without some form of engagement with a favorite band, a cherished song or lyric that holds deep meaning to you and perhaps a wide (or narrow) circle of friends. The wonderful thing about memories is that they never fade, but these can also be expanded upon. In fact, I have found this exercise to be quite helpful when dealing with emotions tied to love and loss, excitement and expectation. I try to remain willing to hear a new message every time I consume music, no matter how many times I may have interacted with a particular artist before. Sometimes it’s within a particularly beautiful solo. Others it’s a chorus which seems written for me or someone I know.
One band I’ve become particularly captivated by in recent months is Nashville-based All Them Witches. In the song “Open Passageways,” they offer the following directive: “Lay down your hammers brother.” All of us have been faced with these internal battles at some point in life. They are a natural part of the human experience, but the true test is in our reaction and how we choose to live after the trials. When it’s the loss of a loved one, a brother, a champion of creativity, the emotions may seem particularly difficult to bear. When sadness begins to envelop me, as it did yesterday morning, it is imperative that I reach for something constructive to draw me out. I struggled to shake the sense that something (or in this case, someone) was missing at that exact moment, but that soon began to be drowned out by the feeling that there was work to be done. I combed back through my inbox and could not help but smile at the messages contained there.
“I don’t see that Kurt Vile piece on my desk yet.”
“Sooooooo- when are catching some music?”
“Not funny Fulls, but I love you anyway.”
Contributors and fans of this site know exactly what I’m referring to. The insistent efforts of someone who treated every day as his favorite song. As much as the hurt still lingers, I resolved right then to lay down my hammer and help carry the torch of Live Music Daily going forward. I love you too, and we’ll do our best to make you proud.