Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Miracle Music

This topic is not strictly regarding the erotic, but whenever I encounter real life magic, I think it’s worth reporting.

I posted recently about Les Stroud’s new CD “Long Walk Home” which he sent to me as a gift. The title song on the CD, composed by Les and members of the Northern Pikes, happens to be (for me) one of those songs you encounter once a decade. The kind that you want to replay as soon as the last note sounds. The kind that uses your mind as modeling clay. The kind that tweaks and piques your soul.

I’m not saying anyone who listens to this song will experience what I do (life’s not like that), only that it’s the music and not me that’s working the magic. I always love Les’s voice. I’m a big fan of the Pikes--“Dream Away” is nearly in this same category, but not quite. But it’s this particular song that transcends. It’s the combination of all the elements in it: the shushing percussion, the haunting electronics, the heart-tugging chord progressions, Les’s plaintive voice (his “come with me now” is irresistible), the classic-Pikes-sound bridge, the relief of the lilting bluegrass at the end that ultimately yields again to the melancholy of the song.

You can combine such elements and be assured the resulting song will be a great one. But “Long Walk Home” goes beyond being simply good to listen to. It has an effect beyond auditory for me. Every time I listen to it, it seems to probe at my brain like water stirs up sand, dislodging feelings and memories I’d lost for years. One minute I’m remembering how it felt to be wandering the vacant lots near my childhood home, picking wildflowers. The next it’s the memory of looking forward to seeing some guy I’m crushing on at a high school football game. I’m transported to other times and places, in my own life and sometimes even scenes I’ve never actually lived.

Far away, beyond the crest of hill or around a street corner, Les and the Pikes are playing this song, leading me on like the Pied Piper through the village of my own soul. It’s amazing.

That’s the miracle of music. Now, I love to write more than anything in the world, but I’m not sure writing prose or even poetry can achieve what music can. I’ve drawn and painted and worked in clay, and although I’m sometimes thrilled to be able to create beauty that didn’t exist before, the visual arts can’t quite do it either. But music can be magic, and is, remarkably often. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be able to do what musicians can do.

I am familiar enough with the creative process to suspect that such miracles are not deliberate. It’s probably not as if Les decided one particular day, “Okay, enough of this regular stuff...today I’m going to write the mind-blowing song.” I’m guessing he and the band put all they had into this one and hoped it would be special, but probably even they didn’t know what this piece of music would be capable of once it was done.

I wonder if Les and the Pikes listened to this track after it was mixed and looked at each other and said, “wow.” Did they not even guess what the song was able to do? Or did they know instantly that it had that power?

Guys, please Google yourselves and find this post and email me. I’d sure love to know what it’s like to be able to work real magic.

1 comment:

Diana Laurence said...

Hey readers, I just had to update this post with the happy news...Les has launched a new website with lots of excellent new features, including more info about his music career. (http://www.lesstroudonline.com/music/) I learned two pieces of thrilling news (if you're me or any other Lesphile):

1. The CD version of "Long Walk Home" that Les sent to me is an EP, and there will be a longer CD with four more songs released in a few months. Oh yay!

2. Les is working on another solo album!

I was mostly happy to learn that he is as addicted to producing his music as I am to listening to it.

Thank you, Les!