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What Good is Music? + Pieces of You Are Here + Who Did This?

What Good is Music? + Pieces of You Are Here + Who Did This?

Good Morning from Warren Grove, Prince Edward Island
 
I hope all is well with you.
 
Any chance you have time for two cuppa’s today?
 
Why?
Well, it all started yesterday while driving home, and it turned out to be a long story.
 
While in the car, I enjoyed listening to CBC Radio’s Matt Raney’s interview.  His guest, Dennis Ellsworth is a local singer-songwriter. 
 
It started my thinking about the written song shared through music.
 
Music moves across a bridge between the past, the present and the future.
 
Dennis shared many poignant stories about songs in his life. Songs that moved him, kept him whole, and inspired life-changing perspectives.
 
“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” – Maria von Trapp
 
Listening to Dennis made me think about my first memory of music.
 
And it ended up being a strange mixture of memories.
 
Growing up, it seemed music only came out at the end of the week. A battle of the bands sort of thing ensued every weekend between two parents who were like oil and water on most everything.
 
In one corner was my mother's contender. Engelbert Humperdinck crooning, Please Release Me. In the other corner, supported by my Dad is Ned Landry. Canada’s Fiddling Champion, New Brunswick's own, fiddling Maple Sugar.
Both contenders were fighting for the chance to have a spin on the turntable. The supportive cast of the music was the high octane fuel found in the bottles consumed.
 
My first album buy was Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, and the second was James Taylor, Sweet Baby James.
 

I wore out the James Taylor album. I sang along with all the songs. His song, ‘Country Roads’ from the album was a favourite as well as, Fire and Rain. Both songs were dealing with depression and addiction.

 
I learned the song was inspired by a wooded road running adjacent to McLean Hospital where Taylor had committed himself in 1965 to receive treatment for depression. Taylor's friend Danny Kortchmar said "Country Road" captures the restless, anticipatory, vaguely hopeful feeling that plays a large part on James' character and appears in "Carolina in My Mind," "Blossom,” and "Sweet Baby James." The road leads away from his ensnaring family: "Mama don't understand it / She wants to know where I've been / I'd have to be some kind of natural-born fool to want to pass that way again."
 
Many artists seem to struggle with mental health issues; why?
 
Countless psychologists and psychiatrists tend to agree; major depression amplifies in those who tend to ruminate on their thoughts.
 
To be creative is to make sense of and connect the small details of everything we experience, the good and the bad.
 
Creatives tend to think more.
 
When we ruminate, our brains draw to things that left deep impressions.
 
Pain and suffering are such experiences, even if they’re short-lived.
 
Those who ruminate tend to loop through those painful experiences more often than those who don’t.
 
Out of their thinking, the creator release emotions. Through the theatrical arts of words and or actions, we become connected to the artist.
 
Dennis Ellsworth lives on Prince Edward Island and is an artist. And one worth listening to. I remember several years ago he played in our Garden Theatre. His direct sharing of himself struck me.
 
Music is the soundtrack of your life.” – Dick Clark.
 
Bound by Love by Dennis Ellsworth
 
I was born in the ’70s
 
I caught the end of the dreamer’s days
 
I’ve got all of these memories
 
But it feels like yesterday
 
I see it in photographs
 
A slideshow on the walls of my brain
 
I am grateful for the life I’ve had
 
Whatever time still remains
 
I was a kid in the ’80s
 
I wore a red thriller jacket to school
 
I had a silver boombox
 
Corduroy pants and cassettes were cool
 
Licensed to Ill blew my mind
 
My dad let me listen to it in his truck
 
I bought the Joshua Tree and Mother’s Milk
 
With birthday money that my grandma sent
 
I am bound by love
 
Don’t want it any other way
 
Baby, I can’t get enough
 
I don’t know any different
 
I was a punk teen in the ’90s
 
In a band called Adam’s Eve
 
Ripped jeans and a ring in my nose
 
I smoked hash and drank mushroom tea
 
We used to play the Apothecary
 
Charlottetown on a Monday night
 
With permission from the liquor commission
 
Tuesday morning barely cracked my eyes
 
I am bound by love
 
Don’t want it any other way
 
Baby, I can’t get enough
 
I don’t know any different
 
I finished school and I moved away
 
I was in a different band
 
We took our name from a Shakespeare play
 
It feel apart in the end
 
I stuck around for a few more years
 
Dragging myself from job to job
 
Ran out of money and I had to leave
 
Hit the coast and I met a girl
 
Now I’m bound by love
 
Wouldn’t want it any other way
 
Baby, I can’t get enough
 
I don’t know any different
 
I don’t know any different x 4
 
I have dreams in a different light
 
I’m not looking for the cheaper thrills
 
I see the future through my daughter’s eyes
 
And it gives me chills
 
And I’ll do anything for love
 
But not like that stupid Meatloaf song
 
Real love that keeps on humming
 
And never stops even after you’re gone
 
I am bound by love
 
Don’t want it any other way
 
Baby, I can’t get enough
 
I don’t know any different
 
I know happiness is fleeting
 
I know we all have Haunted Hearts
 
But I see it and I hear it
 
Graceland in my mother’s car
 
Driving around, tapping her thumbs
 
Keeping the beat on the steering wheel
 
I know who I am and I know it’s because
 

Things like this don’t disappear

 
 
I love music; it is in my bones. I haven’t figured or even tried to get it out. I always appreciate the artistry of those who move us through sound, or lyric or a combination of both.
 
Music moves my heart to inspire my head to search other paths of thought.
 
Sometimes I am led by the sound of a voice, the expressive piano, the notes played on the guitar, or the soulful sound of the cello.
 
Music can give a sense of eternity. It can pull me down a sidestreet to my life.
 
What may come out of any of the doors facing the sidestreet could cause pain or joy. But we choose the door. We become open to either because of the artist’s power over our emotion. Even if it is a three-minute song or an hour-long concerto.
 
The artist who translates our feelings into sound takes us on a journey.
 
I find the cello has a direct line to my soul.
 
“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.”
– Pablo Casals.
 
 
Another acclaimed local artist who in my opinion is a lyrical genius. Lennie Gallant paints stories onto a musical canvas with words.
 
Lennie is a friend and an Acadian singer-songwriter.  He has released 13 albums, ten in English and three in French. He has performed ten times at hospital fundraisers we held in our dining room. Before Covid 19, Lennie toured in North America. He has won 18 East Coast Music Awards (ECMA) and was named the Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year in 2017. His 1994 song “Peter’s Dream” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019. Gallant was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003.
 
I have never understood why large-name artists have not recorded and capitalized on the richness of the story in his lyrics.
 
For example…
 
Pieces of You by Lennie Gallant
 
At first I found your ring and a comb you lost
 
And a strand of hair that your pretty head once tossed
 
And then a letter came it was addressed to you
 
I wrote above your name send it to someplace new
 
And I start my car and the radio s on
 
I heard the final line from your final song
 
They’re just pieces of you something you’ve left behind
 
Maybe it slipped your mind like a part of a line a bit of the truth
 
Turning up every day in an unusual way
 
A bit of the past out of the blue pieces of you
 
Late last night someone on the phone it was some guy
 
He asked if you were home
 
And I grabbed my shirt from my dresser drawer
 
On my sleeve was the scent you wore
 
And it brought me back to the night when you said
 
I can’t give my hand take my heart instead
 
They’re just pieces of you
 
Something you left behind
 
Maybe it slept your mind
 
Like part of a lie
 
A bit of the truth
 
They’re just pieces of you
 
Turning up every day
 
In an unusual way
 
A bit the past out of the blue
 
Pieces of you
 
They’re just pieces of you
 
Something you’ve left behind
 
Maybe it slipped your mind
 
Like part of a lie a bit of the truth
 
They’re just pieces of you
 
Turning up every day in an unusual way
 
A bit of the past out of the blue pieces of you
 
A bit of the past out of the blue pieces of you
 
Yeah a bit of the past out of the blue pieces of you.
 

Sting writes one of my favourite songs to listen to. The song can be seen as a full romance from beginning to end. The song’s story is chronological and is about courtship, marriage, and death—the two people in the song meet, court, and fall in love. 

“Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.”

– Alphonse de Lamartine

 

Another award winning singer-songwriter from Prince Edward Island whose music I love, is Catherine MacLennan. She was won a Canadian Juno Award; Contemporary Roots Album of the Year.  Her father, Gene MacLennan, was a songwriter whose songs are famously made known by the artists who covered his many songs. Anne Murray performed Songbird and became an international sensation, Put Your Hand in the Hand sung by many artists, gospel choirs, and even Elvis. And this is a very short list.

Beneath the Lindens written by Catherine MacLennan
 
I draw the outline of a tree and I see memories of me
 
As a young girl in a small town, underneath the Linden trees
 
I drew pictures, I wrote poems, I spent all my time alone
 
'Neath the Lindens in the graveyard, close by my mother's home
 
Well my voice it had a closed-door, there was a closed-door to my heart
 
I liked the quiet of my own time, liked the view from far apart
 
But you saw me in the shadows, and you brought me to the light
 
And I listened as you taught me all the new things I could like
 
There were flowers on the graves
 
There were lost and there were saved
 
There were days upon endless days
 
Beneath the Lindens
 
I found clarity and strength in the pages I would write
 
And I found I had my own thoughts, that yours weren't always mine
 
So I went back to the shadows of winter in my home
 
And you watched my every move from behind the grave stone
 
Well, you fought to keep me with you, and I fought to stay alone
 
And though my childhood was ending, I wasn't ready to let it go
 
Bees in springtime look for nectar, how the sweetness fills the well
 
Leaves you empty when it's gone, 'til you find it in yourself
 
And there were flowers on the graves
 
There were lost and there were saved
 
There were days upon endless days
 
Beneath the Lindens
 
There were flowers on the graves
 
There were lost and there were saved
 
There were days upon endless days
 
Beneath the Lindens

If you made it this far and did not hit unsubscribe, thank you I really appreciate your time.

I would love to hear of the music that you enjoy.
 
Have a musical weekend, donate your time and if you have extra, support them any way you can.
 
But before you go. Let the music move ya.
 
Let’s Dance
 
Canadian Colin James and the Little Big Band
 
With love from Prince Edward Island,
 
Bruce & Millie
 
ps. Your Morning Smile
 
A pet store owner held an emergency staff meeting.
 
Pet Store owner to all staff members: "Last month I installed an anonymous suggestion box and asked your thoughts on how to increase sales. I did say the suggestions are anonymous, but I'd REALLY like to know who suggested we put recipes on the cages."
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Comments

Allison - April 24, 2021

I guess being a mix of French, Irish and Scottish music is in my blood. It is what I go to in times of sadness and when ‘the black dog’ whines at my door. I am no musician nor singer myself but was raised by a mother who listened to everything from classical to old time-y country. Last February my son lost his home to a devastating fire. His hope was to save a certain guitar. This instrument saw him through several depressive episodes spent in hospital, it is not an expensive instrument but it is his touch stone. We found it and as I cleaned it up for him I thought of the secrets it has been told, the tears shed on it and the joy it has given. It has been there for him during his darkest hours and played in celebration on his happiest days..birth of his children. My son is an accomplished musician and owns more valuable instruments but this one could never be replaced. He sings his babies to sleep with it..and encourages them to find solace in music too.
You have listed several of my favourites, James Taylor, Eva Cassidy’s version of Fields of Gold ( listen to her Over the Rainbow) and Yo Yo Ma.
Lately when our dog is made anxious by loud noise we have taken to playing Spotify Music for calming dogs…it is quite Zen and it is soothing to him. Who’d a thunk it??
Have a great week. Really hoping to get to our PEI house later this summer if Dr. Morrison gives the all clear, never got down last year at all. Stay safe.

Lynn - April 24, 2021

Thanks Bruce for yet another great blog, and thanks for sharing such an important part of yourself. Isn’t it interesting that we all have our favourite kinds of music. Since music speaks to us differently, I suppose it’s not a surprise. I figure that, besides being soothing for our souls or speaking truth to us about ourselves, music is intended to get us off our feet to dance, whether it’s rocking or sedately waltzing or inventing our own movements. Some classical music can even get my body moving — I"m sure the composers would be appalled! Yet, for me the most meaningful music is worship music. Contemplating the words, along with experiencing the combination of notes, can be a deeply moving experience.
Thank you, as always, for your blog. As has been said before, it’s a Saturday favourite! No chance of unsubscribing here!
Have a peaceful weekend
Lynn

Pam - April 24, 2021

Oh Bruce- you have many talents, but this blog captures my mood, and my heart this weekend. I have music in my bones too. But when you mentioned Lennie Gallant, I agree, he is a master musician and I am watching his livestream from Calgary Folk club as I write this. Music speaks to, and soothes the soul.

Susan E-J - April 24, 2021

Fabulous Blog today, Bruce!! (Unsubscribe? Are you kidding me? Never!)
So many of your musical selections here are favourites of mine too, and it was really fun to revisit a VERY young Colin James in the video clip :) …. That said, Colin’s music and zest for life doesn’t ever seem to get old (just like us!). I’ll be returning to enjoy this Blog again, Bruce. Thanks for sharing – and hope you’re having a great weekend on PEI!
Susan.

althea - April 24, 2021

Hey, Bruce….without saying it, you’ve offered us who you are. Keep on truckin’, friend.

Zyna in Winnipeg - April 24, 2021

Ah Bruce…what a delicious selection of magical music this morning. Thank you.
We all have our lifetime ‘musical soundtrack’ don’t we. Certainly some of mine overlapped with yours here.
James Taylor has been a long-life love of mine, since way back! I finally saw him in concert a few years back in Winnipeg. The voice still the same: the messages as relevant today as they were back in the 60’s, perhaps even more so today. AND he didn’t disappear during the intermission, but sat, dangling his legs over the edge of the stage, and audience members just flocked over and he shook his hand, and he chatted with folks for the whole time. In fact, he had to be called back onto the stage to begin the second half of the show. It was lovely. Your featuring him has reminded me of his long association with Carol King, and her important song book. Another artist with wisdom to share. Look for their reunion concert, recorded a few years ago. It is so beautiful – it will bring you to tears.
So many tears shed to music. We could probably all fill bottles to overflowing.. A soothing of the soul for all manner of heartbreak.
AND – speaking of heartbreak – Eva Cassidy, one of the glorious voices you featured here, died, just as she had been newly discovered. So incredibly sad. She had a way of interpreting a well-known lyric in such a way that it seemed as if you were hearing it for the very first time. This ‘Fields of Barley’ must have thrilled Sting. Her version of ‘Over the Rainbow’ is a thing of infinite beauty, when you thought no one but Judy could sing it any better.

I will never hit ‘unsubscribe’. Saturday mornings are reserved!
Blessings, Bruce!

Kay Schuld - April 24, 2021

Thank you for the music blogs! Music has always been a big part of my life.

Gillian Keane - April 24, 2021

I have always loved the music that has poetic lyrics. Loved these video clips. Another one of my favourites was Rita McNeal. My girls and I sang her songs together on many road trips. Lovely Blog

Sue - April 24, 2021

Great blog today, as always. Loved the piece on Dennis Ellsworth. It brought a smile to my face as I have a son who was born in the 70’s, wore a Thriller jacket to school and had a silver boombox…..

Stephanie Vargas - April 24, 2021

Thank you for your blogs! As a person who enjoys and plays a little music…I really enjoyed this!!

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