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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?
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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Sharon Kalich - April 24, 2021

Hi Bruce, yes, music soothes the savage beast. I love most kinds of music and on long car trips bopping to my play list, singing in a local women’s choir, playing my harp, going to local festival’s chamber music, going to Banff’s string quartet festival, attending Pat Benatar or Lorenna McKennitt concerts, an operatic concert in Vienna and attending your local Piping College concert are many of my musical memories. I usually have a ear worm going in my head most of the time. Music is the common denominator for us all.

Michelle Abushar - April 24, 2021

Just had to say ‘Great blog today Bruce MacNaughton’ on this 24th day of April. Wonderful words and music pieces too. Thank you so much for this! May you keep on keeping on.
Michelle Abushar from Michigan by way of Ontario

Kevin Walters - April 24, 2021

L van Beethoven: “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual.”

Victoria Wienke - April 24, 2021

Really enjoyed the music of Catherine MacLennon and Ellsworth’s poem. Your thoughts on the link between music, mental illness and creativity were especially thought provoking and I shared the newsletter with a friend who will enjoy them through her current struggle.
Thank you!

Cynthia - April 24, 2021

I love music too. It’s always been with me. Helped me cope and soothed my soul. My singing could tap into a memory, a happy song or a depth of pain which makes a sound of cries that can touch a heart or ear.
I love James. Yo Yo Ma,Eva and so many more.
Thank you Bruce. Love the songs and your blog.


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