We seem to be living in what the Chinese curse calls “interesting times.” 2016 was one of the most turbulent years in modern American political history, and the turmoil attendant to the presidential election felt exacerbated by the deaths of some of popular music’s most important figures. The list still seems breathtaking: inimitable talents David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael; Eagles founder Glen Frey; Jefferson Airplane founder Paul Kantner; both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake of ELP; songwriter extraordinaire Leonard Cohen; funk genius Maurice White…. I’ll stop here out of a kind of emotional fatigue. For one like me, it was at the least a trying year, one which left me feeling that I was losing my country to people possessed by greed and at the same time losing so many musicians whose work provided me with joy, solace, and inspiration. Yes, anyone and everyone have to die. Like many others, I suspect, I have questioned why it had to be these anyones and everyones. (My apologies to both you and ee cummings for the digression.)
Yet, as the French say, and rightly so, “La vie continue….”
It’s important, too, to remember those things which sustain us. For me those things are art, music, poetry. These provide, as I mentioned above, joy, solace, and inspiration. But they also provide, if one goes looking, answers. My questions, like those of many in these times, are about how to respond to actions by my government and fellow citizens which seem to me clearly designed to serve the few no matter what the cost is to the many. Music, because of my own history, provides me with answers most often.
By: Jim Booth
Source: Scholars and Rogues