I recently became a first time father. (Don’t worry I won’t start any sentences with, “As a parent…!”) Yesterday, I was listening to a live recording of Sammy Davis Jr. from 1973 singing his signature song, Mr. Bojangles, and when he got to the point where he impersonates the titular persona, the pathos overwhelmed me and I was in tears! I realised that although I’d listened to this song many times previously, it was through my prism of parenthood that I was touched anew. This new perspective got me thinking about how I have changed emotionally, and how I will experience music differently forever more.
I recently heard Thin Lizzy’s 1979 song, Sarah. With the lyrics, “When you came in my life you changed my world”, I hear you Phil Lynott and Gary Moore! Another famous song on new fatherhood, Stevie Wonder’s, Isn’t She Lovely, contains the insightful lyrics, “Isn’t she lovely made from love … Life and love are the same.” I wholly agree with Stevie! And it’s my love for this new life which has afforded me a new outlook on the world.
Luckily it’s not just from a father’s perspective that the lyrics can be further appreciated; in Björk’s paean to breastfeeding, which she refers to as a Mouth’s Cradle, she ends the song with, “I need a shelter to build an altar away / From all Osamas and Bushs.” Sitting here at home—on paternity leave—I can for the first time truly understand the feeling of caring ‘less’ about the woes of the far-off world and concentrating ‘more’ on what I can control.
I will continue to experience music through my new paradigm. As for you, dear reader, rather than seeing music as being written from a generic perspective for the ‘everyman’, try to enjoy and interpret it through your individual prism. Questioning what your individual perspective is should lead to greater, wider experiences.
To understand the musicians’ perspective read about the songs you love. There is so much information available online: from the incredible Discogs.com; to Wikipedia; to the various song meanings websites; as well as the original album liner notes, which are available from AlbumLinerNotes.com, etc. There are even websites showing you how to synchronise your MP3s to the liner notes, such as BlissHQ.com
I know that I can’t influence what will happen to the Kanye West’s (the Bushs) of this world, but I can draw your attention to some of those that will benefit from some cradling by their home community. Consider one of the new, less famous, West Cork musicians, Fintan McKahey, who contacted me about his lovely, new God Games EP. He is a modern singer-songwriter with a relaxed baritone voice, the song-writing is very mature and culturally-aware despite his youth. If you want to check out just one song, then listen to Cultural Trance, about the dangers of possibly the greatest scourge in modern Ireland, group-think; this song gives me faith in the next generation! After the failure of the Pledge Music site, he had to abandon his crowdfunding campaign, but still launched the EP at the end of April. Give the artist a listen, and if you like the sounds, go to see him live—he’s playing all over West Cork over the summer—and buy his music. Details are available at FintanMcKahey.com
PS. Sorry to jazz aficionados for the false hope that this article was going to be about the classic 1964 Blue Note spiritual jazz masterpiece, A New Perspective by the trumpeter Donald Byrd. And if you don’t know this album – 55 years old and yet timeless – do yourself a favour and give it a listen. If you have it, consider getting the 180g vinyl reissue – it’s incredible! Blue Note are currently re-released many of their classic jazz albums on audiophile vinyl, which make great purchases/presents!
My gigs of the month are: The Fiddle Case with Luka Bloom, Wednesday May 5 at 9pm in De Barra’s, Clonakilty, tickets €15 (+ booking); and Cian Finn & Flipside Selekta in Connolly’s of Leap on May 18, tickets €15.