When I was a kid, and my dad or brother would buy a new album, they would play it over and over again, driving me nuts, wishing I could yell “fire!”, or turn off the power to get it to stop, but realizing that even if I did, the effect would last but a minute before the truth was discovered. So, unless I wanted to go to the park, which, generally, I didn’t, there was no escaping it (until I bought my car – sweet freedom!). The music came into my bedroom, the bathroom, upstairs, and even outside on warm days, as we Sohns are not shy about volume in voice or otherwise. I was, as they say, surrounded, no choice but to surrender.
I just could not fathom why anyone would want to hear something, even if it was good, so many times. All that repetition just made me crabby and desperate for industrial strength ear plugs.
That was then. Now I get it. Thanks first to rediscovering Astral Weeks by Van Morrison about five years ago and to Sam Beam, of Iron and Wine, I really get it.
An aside for the G-Man. When we lived in Denver, they would sometimes show the fans outside McNichols Arena (a.k.a. Big Mac – now gone) after a concert on a slow news night. On one such night after Van played, a woman who had likely partaken of some illicit substance, screamed, “Van Morrison is pure love!” As a result, neither one of us can say his name without adding that as well. Good times.
I am digressing. I do that. Anyhoo, I got a taste of the repetition with Mr. Pure Love, and then came to a full understanding with Iron and Wine. This is rock steady, keep on wiggling in my chair, singing softly along kind of music. I love to listen to Sam Beam’s gentle voice when Gregory and I play cards. More often, as my friend Sarah will attest, this is sewing music. It’s just so perfectly suited to stitching.
I put one cd on, and as soon as it is over, the next. I can do this on a loop for hours, never ever growing tired, just stitching along, but often sitting in silent amazement when a disc is over. How could that be? Where did the time go? Wasn’t I just singing “Sunset Soon Forgotten”? Golly, that’s only the fourth song.
With Van Morrison (pure love!) and Iron and Wine, it is like they whisper the lyrics in my ear, and while I hear them and whisper back, I dream of myself and my place within the songs, in fields, under trees, peering through a crack in the door. What can I say? Magic.