A song on my mind lately, “Mercy Seat” by Johnny Cash:
Brooding, humbling, haunting tune.
A prayer tune, even for those of us who aren’t religious.
That which we refer to as Lord, I feel you when I take time to pause and listen to beautiful tunes like this. I feel something anyway. The Power. Whatever it is…
Instead of sharing TMI on here tonight that I’ll just wind up marking private tomorrow, let me continue in this vein and post up other songs that get me praying whether I mean to or not. They just evoke it. Or are at least powerful, humbling songs that return to my mind and spirit over and over again, begging to be patiently listened to.
One that immediately springs to mind and regularly resists being ignored is The Blind Boys of Alabama’s “Getting Better (All the Time)”:
I’m not what I ought to be, but I AM better than I used to be. In some important respects. And that’s something. That’s progress on a personal level, and that is meaningful. If not strive for higher, then what?
Like I said, am a long-time agnostic without interest in adhering to any religious attitudes or logic or doctrines. That’s them, and this is me. People can do as they wish. I just hunt for whatever nuggets I find of value, regardless of what they might’ve been intended for originally. There are some beautiful gospel tunes that I will never tire of, particularly from that band. Amazing artists — that much is a fact. Love them. So many of their songs resonate with my spirit and have for many years now. Just adore The Blind Boys of Alabama.
Another beautiful, mesmerizing tune, Jeff Buckley’s rendition of “Hallelujah”:
Bought that album back in the early 2000s. Very sorrowful but worth meditating on regardless.
Heart-breaking, yes. But that’s okay. It really is okay. Sometimes we need to sit with those sides of Truth too. Appears to be necessary for self-exploration and introspection, at least in my case.
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Oh God. I feel those lyrics very deeply every time I listen. Cuts to the core.
Yes, that’s what I learned of love too, and it’s wrong. It’s such a harsh way of comprehending loving relations and leads to so much undue pain…
Jeff Buckley’s voice is simply captivating. Stays with a person. The world was blessed to have that man around as long as we did and to receive the fruits of his creativity. We truly were blessed.
Another spell-binding tune by Jeff Buckley, “Corpus Christi Carol”:
Those are a couple painful tunes to take in, so let’s switch gears and head toward an inspiration song from George Harrison, “My Sweet Lord”:
Just love listening to that one. Never tire of it. Represents the mystery of life to me, that which we like to refer to as “God.” It’s a questioning, a seeking, a longing. I doubt any humans are truly immune to it, and those who are I damn-near feel sorry for. It’s an integral part of the human experience, to commune with some sort of higher consciousness so far as we’re individually capable of experiencing it at any given time. It’s all a big question, no certainty. Which presents us with quests to discover, uncover, examine, ponder, grasp at, etc.
Switching back to Johnny Cash tunes, “Hurt”:
Can’t tell you how much I appreciated him covering this Nine Inch Nails tune. Blew the original out of the water over time, good as it was.
Chokes me up every time imagining how hard it was on Johnny existing after June departed. That poor man. He really suffered but wasn’t long to follow. And I understand. Our loved ones can mean the world to us. They can be what it’s ALL about. Nothing matters much without them. Just going through motions. I can sympathize with his plight there, thought can’t imagine what it’s like to be with somebody for that many decades, loving them, and yet having to lose them. I know that man suffered. No question. Though I can appreciate him continuing to do his work on up to the end. But what else could he do? He probably felt the need to stay as busy as possible.
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way
I know, Johnny. But we thank you anyway for learning what you did the hard way and passing that along in your own unique style to the rest of us. We’re better off for it.
That was another valuable tune from Johnny Cash titled “Ain’t No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down),” particularly appreciating the art project that went into creating that video specifically. Just an amazing artistic compilation there.
Johnny Cash singing “Man in Black”:
Word, Johnny. Word.
A rendition of “One” by Johnny Cash”:
Awesome song. Indisputably so.
“You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash:
Haven’t heard his rendition of that one before tonight, but long adored that song.
Blind Boys of Alabama performing “Amazing Grace”:
This wretch needs saving, that’s all I know. Gonna have to figure this shit out. Very much looking forward to my sabbatical out of here, beginning late next month.
One I haven’t heard before tonight from the Blind Boys of Alabama, “Look Where He Brought Me From”: