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These are hard times. These are tense times. These are scary times. These are sad times. These are disheartening time. The issues are systemic and complicated and cannot and should not be reduced to memes. But that is what we do. This is not a political blog or a social issues blog. This is a music blog, but I am a human being writing this and I notice things. I do not propose solutions to all of the world's ills. But I do have a modest proposal..
STOP! RIGHT NOW! Stop treating everything as an either/or, black/white, pro/con issue. My opinion is that very few things in this world work this way. There is a philosophy that I used to be a proponent of (and sometimes still am) that our choices are either love or fear. In other words, in any given situation we can choose to react out of love or react out of fear. Honestly, I think as a way for me to evaluate my own reactions, it is a good philosophy. The problem is when I start using that to evaluate another persons motives is where I get into trouble. It's where I fall into that either/or trap.
I don't think either side is exempt from falling into this trap and it cuts across just about every issue. Guns, abortion, gay rights, police shootings, terrorism, even silly things like the Beatles vs. the Stones. This idea that if I concede even a small minor point that I am now an enemy of a cause I consider myself a supporter of... It is how "Gee, maybe we might want to consider looking into how this thing is being done" is interpreted "so, you want to scrap the whole way of doing things?"
Or more pointedly, "There is a systemic problem of how some law officers interact with people of color." is heard as "So, you hate all cops?"
On social media, this attitude just creates fruitless and frustrating flame wars. In life, it has deadly consequences as we have seen over the last couple of days. So, I think we all need to STOP. It is possible to support the good work that law enforcement officers do on a daily basis AND to demand that when one or some of those officers do wrong that they not be given a pass. And to realize/admit that those bad apples are more than just aberrations (even if they may be in the minority), to realize that there are systemic and societal issues of race that we need to have honest conversations about. But, we cannot have those vital conversations if we approach it from a position of protecting our view of either/or. Being willing to listen and to try to understand another viewpoint is not the same as agreeing with or giving into that viewpoint. But, it does, I think, demand a willingness to concede small points while standing firm on others.
I have no idea if any of what I have said makes any sense. I am frustrated and sad and scared and disheartened. I just feel like in our discourse we need to find some small point of agreement and build from that. Sadly, I do not think this happens very often in our world.
But, this is a music blog. I love music, and I believe that love is ultimately the answer to everything. Love with hard work, love with compromise, love with actions, love with heart-felt disagreements, love in all of it's complicated versions and varieties. As I said, I love music - so for today, I will share the love by sharing some music. Some of it you may like, some of it you may not, but I send it all out with love.
Speak powerfully against hate and fear, but speak powerfully out of love. Combat hate and fear with love not with more hate or fear.
"Greenville Trestle High" by Ivas John
We start off with another lovely song from Ivas John's album Good Days a Comin'. It sure doesn't feel that way sometimes, but hope is important.
"Hamady" by Pony Girl
Up next is another song from Foreign Life by the Canadian band Pony Girl. This is really cool music you should check out.
"Sackful of Cash" by Clint Morgan
Earlier this week, we had a song by Clint Morgan off of his Scofflaw album about robbing banks. This would seem to be obvious next steps of that song.
"Baltimore" by Darryl Purpose
I love Darryl Purpose's songs and his voice is so rich. This song tells the tragic story of Edgar Allen Poe who spent his last days in the Bronx but died on the streets of Baltimore.
"After I Died" by Bashful Hips
Now we have the "kind of" title track from Bashful Hips CD, After I Died, I've Never Felt So Alive. Bashful Hips has a big show coming up next week at The High Watt.
"Kiss Me" by Christopher Bell
Christoper Bell is not to be confused with the late Chris Bell of Big Star (even though the search engines keep trying to direct me that way.) He is a cellist who uses that instrument in some very interesting ways. The video is a cover of a Howlin' Wolf song that you may not generally associate with the cello."Sing" by Ilana J
A bouncy, upbeat song from this singer/songwriter from Birmingham (not Alabama)
"Abac" by Zaibatsu
Italian pregressive rock band, Zaibatsu returns to the shuffle with a track from the Zero.
"Black Horses" by Elouise
Elouise describe their music as Blackgrass. Pitch dark, authentic sounding roots music. Deep Water is the name of the album. Elouise does not have any videos (that I can find) on YouTube. So here is their first video for the title track.
"Long Rope" by Joe Mansman and The Midnight Revival Band
And we close out this shuffle with a nifty tune. I have been following the music of Joe Mansman since I wrote about his old band Cosmonauts. The Midnight Rival have a really cool sound, and I love this song a bunch.