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Once again, I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the world and "humankind's inhumanity to fellow humans"... and I am also overwhelmed by the divides we see - especially (as far as I can tell) in this country - between people. I see all sorts of layers and causes and symptoms of this problem, but for right now, I don't see any or much hope of a solution.
Does social media exacerbate the problem or merely amplify it? Comment sections on any even vaguely political post are depressing as hell. And, just about anything and everything is at least potentially political. Food, sports, weather, fast food cups, innocuous holiday greetings... all political and by definition divisive in these times. And I want to blame it all on the OTHER side- I really do... but... THE OTHER SIDE is part of the problem. Everything seems to viewed as a one or the other, all or nothing proposition. Shop a particular store, well, you must be (fill in the blank). Watch a particular sport... you get the idea.
I don't feel like I know a whole lot about much of anything, but in my life, I have ascertained that almost everything is more complex than it seems to be... especially if people are involved. I guess it is a sort of human nature to put people or things into categories... good, evil, progressive, conservative, pro, anti... people rarely ever fit neatly into boxes we design - especially if there are only ever two choices.
The point I am trying to make is that this either/or thinking tends to back people into a corner. It says you can't be this one thing without being all these other things which get conflated with that one thing. Faced with that, people dig in and end up feeling the need to support something that they might otherwise never support.
I already said, I don't see a solution in sight - at least not an easy one. All I know to do is to watch and check myself when I find myself exhibiting this either/or mentality or projecting all sorts of things onto people because of one particular aspect of who they are.
That and music (although that can and has been politicized)... for me music heals a part of me that is damaged and in pain. For me it is certain songs, artists, styles of music. For someone else, it may be something else (that I may not like or understand) and that is okay. If music (any music) does that for someone - then who the hell am I to criticize that?
It's a misty, overcast raining Monday in Nashville. And the world is a harsh and bitter place sometimes. Here's some music that helped make it a little better this morning for me....
"Your Dad's Old Car" by Nick Nace
First up is a track from Canadiana Americana - the most recent release from Nick Nace. Grateful to Jon Latham for leading me to Nick Nace. A great songwriter with a wonderful voice. Nace has been doing some touring in recent months. If he comes to your town, check him out.
"Treasured Lies" by Black Needle Noise with Zialand
Next up, we have the lead track from Lost in Reflections. This time, John Fryer is joined by Zialand - who grew up in Greenland and Norway and who later moved to Australia. Here they effectively walk the line between industrial and pop. This is a really good album, and I am so happy to have the chance to feature tracks from it.
"K" by Pylon Reenactment Society
Next up, another release I am thrilled to have the chance to feature. Another track from Part Time Punks Sessions by Pylon Reenactment Society. "K" was the lead track from the album Chomp by Pylon. Pylon Reenactment Society plays the music of Pylon in the spirit of that legendary Athens band. PRS features Vanessa Briscoe Hay who happened to have been in the aforementioned band, Pylon. Knowing that Pylon was influential to so much of the music of my youth, it is fun listening to fresh takes on these great songs.
"Interstate Blues" by Bark
As far as transitions go, it is not too far of a leap to get from Pylon to Knoxville's Bark. This is the first of two tracks in today's shuffle from Year of the Dog - the full-length debut from the duo that features Tim Lee and Susan Bauer Lee.
"Coal Black Water" by Nathan Bell
Once again, I am grateful for songwriters who use their medium to speak truth. Nathan Bell has been doing that for a long time. This is a powerful and truthful song from his album Love > Fear (48 Hours in Traitorland). The album is one of my favorites of the year.
"Slap It On" by Jefferson Ross
On this track from Live at Hillbilly Haiku - Jefferson Ross speaks to the inherent power in creativity - specifically here in painting. With a bit of art history thrown in for good measure.
"Josephine" by Applewood Road
Next up, another track from the self-titled album by the powerhouse trio of Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth, and Amy Speace. Their album was recorded live in analog around one microphone. The results are crisp and clean and gorgeous harmonies.
"World of Regret" by Bark
And we close out with another track from Year of the Dog - from one of my daughter Adelai's favorite bands. The song is about subject I know all too much about.