Songs of Hope 3
As we make our way through public and private conversation about immigration, environmental stewardship, and political change, there’s is music. Music to help with mulling these things over, to hearing these concerns as other generations have wrestled with them, to hear them as poets and musicians work with them. Continuing the series I’ve begun of songs of hope, here is a song that speaks to the troubles of race, one that considers, albeit a bit obliquely, environmental change, another that reframes the idea of refugees, and one that offers connection and friendship over the long haul struggle.
Give a listen to these; take your time with them. Go look up the albums on which they are recorded, too, and other work by these thoughtful artists, each of whom I’ve written about here at Music Road and elsewhere in my work. To borrow a line from one of Carrie Newcomer’s lyrics -- she is another artist whose work you should know -- “Light every candle that you can, we need some light to see...”
In her song Detroit Was Burning, Cathie Ryan moves from a child’s eye view to an adult’s reflection and remembrance of the riots in that Michigan city after mart Luther KIng was shot. She has recorded it on her album called Cathie Ryan.
Eddi Reader took a fragment of a Robert Burns song and made it into a story that is both a love song and a lament. Listen to that line about “they’re turning out all of the stars...” and others... This performance of the song Leezie Lindsay was recorded at the Celtic Connections Festival several years ago, and Emily Smith joins in on harmonies. The song is most readily available on the recent retrospective album Best of Eddi Reader.
Though you could call it a Christmas song -- Gretchen Peters has recorded on her Christmas album Northern Lights, after all -- the song Waitin’ on Mary has thought provoking words and images to offer about refugees. These resonate across seasons.
In this time of almost unending news that is awful, or at least difficult and challenging, it is wise to remember that it is a long road and many of us are walking it together. Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem offer a bit of hope and connection and wise words for the road with their song Shine On. It is recorded on their album Big Old Life.