Music is a thread. It knits us together in fellowship, ties our emotions back together when they fracture and punctuates many of life’s great moments and deepest tragedies. It’s a language that we all speak.
When I started at LEO, many moons ago as a freelancer, I was asked to write about music. The editor knew that I’d hosted a music festival and maybe knew that I had some writing acumen? Who knows but he found me and asked if I’d be interested in writing for LEO about music.
When I got the call from him, I’d just lost a job — a situation that gave me severe stress reactions. It was one of the moments where a white woman had weaponized her tears against me and I made the mistake of fighting back. To be fair, what I was fighting for was a job that I didn’t need and that was making me very unhealthy. So losing that job was the absolute best thing that could have happened. Hindsight, of course and I feel like we’ve had this chat before.
The window that opened with LEO in that dark after-period, would shift my life completely and it started with music.
When I was invited to the pages of the paper, I knew that I didn’t want to write about bands in a traditional way nor did I want to do reviews. I thought hard about what I wanted to say about music and decided that I would write about music in a way that illuminated how we lived with it.
How music saves us and how we make our way in the world accompanied by a soundtrack, mostly of our choosing.
My first column, “Me vs. Music: Lift Me Like An Olive Branch,” offered a bit of background about why I decided to approach writing about music in that way. What that did was to allow me the space to use music to laugh, to cry — to release years of trauma at the readers’ expense. Thanks y’all.
Anyway, as you read this new issue, I want you to think about how you live with music. How does it serve you and how to do you use it when you want to feel better, to process life, or to just complete basic daily tasks like cleaning (see: Me vs. Music: Clean Cole).
Music is a visceral experience, even when we aren’t actively choosing music, we’re probably tapping, or humming or finding rhythm in something around us. We’re just built that way.
As I’m wrapping this up, I remembered one of the first songs that made me cry — if you laugh, we’re not friends anymore. But, if you’ve never heard “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey, then give yourself a treat and listen to this terribly sad story of a girl and her horse based on a ghost story Murphey’s granddad told him. I was a sucker for drama at a very young age and well on my way to being the adult spooky muffin that I am today.
If you get the urge for something funny, sometimes thoughtful or just plain, ‘wtf,’ go back and check out when I was a newbie LEO writer trying to figure out why music was just so important. I even spilled the beans on my ridiculous high school nickname. •