Song that reminds you of someone……
photo credit: Jamie Smith
The list is endless in this category. I instantly start thinking of lost loved ones and songs that have attached themselves to my memories of them and their time on earth. So as a tribute to Eugene, my Grandpa Smith for Father’s Day this weekend I had to go with the man in black. Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire instantly brings vivid images of Grandpa Smith to mind. He was a lover of old country, Hank Williams Sr and Johnny Cash are always at the forefront of my musical memories. I have so much respect for early country, the twang and simplicity is very raw and you cannot deny the pure brilliance in the lyrics. I kid mostly about the lyrics, but I must say that as an avid anti-country fan I do very much appreciate the early works of the pioneers of that genre. Johnny Cash was a dark and toturtured soul and it showed in his music.
Ring of Fire takes me to my Grandpa’s shop, it takes me to the old greyhound bus converted to a camper that my grandparents had for so many years. Grandpa Smith was not like Johnny Cash at all, he was a genuine soul with a heart of gold. He was well-known and well loved.
Pictured above on machinery from his excavation business. His humouress side shines though as you see the cutout of the woman in the background, he always loved jokes and making people smile. Whether it was hanging stuffed animals from trees to entertain the children at the campground or taking the grandkids for rides in the dump truck or relaxing on the porch with Grandma and anyone who dropped by to visit, he always had a smile for you.
Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
When I was a tween, my favourite movie was “Troop Beverly Hills.” Probably not something most people admit, but I once took the Wildnerness Girl cookie song and reworked the words for a project in the 8th grade and sang along to it in front of the class. Despite my penchant for the dramatic, it was the first time I really questioned my abject need for positive attention.
Jenny Lewis was in that movie. She played Hannah Nefler – Shelley Long’s daughter. Shocking to discover that little tidbit, but I did the first time I started listening to Rilo Kiley. Interesting that a bit of a fluffy/cute film you loved as a kid comes back into your life later, now represented in musical form.
I only noted Jenny Lewis’ solo efforts recently. Specifically her album, Rabbit Fur Coat, where she the Watson Twins (an alternative “country” group out of LA). The title track is my song for today.
Generally speaking, the album is a bit more “country” than my usual style. And I don’t love all of it. However, Rabbit Fur Coat is a song so honest and biographical, you can’t help but like it for its simplicity. It leaves behind a need for a lot of instrumental, focusing on a uncomplicated acoustic sound, which allowed me to hear more of the meaning behind the lyrics. Of course, I’m making wide presumptions of the self-biographical nature of the song (i.e. Lewis’ childhood acting career, the idea that a rabbit fur coat is the height of status), but it made me think. And consider Jenny Lewis’ story.
So, today, when faced with rain and gloom and a crushing political defeat to swallow (forgive the continued political posturing), the song was one that easily led to a bit of self-reflection.