A Change Is Gonna Come

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On this Martin Luther King Day, it’s easy to feel like there’s not much to celebrate with regard to race relations here in the U.S., or equality in general. Like progress has been lost, and that we’re going backward as a society. I do believe some progress has been lost, and that there are pockets of our society trying very hard to move us all backward. If American history teaches us anything, it’s that the our motto might as well be “one step forward, two steps back.” But we do take those forward steps. Progress can’t be stopped, not completely, not for long. It’s a runaway train, because humanity demands it be so. Since our inception, Americans have fought over who counts and who gets left behind. More and more of those who would be left behind refuse to stay that way. They – we – insist on standing up, having our voices heard, and being counted, fully, as equal citizens. As human beings. When I think about that, about how the new Congress is the most diverse in our nation’s history, about all those voices that won’t be silenced, who insist “this is our country, too” – I think maybe there’s still room for hope. For change.

#MusicMonday – Free Fallin’

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Been a while since I blogged. (Looks at the date of my last post, cringes.) A long while. I guess not many people blog anymore, I don’t know. I don’t keep up anymore with what authors are supposed to be doing on their websites and social media. I just know that I’ve always wanted to be a music writer, maybe a music historian, so here goes. From now on, unless I have a new release (something else I haven’t done in a while, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for later this year), my blog’s going to be all about music. Posting may be a little uneven as I figure out what I’m doing, but I think I’ll put something up at least twice a week. Mondays will vary. On Fridays, I’ll serialize my paranormal music stories.

I’m going to start with a couple of favorites. One of the music books I love most is Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs. This collection of writings is legendary, deservedly so, and well worth a read by anyone who loves music. Capturing the essence of music in prose is notoriously difficult. Lester brought rock and roll to vivid life in his articles for Rolling Stone, Creem, and other magazines. My favorite quote from the book is one that resonates with me deeply.

That constant search for new music, taking the long way just to blast a great song in your car, late at night when it’s just you and the headphones or the earbuds and a playlist that fits your mood or gets you out of a mood. Sometimes the music has Great Meaning. Sometimes it’s just a banger that sounds good loud. Sometimes it’s a song that was whatever you needed in a particular moment, so it stays with you forever.

Sometimes it’s a bit of all three and more.

I was in high school when Free Fallin’ introduced me to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. There’s a list of songs that have worked their way not just under my skin but right into my DNA, and this is one of them. I love blasting it in the car, I love listening to it in a world of my own inside the boundaries of headphones, it makes me think and it makes me sing along and it makes me inexplicably happy. To me, that’s exactly what Lester was talking about in that quote, with his vast scenic bridges and angelic choirs, slapping on sides and feeling good.

Lester and Tom are both gone now, at rest in rock and roll. I’m thankful for what they left us.