My Dad would’ve turned 83 today, so you won’t blame me if I gave Steve Goodman’s ode to his father’s passing a spin. Singing in a rueful voice, the whisper of strings in the background, Goodman’s meditation on his Dad teeters on the maudlin. He saves the song with the honesty of his portrait and the truth he finds.
Archive for the ‘Singer Songwriter’ Category
Songs for Independence Day and the Fourth of July
It’s the Fourth of July and here’s a pack of songs you might want to check out. You can find the patriotic songs elsewhere and the songs perfect for your backyard BBQ abound on the web. This list includes songs that make a direct reference to the 4th of July or Independence Day or speak about an Independence Day. Some do both.
Hats off (To the Big Queen City)
Music and Lyrics by Phil Cody from Phil Cody’s album Sons of Intemperance Offering.
Singer-songwriter Phil Cody resides in Los Angeles, but he grew up in Cincinnati and it’s an exile’s love for his lost home that fuels this high-energy love letter of a song. You can feel the energy right from the opening big strums of the guitar joined by a raucous B-3 Hammond organ followed by some backgrounds shouts, “Hey, hey what are you doing?” Cody steps front and center to the microphone, “Hats off to the big Queens City/She is the lifeline to my heart.” No irony here, no subtlety, just joy and love. Ringing guitars, propulsive drums and that voice, full of yearning, make the case. Even the nonsense lines (“la de da…do it do it”) convey meaning and heart.
In a day when so many make sure they express their stand in the loudest way possible, a whisper can be powerful. The world is loud enough already and filled with dire arguments. Personal anecdotes become mere fodder for arguments and political stances. Sometimes we need stories that are personal and tender.
Catie Curtis delivers just such moments on her 1996 song, “Radical.” I imagine this song as the singer responding to her lover after an argument: meditative, generous and heartfelt. Arising from a lesbian relationship, the song avoids stridency and large political statements in favor of intimacy, a stripped down performance that centers on the voice and delivers lines that get to heart of this relationship.