Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Song Tuesdays

You turn a blue eye to me and you look right through me
You said define what you think freedom means... if you want freedom
We can wake up this lullaby town
Burn through every red light I found
Lift a dust cloud
Break the speed of sound...
you could break free

It's amazing, is it not? How a song, no matter how long it's been since you have heard it - can immediately take you to a moment in time so clear and real it's as if it's happening all over again? As if it's no longer three, or five or ten years since the past. It's like a fresh breeze hitting me at the corner of ninth and forty-ninth, transporting me in milliseconds and miles to a Kansas plain.

It can bring tears to my ears and a smile to face like nothing else.

I remember the first time I heard Ellis Paul's song "Take All the Sky You Need."

I sat on a green slope of a hill, skirt billowing around me, head on Sam's shoulder watching boats slip by on the Hudson. It was within the first month of him moving to New York and we had traveled to the Clearwater Music Festival up-river, while most of our mutual friends had traveled west to the Smokey Hill. It was the first of many trips we would take separate, just the two of us, when it seemed everyone else was going elsewhere.

It was beautiful that day. There was one cloud on the sky. One clear, defined cloud, as if drawn by the spirits in mocking reminisce of a comic book. It floated directly above a tree in front of us, and there was a stage to our left - filled with a regular rotation of musicians. All of whom I would whisper as they began "He/She's my favorite."

But then Ellis Paul started to play. And I had never heard him before, but I immediately loved him. And what’s' more, when he came to the song "Take All the Sky You Need" - I immediately had to own it.

If you want to run I'll pack my suitcase
If you want to stay I'll make a front door key
And if you need space... to fly... free
Take all the sky you need

I never took falling in love or marriage very seriously. That summer was crazy for me, Sam and I creating a home together. I had never planned on sharing my home, really. Never thought it would work. I was fiercely independent, tied to my ways. I had plans, I had hopes. Sharing involved the dreaded "compromise." I could not. Would not.

Then, suddenly, I was looking up at deer antlers hanging on my bedroom wall.

And I knew, *I KNEW* that this all wasn't easy for Sam either. Sam the traveler, the gypsy. Who had equally set up his life, his ways.

Our lives had collided in a small 350 sq foot apartment just weeks before. In a surprisingly smooth manner. Oh, I had my breakdown. My sitting in the closet amongst boxes in tears over there NOT BEING ENOUGH ROOM FOR US BOTH. Calling Jan, frightened I had made a horrible horrible mistake.

That thought lasted about five minutes. An hour later we were already planning trips. Trips down to Florida, across the oceans, up the Hudson.

I stand on the rooftops; I look down on my story
And it swallows me
Beyond the horizon, the taillights, the glories,
Will you follow me?
(Freedom) I need to know who I am
(Freedom) I'm like a moth in your hand
(Sweet freedom) do I fly or stand?
Or fall on my knees?

And when I heard that song, sitting at the edge of the Hudson that day, I knew what my life would be like from that moment on. How I felt about Sam and I being together. What it would take, and what I was willing to give. It was like listening to our story, watching it wrap around that tree and head up straight to that crazy looking cloud.

In the beautiful, beautiful, clear blue sky.

If you want to run I'll pack my suitcase
If you want to stay I'll make a front door key
And if you need space... to fly... free
Take all the sky you need


Skye said...

Oh my goodness - this is so beautiful! That picture and especially this line: It was the first of many trips we would take separate, just the two of us, when it seemed everyone else was going elsewhere, something that seems to define a Relationship with a capital R: a special bond between you two that makes it unnecessary to huddle with the pack because the two of you MAKE a pack, your own little pack.

The words to this song touch me because of the balance that Paul's song hits: freedom given, but he's NOT GOING TO LET HER GO. He'll let her do what she needs to, be what she wishes, flutter about and he won't hold her down, no ...but he WILL come with her. This doesn't limit her choices and at the same time expresses his love and devotion and desire to share life with her.

M, I want this so bad that I physically ache for it. Someone to give me support and freedom and not confine me and at the same time love me enough to hold me close always - be my stable touchstone to come back to after my wild adventures in the world and when I want to run away they pack a lunch and come too. Sometimes I think it's just maybe possible, else why would songs be written about it if it didn't exist somewhere? Other times I know that it is a beautiful but an imaginary idealized once-upon-a-time fairy tale song.

~m said...

It's not a fairytale by a long shot, Skye. Not by a long shot.

That's why I like this song, it defines something I neevr thought I would find - and yet the first time I heard it it, I was sittign next to the one person in the world who would give it to me. And for whom I would pack the bags for if he needed.

SO hang in there. Relationships, I feel, ar eequal partnerships. Sure they involve compromise - but honestly - it never feels like that. Everything just feels like a grand, big adventure. And no matter what happens, it always all works out. 'Cause no matter what, it'sstill somehow against the odds - the two of you together.

RJM said...

Dear M,

As someone who’s written wonderful words about the great music coming from singer songwriter Ellis Paul – first I’d like to tell you thank you. I’ve been Ellis Paul's friend and manager since 1992 and his music, words and friendship are jewels in my life. Upon examining the state of the music industry, Ellis and I have realized that far and away the most important connections that we have are not at all on the business side of the equation – it’s the people that love Ellis’ music. They’re more important than the biggest retailer or the most powerful radio station - so we’re starting a campaign to empower the people. Ellis’ new album “The Day After Everything Changed” was completely funded by his fans and is one of the finest he’s ever recorded. Many of Ellis' fans and folks passionate about great songwriting don’t even know that it’s been released. So if you’d like to help support a truly independent artist – here’s how. The lead single track on TDAEC is “Annalee”, and if you go to www.ellispaul.com/free you can download “Annalee” for free. Unlike so many other free song offers – you don’t have to give us your email, sign up or register for anything at all. It’s free for the taking. The small favor we would ask? Please share it with any and all of your friends that would enjoy Ellis’ music. This would help our efforts and help spread the music. This truly is a campaign about the power of the people in the support of independent music and artists.

Please stay in touch.

And thank you.

Ralph Jaccodine, Manager