on Thursday, February 28, 2008

A song consists basically of a melody and lyrics. Add to that the nuances of arrangement and use of different musical instruments to create the emotive atmosphere for the songs message. The best songs are probably when all the elements combine and the sum becomes more than just the addition of its parts.

However, some songs have such powerful melodies and words that often the simplest presentation is best and where more complex arrangements and use of instruments merely detract from the songs elemental beauty. It would be like having the freshest fish but cooking it and smothering it with a strong tomato sauce until the natural sweetness of the fish is lost and overwhelmed.

And so in this manner, I occasionally come across a song which I like and which I find that the lyrics are special enough to hold my attention on their own. Many of Leonard Cohen's songs fit this category and I have posted on them before. More recently, I came across a song by Gretchen Peters which fits the bill too.

I have to say that I know next to nothing about Gretchen Peters other than that she is a singer-songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. However this lyrics of this song just speaks volumes to me. The song has three verses and each verse seems to tell a totally separate story linked only by the fact that each of them is about an aviator and each of them is about parting. It is called the "Aviator's Song"

you fell out of the sky when you were 21
your bomber took a bullet from a german gun
did you think about your wife
your brief and tender life
did you pray to anyone?

how does it feel when you’re falling
can you hear sweet angels calling
is it empty up in space
did you touch god’s holy face
did you tremble, did you cry
did you fall or did you fly

you fell out of your life when you were 43
you saw her and you thought she was your destiny
you wandered from the path
and we cursed your aftermath
but that’s ancient history


you make it so damn hard to love you
i don’t know why i even try
and all i ever wanted of you
to take me with you when you fly

you fell out of my life one last time today
i held your hand and watched you as you slipped away
you cast your pilot’s eye to the endless open sky
and i sent you on your way


(Gretchen Peters was selected as the Folkwax 2007 Artiste of the Year. Keep an eye out for her as her star continues to climb. In the meantime, her songs (including The Aviator's Song) is playing on the LGS Radio located on the sidebar).


Tai said...

I did actually shiver when I read those lyrics.

Dr.John said...

THat was a powerful song indeed. I can see why you liked it.

Janice Thomson said...

I agree with Tai - especially the last verse - very touching. So where's the music? She's got a lovely voice.

Janice Thomson said...

Well forevermore there it is in your sidebar. It is a beautiful song Lgs.

MedStudentWife said...

makes me think of some of Mike Oldfield's work

obtw.. I just love Leonard Cohen's work. Your blog on Stan Rogers..hmmm.. another big fav of mine.

jmb said...

Now I want to hear this song. No Youtube video? No fair LGS.

Ah Leonard Cohen! Just as long as he doesn't sing them himself. Well I suppose I'm used to him now.

Odat said...

Wow...very powerful, but sweet.
Made me cry. Thanks for sharing that!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am glad I am not the only one.

I feel that the song speaks of how tragedy and problems will come into our lives but the question it asks is when that happens, will we fly or will we fall?

Glad you found the song in the sidebar. Had you heard of Gretchen Peters?

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Are you sure we aren't twins?

I have included the song in my little radio station which is embedded in my sidebar. Hope you find it and have a listen.

May you fly. God bless.

tsduff said...

That song, along with the picture you posted was simply stunning. Thanks for the intro to Gretchen Peters.

Josie said...

LGS, that song actually gave me goose bumps when I read the lyrics.

I'm going to check your side bar now and listen to the song.

Open Grove Claudia said...

You have such an amazing sense of things - that's why you are such a dear. My D? Yeah. Two minutes ago, he came up singing "don't look now momma's got her boobs out showing everybody in town" - it can be a little frightening here... but never ever dull! ;)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Gretchen's new to me too, so we can discover her together.

I wish I could write like that. Yea, giving people goosebumps is a talent!

Why thank you fo the kind words though I am not sure quite what you mean. As for D, tell him I'll learn the chorus of er, his song, and do a duet with him.

Jocelyn said...

I love how you always direct us to good stuff. I'd never heard of her!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks. I am just sharing things that interest me. I am so glad that you and others like them too.

meggie said...

I listened to that very beautiful song LGS. I felt it might be her father? One story?
Just a thought, but it is very haunting.
I love Leonard Cohen's songs- even with him singing them!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I hadn't thought of that but that really works if the first story is about her father. Thanks for the insight. I like the question posed in the midst of those difficult moments, "Did you fall or did you fly?"

Rob Hopcott said...

Wonderful lyrics, wonderful songs.

I too love Leonard Cohen for the poetry of his words.

Many people in my folk music playing idiom regard him as being depressing. I don't agree - he makes wonderful music with wonderful lyrics :-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. I will be coming over to learn more about folk music from you and your blog. Don't be a stranger here either.

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