music for a summer day


    Summer has finally made it’s way here: the day is clear and we’re going to hit 80. (I realize that’s spring for you Texas folks.) Since I wrote about “Angel from Montgomery,” I’ve had songs on my mind and have now spent the better part of the morning perusing Youtube to see what I can find to share of some of my favorite songs and performers.

    “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen

    I love this song because of the experience of seeing him live and getting to sing along with “Show a little faith — there’s magic in the night . . .” This ranks up there as one the best ballads around.

    From one Bruce to another, here’s Bruce Cockburn’s “Lovers in a Dangerous Time.”

    The video shows quickly that the album came out in the Eighties; the lyrics are timeless:

    Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by
    You never get to stop and open your eyes
    One day you’re waiting for the sky to fall
    The next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all
    When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
    Lovers in a dangerous time

    Following the lovers theme, here’s an amazing clip of John Hiatt singing “Have a Little Faith in Me.”

    Hiatt’s touring partner this summer is Shawn Colvin. “I Don’t Know Why” is one of her most beautiful melodies.

    I don’t know why
    The trees grow so tall
    And I don’t know why
    I don’t know anything at all
    But if there were no music
    Then I would not get through
    I don’t know why
    I know these things, but I do

    Those words are true for me. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “The Moon and Saint Christopher” is one of those essential melodies, covered here by Mary Black.

    Pierce Pettis has made a point of covering at least one Mark Heard song on each of his CDs since Heard’s death fifteen years ago. “Nod Over Coffee” is at the top of the list.

    If we could see with wiser eyes
    What is good and what is sad and what is true
    Still it would not be enough
    Could never be enough

    So we nod over coffee and say goodbye
    Bolt the door it’s time to go
    Into the car with the radio on
    Roll down the window and blow the horn

    The video begins with a very old clip of Pierce playing the song with Mark.

    Here’s an old clip of Nanci Griffith and John Prine singing his song, “The Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” He must be a great songwriter — he rhymed surly and curly.

    One last song. Emmylou Harris wrote one of her best songs out of her grief at Gram Parson’s death. This song, “Boulder to Birmingham,” lives deep down inside me.

    I would rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham
    I would hold my life in his saving grace.
    I would walk all the way from Boulder to Birmingham
    If I thought I could see, I could see your face.

    Perhaps the words feel a little melancholy for a summer day, but they’re music to my ears and my heart.



    1. This is so lovely. I’m saving it up as a treat for the next few days.

      But the siren call is strong and is telling me to put off the housework and come listen NOW, but so far I’ve resisted (except for the Springsteen)!

    2. “I Don’t Know Why” by Shawn Colvin is one of my all-time favorite songs. I first heard it on a compilation CD of love songs that I picked up on a whim. I agree; those words are true for me as well. Love the video! Thanks for digging it up.

    3. Haha, I exchanged CD’s with a friend of mine Saturday. She put Pierce Pettis and Shawn Colvin plus many others, I gave her Patty Griffin, Eliza Gilkyson, Bob Schneider and others.

      Now I listened to Thunder Road but then had to flip over to hear Jungleland…beneath the city two hearts beat.

    4. Thank you! The haunting voice of Mary Black has been a wonderful way to start the morning.

      Thank you for your blog, too. I always come away feeling somehow nourished.

    5. We love so much of the same music. Thanks for all of these clips, especially the one with Pierce Pettis. I can hardly believe Mark Heard has been gone 15 years.

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