“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.
If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”
– Charlie Parker
Ah! How great is that? Beautiful words, Mr. Parker — I just adore that sentiment.
I touched a couple weeks ago on feeling homesick, and of course, on using music to ease my heartache. In that post I referenced a song by The Apache Relay in which they sing, “Home is not places, it is love.” One of the most cherished life experiences is when you meet a person/ visit a place/ hear a song that almost instantaneously becomes a part of you. Connection times ten. A fusion occurs; inexplicably you and that person/ place/ song take on a similar molecular make-up. That’s home. That sense of belonging, that kinship, is what makes life such a glorious journey.
I have a handful of friends that I fit with in this way. I crave their company because the sun seems brighter and warmer when I’m with them; they allow me to blossom into the very best version of myself. There are also places that I feel this way about; cities in which I can wander aimlessly and alone and feel perfectly content. It’s as though the air itself is laced with love, the breeze a gentle caressing hug. And yes, there are entire albums that when I press play everything that is upside down, or slightly unsettled in my life, rights itself and all the madness simply evaporates.
We all press play for different reasons. For some, music is white noise; they need something to fill the void, to keep them company, to mask the silence. Others respond more bodily to music and will listen to whatever makes them FEEL good. They crave the groove; they like music that speaks to them on a physical level. And still others, like me, look to music for all of their basic needs: nourishment, mental stimulation, physical stimulation, relaxation. Most of the time, I find “music” to be synonymous with “air”. Music is the one thing that comes closest to meeting all my essential desires. That should make me pretty easy to please, right? Press play and a good day gets better. Press play and a bad day fades away. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. My ears are extremely selective and then there’s the issue of my heart. If the lyrics suck, it doesn’t matter if the beat is good. It doesn’t matter how great the lyrics are, if the vocals grate on my nerves. And an angelic voice is lost on me if there is no conviction in the song being sung. (To think, I’ve been called a music snob. :-) Pshh.)
And yet, praise Apollo — somehow there is still a plethora of music out there that meets my criteria. I may kiss a few frogs and I’ve looked under more than one rock, but I always find my way to the good stuff. Or it finds me. And then I sit back, relax, and get my MIND BLOWN by the simple fact that there are individuals (and musical collectives) out there singing my heart and making music that I swear is just for me. Geez, narcissistic much?!
Shane Alexander falls into the crafted-just-for-me-plays-my-heart-100%-of-the-time category. If I were judging an album on vocals, lyrics, overall musicianship, and song structure — Shane hits four out of four. Oh, and he’s crazy good live, too. He has released four full albums brimming with timeless songs. Each album has a special place in my listening rotation. His music has a way of simultaneously calming my spirit and lighting a fire in it. Shane’s lyrics travel through my ear canals and leave an imprint on my heart. There’s an ambient quality to his music that can lull me into a dreamy sleep, all the while subtly imbedding messages in my mind that make me see things clearer the next morning. (I have a practice of counting blessings before sleep, and more than once I’ve said a silent Thank You for Shane’s songs.)
“Music has always been the center of my universe and it’s where I escape to.
It’s always been my dearest friend.
I think I’ve just connected with music on a spiritual level since I was a child;
I get a lot of joy from it.
Traveling, and meeting people,
and performing it just gets me off; it’s my thing.
I’ve tried to fight it, but it’s who I am.
It’s what I do.”
Shane Alexander’s music has that “home” quality for me. He writes the kind of songs that I want to soundtrack my days. He is in the process of making his fifth album and he’s doing an exciting Pledge Campaign with some fabulous give-aways for pledgers. Definitely check this out.
Shane worked with director and visionary, Chris Cesnek, for these two music videos. They create conceptual magic together and I can watch/ listen on repeat. ♥
Shane recenty did an interview with PledgeMusic about the making of his new album and when asked how he’s evolved since he released his last album, Mono Solo, he responded, “I’ve just come into a state of perpetual gratitude. I have the love and support of so many, and I never take that for granted.” Boom. It doesn’t get better than that.