As if I am an expert (in anything), let me quote myself: “Music, in itself, is an amazingly mysterious being (to me, anyway). Even when it seems simple it certainly is not. It is not unlike our familial lineage…”
I do not quoth myself to float thine own boat. I do not retell the above without a point. I live with a fixation on family: not just in the normal sense people assume when they hear that word, ‘family’, either. It’s not about my mother and father or my child, though those connections are strong but instead I am helplessly drawn to other’s connections. Megafaun, for instance, isn’t just about the music for me. It’s about seeing men, grown men, in tears on a random Tuesday, on a random stage in a random state not their own, declaring love for each other and meaning it. It is a sentiment felt in the music, one I cannot help but hear, one that hits me in the face every time I spin those records. It is a feeling you can’t fake. I like that. I consistently find myself clutching onto music like this, grabbing at its limbs and listening again and again, looking for that feeling. Headphones, volume at 10. It’s not that I lack it in real-time in my life, it’s that I’m drawn to that thing which cannot be said. It can only be felt.
Yesterday, I quickly mentioned an outfit that calls itself Dry Creek. I hope you listened. While listening to Dry Creek, I received an email from the man behind it and became aware of the connections between the aforementioned Dry Creek and The Beaten Sea, a band I spoke of here long ago. When I stumbled first upon the latter mix of people picking banjos and employing singing saws, I remember listening with an open heart and filling up with words. I loved it but still, I was nonchalant. And this is my point: I guess I wasn’t really listening. Yesterday, after exchanging emails with a man who is wont to drum lightly upon taped up tambourines, I dug in deeper and I found that familial connection I hadn’t noticed before. Because I was initially aloof I missed something that has the power to move and open eyes. The music is fantastic, yes. But it’s not just that.
In an age where we as a people, a people so obviously desperate for connections and love and the feeling of something real, tend to glorify musicians (and I use that term loosely) that put none of those sentiments into the music they give us and we reap what we sow. In my eyes the population suffers — we are bitter and we are cynical. We lose faith in the healing properties of music and we stop looking for it because we forget that it can even exist there. When I say that America would be better off if a bigger majority of us listened to say, Dan Auerbach, I’m not fucking around. If everyone in our land took 3 minutes, sat down in the quiet and really listened to The Beaten Sea (or any part of The Dallas Family Band), I truly believe things would seem better.
The Dallas Family Band. Let Jacob Metcalf be your big brother, the one who you probably converse with little but the one who kicks the ass of that jerk boy who broke your heart. Let Dry Creek be your eccentric uncle, there for that pick-me-up when you need it and one from your sister just won’t do. Let The Beaten Sea be your father, the man who is consistently there, the man who is big and bold and loves you unconditionally. Fall upon this family as you would your own. It’s not as hard as one might think to make these comparisons and further, those feelings of family and love within this music aren’t that hard to find if you’ll just stop and look for it.
You cannot touch the love between siblings. You cannot fuck with the love a mother feels for her child. But there is something nearly as staggering to me held inside the love people share when they have the choice to share it at all. Not every band has it, not every group of people who aligns themselves together in studios and stages feels it for their mates. And so when we find it in our music, I suggest we honor it just as we would the love we feel for our grandmothers. You take care of it and nurture it; you write it love letters.
If you’re out there listening today and if you happen to be searching for something, ANYTHING (and aren’t we all?), then listen harder. I bet you’ll find it in here.
Below, check The Beaten Sea live (it’s so glorious) and listen to various parts that make up the brood that call themselves The Dallas Family Band.
Jacob Metcalf :: Fjord [STREAM]
Dry Creek :: A Woman Sings To Me [STREAM]
Fox and the Bird :: White Rock Lake (Live) [STREAM]
The Beaten Sea :: Hard Way [STREAM]
VISIT Jacob Metcalf’s MYSPACE
DOWNLOAD The Songs of Dry Creek