Harbinger, Sage or Fool

September 22: Restless Heart – Let the Heartache Ride (1985)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/09/22

This goes out to my very close friend Val who I’ve known for well over 20 years now… one of my few friends who has as great of an appreciation of 1980’s country music as I do.  We have a mutual affinity for this song which was Restless Heart’s first radio single 25 years ago.

September 15: Rick Trevino – Learning As You Go (1996)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/09/15

Sometimes the greatest successes are built off the ruins of failure.

I have been blessed with gifts and talents and opportunities for many things in life and I’ve been fortunate to be given chances to make use of those.  I’ve also at times fallen short; tried things I wanted to do only to find that I wasn’t up to the task.  In those moments I had to make a choice: keep trying or try something else.  In different situations I’ve made each of those choices… be it the class as an undergraduate I had to retake, which gave me the opportunity to take it in a very different environment and exposed me to things beyond the classroom… as well as my initial career plan of being a high school teacher which I discovered wasn’t meant for me and gave me the encouragement to go back to college to get my Master’s degree.

I’m concerned about our society insofar as we seem to protect our youth too much from failure.  Obviously not all are shielded from it but an increasing number of young people go through life always having the door pushed open for them even when they haven’t done enough to open it for themselves.  Worse yet, they never learn why the didn’t succeed in the first place and they don’t learn anything about being successful in the future… so when they come to a door that no one can or will push open for them, they are stuck.  Learning to deal with failure is part of life and its a privledge none too desired but necessary in our growth as people.

September 8: Jeff Carson – The Car (1995)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/09/08

This past weekend I began teaching my son how to drive a stick-shift.  Having reached the age to have a permit and having practiced a little in my wife’s automatic transmission car, I realized the time of helping him learn how to handle a manual was at hand.  I have to admit a bit of fear and resistance–none of which was due to him.  Learning to drive a stick requires patience and I’m still learning how to have patience.

I’m happy (and proud and relieved) to say the first lesson went smoothly.  His initial attempt did not but that was okay.  We laughed and listened to each other; gradually he started learning the touch and timing it takes orchestrating the movement of the pedals and the shifting of the gears.  He still needs time, practice, and yes patience, but I feel confident he will get it.  Last night I let him onto the road with it a little bit and, while not perfect, he did a safe and convincing job of handling the car.

I love my stick-shift car.  While I’m not mechanically inclined myself, I respect the inner-workings of the vehicle and those who can work on them to get it going and keep it going.  My father is one of those individuals with a lot of God-given talent for working with his hands.  While this song focuses on the relationship between a father and son where working on the car is involved, I think the greater picture of a car bonding generations even fits me.  As I’ve mentioned a time or two before, I’m thankful for having a good relationship with my son and I’m happy to know that I can pass a little something automotive to him… even if it’s merely how to handle a car that won’t change gears on its own.

MAKEUP September 4: Chris Cagle – What Kind of Gone (2007)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/09/06

MAKEUP September 1: Radney Foster – Nobody Wins (1993)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/09/06

August 25: Joe Diffee – Ships That Don’t Come In (1992)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/08/25

A reoccurring theme of previous posts has been my admission to being a melancholy, moody sort at various times in my life.  It’s a part of who I am whether I want it to be or not.  Still, I don’t think in general I’m a sad person because I’m self-aware of the swings in my feelings.

In high school this became of my favorite songs to remind myself that life could always be worse; which isn’t to say things weren’t sometimes very frustrating or depressing, but a proper perspective is important when so many others have dealt with far worse.

August 18: Vince Gill – Turn Me Loose (1984)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/08/18

Some artists hit the scene with the full fury of a storm and over take everything in its wake (although often they blow over rather quickly rarely to be heard again).  Other artists who eventually succeed get started with good material but an inability to break through initially to make an impact.  As significant as Vince Gill is in modern country music (4 #1s, 15 Top 5s), amazingly he barely cracked the top 40 with any of his first three singles (this song in particular peaked at #39).  Yet, some in the industry thought enough of him to award him a new artist award in 1984 in spite of his very moderate success.

I bring in this story as a metaphor for some of the students I teach.  They may not find success at the beginning but it isn’t for a lack of effort or direction, they simply need time for the foundation to take hold.  As the cliché goes, it isn’t where you start that matters but instead it where you end up and how you got there.  This goes out for all the students who stick with it; when you do the right things, you’ll be successful in one way or another.

August 13: Garth Brooks – Standing Outside the Fire (1993)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/08/13

So this is my last weekday before I head back to the classroom next week.  While part of me wouldn’t mind staying home indefinitely, there of course is the rest of me which is ready to get to work again.  I enjoy what I do and I am fascinated with meeting new faces each semester.

On a tangential note with reference to the song and the video I chose, I want to show my appreciation to our firefighters.  My father was a fireman when I was born before a rather frightening experience when I was little made my mother insist he change careers.  I know how often growing up he said he missed it and I remember feeling very sympathetic to him when he observed that one of his buddies he started with was now the fire chief in a sizable city in Mississippi.  Sometimes we have to make choices that are in our best interests but it’s impossible to completely let go of the thoughts that come from wishing life could’ve been different.

August 11: Rhett Akins – Don’t Get Me Started (1996)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/08/11

In the midst of this week where I’m pulling out appropriate song titles (for getting back to work), I ran across this song which reminded me that at some point in the future I’m gonna do a week of lost 90s country music songs (and no snide remarks that maybe they should stay lost).  In my run of getting to work in radio while I was in college I was lucky to get to exposed to everything that came out, hit or not, and in the future I’ll bring some songs out of the closet for a week of memories.

I loved this song when it came out… it came out after my wife and I got married and took me back to memories of when we were first dating.  From the beginning we spent a lot of time together and I remember having feelings I couldn’t compare to anything.  Being the talkative type anyway, I think I probably bent some people’s ears a little too hard talking about those times.  So even now, hearing this song gives me warm fuzzies reminding me of where it started and how fortunate I am to have a wonderful wife.

August 4: Elvis Presley – Always On My Mind (1972)

Posted in Country, Songs I Like by harbinger75 on 2010/08/04

Having already used my favorite version of this song (June 2: Willie Nelson), I will slot this version in (which is also very good) as the first half of this week’s theme “Take Two”.  This being country music Wednesday, it also fits the bill as this song charted (as a B-side) on the country singles chart in 1972.

Every so often in society we have seminal events; events that were so significant that everything about the moment is written solidly into your memories.  For our present generation, the events of 9-11 fit the description perfectly.  In my life time the only other event of similar magnitude was the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster but to varying degrees nearly equal events include the fall of the Berlin Wall,  the OJ Simpson car chase and criminal trial verdict, the Oklahoma City bombing,  and others (I was too young to remember President Reagan or the Pope being shot in 1981 as well as the Miracle on Ice in 1980).

For my mother, in addition to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the moon, the death of Elvis was one of her seminal events growing up.  I never really appreciated the effect it could’ve had on her until last year’s death of Michael Jackson, who for me wasn’t necessarily beloved but was respected for his artistic talent and impact.  To see how some people grieved for him made me realize the enormous emotional feelings some people have for singers… it’s part of our culture to be moved in ways far beyond our own small circles.