Monday has arrived! The countdown has begun for the start of school – but at least out here, school waits until after Labor Day for the start date. That’s how it was when I was growing up, so it was disconcerting when Princess Nagger was in elementary school in Pennsylvania when school started the third week of August. I thought that was nuts! So I’m glad we’re back where Labor Day denotes the completion of summer.
Meanwhile, it’s Monday, and Monday means music! This month, our Honorary Conductor and Spotlight Dancer is Mary Burris of Jingle, Jangle, Jungle! Her theme choice for this week is “Songs/Artists with Animals in the title/name”. So many great choices – let’s get this party started!
First up is a song that is best described by the artist himself from his website:
“When I was a kid I worked for a rodeo company. The old timers who worked the stock and stuff in the back would carry a pint of whiskey in their pocket – they were just old cowboys. They would pull it out and say, ‘Here’s to me, here’s to you, we got screwed, so screw you, here’s to me.’ They always had some little toast. One was to hold up the bottle for a drink and say, ‘Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.’ I kept that in my head a long time thinking I’d write it some day.
We did finally, trying to say that maybe it’s time that justice gets back into the judicial system. The big posse goes out and catches the bad guys and everybody comes back to lick their wounds, remember the ones they lost and celebrate with the ones that made it back. You raise your glass and say, ‘Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses, bartender.’ One of those conceptual deals. Soon as we got done writing it I thought man, it’d be cool if we could talk Willie Nelson into singing the Texas verse on that. Obviously he went for it and I think it’s the biggest multi-week #1 either of us ever had.”
Here’s Toby Keith and Willie Nelson with “Beer For My Horses”:
Next up is a song I can’t remember where I first heard it (I think it was one of the episodes of The Blacklist), but it stuck in my head and I crank it up every time I hear it on the radio. The artist described the song as a metaphor for good and evil. She was quoted as saying:
“One summer, I was traveling in Greece on a little moped and this massive black horse had broken free in an olive grove and was going nuts. It looked apocalyptic: a seed was sown. I wrote the song years later in a tiny studio in Shepherd’s Bush. I was about to tour Scottish coffee shops and was worried about coming across like Phoebe from Friends.
At the same time I saw a brilliant guy called Son of Dave who looked like a ginger nylon 1980s’ Elvis: really raw blues with just voice and effects. I got a pedal and one of my techie friends helped me put myself and my guitar through it. It’s probably the most scientific I’ve been, but the song was written in a 10-minute burst. The lyrics where my ‘Heart stops dead’ refer to a heart murmur I had as a baby. I got into this fantasy that my heart felt betrayed and had decided to stop working. The song is about having to dig incredibly deep to find out who you wanna be.”
In 2007 Katharine McPhee was granted permission to cover the song on American Idol, in spite of the artist’s distaste for reality pop shows. She was pleased that Katherine demonstrated a bit of personality in what was otherwise a puppet show, and her appearance did the artist a lot of favors bringing the song to the forefront at the time.
Obviously it worked, since it’s still being played all these years later.
This next duo has been a long time favorite of mine, because they’re genuine and quirky. And genuinely quirky. An unconventional pair who were brought together back in 1998 after one had been fired from the original group he founded (Lonestar), and the other was playing at a club that the former’s girlfriend wanted to go see perform. A mutual friend introduced them after the show, and told them they should get together and write a song.
The rest, as they say, is history – the two collaborated and won the hearts of fans of multiple genres. You’ll know what I mean when you see them perform this next song that happens to be one of many of my favorites.
Last, but certainly not least, is a song both myself and Princess Nagger have been cranking up every time it comes on the radio. Throughout his life, this group’s front-man has struggled with depression, along with ADD, anxiety issues and a chronic inflammatory condition called ankylosing spondylitis. For this, the first song from the band’s third album, he sings about dealing with his emotional problems.
Singing from heart ache from the pain / Take up my message from the veins / Speaking my lesson from the brain / Seeing the beauty through the… pain!
He was quoted as saying:
“This last year has really been the most centered and positive of my life. This song explains my realization that the emotional pain I faced the last few years actually helped me progress to this healthier mental space – that adversity truly is what helps you become a believer in yourself.”
He expanded on the track’s background:
“The meaning of the song is really reflecting on specific things in my life that were painful. Whether it was anxiety and dealing with crowds, feeling overwhelmed by that or the success of the band, disease, going through depression – anything that was a source of pain in my life. And just rising above that, finding a place of perspective where I could be appreciative of the pain in my life and make it my greatest strength.”
That’s a wrap for this week – have a great Monday, see you on the dance floor!
Now on to the particulars of Monday’s Music Move’s Me: I have the supreme honor and privilege of being a co-host with the inimitable Xmas Dolly and our musical cohort, the awesome Cathy from Curious as a CAThy, and while our beloved Callie of JAmerican Spice is taking a break, our friend Michelle from Musings and Merriments with Michelle is helping out with hostess duties! And, for the month of August, our Honorary Conductor and Spotlight Dancer is Mary Burris of Jingle, Jangle, Jungle!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!