Monday, October 1, 2018

Thoughts and Ramblings: Lesley Pike and "Honey and Rust"

"Good luck on your new album... Is it superstitious to say that? .... And as your new music takes shape, I hope the process of writing finds you well and happy. I've always really liked your songs that left me feeling sort of empowered - I hope it all goes well."

I sent that to Lesley Pike two years ago when she announced she was starting to write for another album, intended as a kind message of something resembling closure. Which I am obviously really bad at, as that message ended up turning into a friendly relationship of sorts. I'm more hesitant to claim friendship with people than I once was. Just because I think of someone as a friend doesn't mean they think of me that way. But we'll say friendly, at least.

This is filled with a touch of serendipity for me. Something I didn't plan for, but needed. A shared love for a certain genre of reading, but not just... I needed someone to talk to. Someone I could be butt-honest with about things I had always avoided saying out loud or even admitting to myself. Someone who wouldn't tell me I was being crazy or unfair. I needed a listening ear and a soft place to land when I inevitably crashed.

Musically, I like Lesley for the same reasons I like Kina Grannis. For the same reasons I love Miranda Lambert's "Weight of These Wings" or Kacey Musgraves or Christina Perri. The music I play the most over and over, especially from female artists, is music I can find myself in, music that has depth to its source and something for me to sink my teeth into. And I kind of think that the only way you can make music like that is to put a good chunk of yourself into it. I'd heard Lesley's last couple albums... I knew she was that kind of songwriter.

"Honey and Rust" came out while I was in Ireland. I downloaded it one morning and listened in the early morning hours while waiting for a teenager to wake up, and then a few more times while we flew to Liverpool. I flipped to a song I knew would be on there first out of... if I'm honest, probably curiosity and a little bit of trepidation. Is it possible to be disappointed in something you already know? ... but then flipped back to the top to listen through like a normal person.

Some songs made me smile... Who can resist a snappy song of redemption and triumph over the trials that threaten to bring you down?  Phoenix is that song, and is frequently in my head. (Sorry, People of Target.) Muscle Memory, more than anything to me, pulses along the lines of the Mindfulness I've been trying to capture over the last couple years -- balancing between obsessing about the past and worrying about what might come next to center on what is.

My favorite is probably In the Blood. It's simple, it's heartfelt...  it's easy to find myself in it. And that's not a very long analysis, but it's the nicest thing that I could possibly say about any piece of music I loved.  I listen to it a lot.

I mean, y'all...

I can see you looking for love in those places
Searching in everyone's face and everywhere it can't be found.
I can feel you running away from what heals you
Spinning your wheels, trying to keep your feet up off the ground
Darling, I'll be here when you come down.

Two years have gone by since that message, Lesley... and the music has taken shape... and a lot has happened... and I hope the writing has left you well and happy and resilient.

Thank you for listening to me.

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