You know what grief is good at? Apart from the whole making you feel like shit and depressed and generally pretty miserable - grief is really fucking good at forcing you to be real - to be honest - to be true to who you are. Most things in life you can skate over, even unpleasant memories can be safely tucked away and dealt with maybe never, but grief - grief you can't control - grief hangs around, discombobulating your daily life until you deal with it.
What I loved about this track was its pure honesty. From the opening spoken directive: "Gotta knock it out man, just gotta finish it" to the descending melancholic guitar chords - you know this song has something to say - and it doesn't disappoint.
The track will resonate with anyone who has had to leave a desperate situation in order to preserve their sanity. And that's really the crux of it - what do you do when your home, your family, your people, your life - is toxic? What do you do when you have dreams and others don't? What do you do when you have a hunger and a thirst and a desire to risk it all and make it work and yet everybody shuts you down?
That's what you do - you leave - and it's hard, and it's shit and the guilt can be all consuming and yet - if you don't - you die - and dying isn't an option for people like us.
It's beautifully done - the production and vocal delivery is enchanting - De'Wayne transmutes his grief into something close to hope - the idea that one day he'll be able to go home - on his own terms, with his own family and his own resources.
But it isn't a cheesy unrealistic pipe dream ending - the fairy tale where it all works out in the end - that wouldn't be true to the song. Life is hard, the struggle to be an artist is a ridiculous endeavor and only to be attempted by the insane. It's been that way forever - as to why? There are no straightforward answers but as De'Wayne reminds us: "Some things never change."
You can learn more about De'Wayne Jackson here:
About the Curator - Andrew McCluskey
The first visual memory I have is that of the white upright piano in Singapore, Hell and the dark forces lived at the bottom, Heaven and the Angels at the top. They would play battles through my fingers and I was hooked.
After my dad died I was very sad - I couldn't play for a while and when I did, the music that came out reflected my grieving state. I wrote an album of solo piano music called Music to Grieve to - from which the idea of the Music to community originated.
If you'd like to know more you should read Nicole's fabulous article on why listening to sad music can make you feel better.