Today I took a break from personal work and went on an adventure through Heather Browne’s exquisite blog: I am Fuel, You are Friends (side note: this blog is one you must follow, her writings should are novel) This adventure is one I take quite often, as her chapel sessions are a raw portrait of what music should be. Today, I got stuck on a video of Nathaniel Rateliff singing ‘Closer’ on a Steinway piano. I’ve talked about Mr. Rateliff quite often on here, but this performance encompasses all reasons why he’s an artist that vocabulary cannot explain. Browne mentions his patience within songs, and it’s evident he sings for expression, rather than showmanship. It’s worth a listen.
Two weeks ago I attended Timbrrr fest in Leavenworth, Washington. I posted a mix of my favorite songs, but I have yet to post about a memory that refuses to let go of the repeat button in my mind. Brent Cowles performance during You, Me, and Apollo struck a cord in my cranium that reverberates so loudly, I’ve started to believe I have another cognizant being within my head. I’ve stood at concerts before that captured a moment in time, heard vocal performance that shattered what I believed was possible, and cried at concerts from lyrics that tore me apart. But never had I stood for an entire set and watched an artist like Mr. Cowles shred apart all that I believed was common and accepted. The maelstrom within my body awoke.
I’m not here to tell you how incredible You, Me, and Apollo is, and how they are on the threshold of nationwide greatness. You can read this post for that. What I’m speaking about is how this performance showed me the power of music, once again. I lost sight of it, simply finding new music for my blog, and not soaking in music for what I used to use it for: catharsis.
Boomeranging in my thoughts lay a quote I hold near and dear to my heart, ever since Kyle from Typhoon uttered it in a Room 125 Session. From the Book of Thomas, the first part reads: “If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you.” And although this shook me, it never provided for me. I pushed what was within me out of me, but with no haste, no conviction (knowing I would not suffer, only reaping benefits from doing so). But as I stood in front of Brent, the inflections and ungodly reaches in both arms and mouth spoke the second verse in the quote: “If you fail to bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.”
What I had failed to bring forth, due to ignorance, I finally realized – is destroying me. Moments where music provide clarity and a retreat to one’s rawest form of self are what I live for. Providing those moments for others, whether through music, literature, or communication: that is my vision as a grand meaning of life.
Why do we deviate from what grounds us? Why do we lose sight on who we truly are? Why do we need a tug from an aesthetic, an unknown, to wake us up out of our misery? I’m not sure why I must continually find myself two steps ahead and behind of who I want to be. But moments like You, Me, and Apollo singing upon that bavarian stage, give me purpose to continually seek the answers.
Im not sure what it was about this performance that took my breath away, but the ambiguity behind the reason compels me.
This past weekend, in a wintery bavarian town east of Seattle, the first annual winter Timbrrr Fest happened. Myself and three friends attended, soaking up the snowy wonderland of Leavenworth, Washington, and listened to some of the best up-and-coming bands produce inspirational music. During days I sat and shared local beers and conversations with lead singers. Each night we were serenaded by unrivaled vocals, and joined arms with new bearded friends, breathing in the beats of each bands’ drum (dancing next to fellow band members).
Below is a mix I put together of some of the best songs played at Timbrrr. With a line up along the lines of Hey Marseilles, You Me and Apollo, The Moondoggies, and Telekinesis….this mix was incredibly hard to cut down. If you were at Timbrrr, let me know your favorite performance by shooting me a tweet at @Logan_Stoneman.
To the supporters and producers of Timberfest, thank you. Festivals like Timbrrr are the reason why unique sounds continue to penetrate through the glass of obscurity and find their way to my music library. Cheers.