Sharing the Music -- An Invitation
A life without art is almost unimaginable. Creative writing, music, painting, performing, sculpture and film, are essential to our lives. We need the arts -- the miracles of humanity -- like the air we breathe. The best singer musicians tell our stories. They are a kind of an inspirational lifeline...a bonding with our dreams, our possibilities, the innermost parts of who we are.
"Sharing the Music" isn't a challenge, but an invitation to share one of your favorite singer musicians with us, either as a comment below or in a Hub article. Please feel free to include personal experiences, anecdotes or emotional connections as to why the artist's body of work is special to you.
My contribution follows...
I grew up in America's great Northeast, in the Mountain Highlands region of New Jersey. Although I loved the mountains, Atlantic City was a favorite haunt during the summer. The last time my friends and I visited the boardwalk was in July of '75 -- not long before the local flavor of that historic shoreline was devoured by casino giants and the monstrous facades of an illusory world.
We were so young -- puppies, really -- wearing our jeans like a second skin, moving lithe with the nimble, boardwalk soul of youth. Music was plentiful at the right places, and we often danced to the gritty power and romance of The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle. Even in those early days, Bruce Springsteen was The Boss. I didn't realize it then, but the summer of '75 was to be my last visit to Atlantic City. Nor could I have known that I was to meet my Jersey idol a year later.
Fate can be delicious at times. Being in the right place at the right event with the friend of a friend of Springsteen led to a surreal moment of meeting the man, himself, backstage at one of his concerts in Red Bank, New Jersey. The charismatic energy surrounding him was palpable. When he took your hand in greeting, and looked at you -- straight on, straight in -- you knew. There was something about the hazel-brown eyes of this brilliant, primal-rock poet that were as revealing to you as you were to him. It wasn't just the aliveness in him that was impressive. It was the glint of light in his gaze that cut to the heart of the stories he was eager to tell. Such is the promise of a gifted artist.
The moments following our meeting are a blur. I don't recall leaving the concert hall, but I remember smiling with a realization that gave a lightness of foot and spirit, not unlike boardwalk dancing at the Jersey shore: Bruce Springsteen was here to stay.
The decades that followed were a fulfillment of the promise as his unique voice took on the stories of everyman and the conscience of America. In some ways, his songs represent the soundtracks of our lives to reflect turning points in our culture of the human condition -- from our anger over social and economic injustices, to our hope through love, community, hard work and integrity. His pulse-pounding concerts are legendary. Whether we hear him live or recorded, the connection is there...intimate, rousing, sometimes brooding, soulful, introspective, inspirational.
The awards he has received, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and The Kennedy Center Honors, are far too numerous to list in this article. During a speech Springsteen gave at the SXSW Festival several years ago, he said: "We live in a post-authentic world. And today, authenticity is a house of mirrors. At the end of the day, it's the power and purpose of your music that matters." Perhaps this is why the poetic novellas in his music -- the conversations he has with us -- are so important to him. With each song he composes, he seems to know where we live. Maybe it's that Jersey girl somewhere inside of me...but I still get it. Every time.
Springsteen currently lives in Colts Neck, NJ, close to his Jersey roots. He grew up in Freehold.
(The above video is the official music video for Springsteen's live NY performance of Atlantic City. Both this video and the one that immediately follows, the Oscar-winning Streets of Philadelphia, were included this article as a tribute to Mr. Springsteen, and in no way is intended as an infringement of copyrights.)
The Streets of Philadelphia
The Lyric Poetry to the Streets of Philadelphia...
"I was bruised and battered, I couldn't tell what I felt,
I was unrecognizable to myself.
Saw my reflection in a window and didn't know my own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wasting' away
On the streets of Philadelphia.
I walked the avenue, 'til my legs felt like stone,
I heard voices of friends, vanished and gone.
At night I could hear the blood in my veins,
It was just as black and whispering as the rain
On the streets of Philadelphia.
Ain't no angel gonna greet me --
It's just you and I my friend.
And my clothes don't fit me no more,
I walked a thousand miles
Just to slip this skin.
Night has fallen, I'm lying' awake,
I can feel myself fading away,
So receive me brother with your faithless kiss
Or will we leave each other alone like this
On the streets of Philadelphia..."
© Written and Copyrighted by Genna Eastman, 2019. All rights reserved.