Monday, April 10, 2006

Tell It Like It Is

It's 2000. I am a freshman in college - 19 years old, innocent, open minded, interested in everything. I'm hanging out with my friend Matt in his dorm room, playing my way through his extensive music playlist (downloading music was still new then & we were all agape with the possibilities). I find a song called "Angel from Montgomery" by an artist named Susan Tedeschi. I press play . . . and fall in love.

Now, from the austere height of 24, the love affair continues. There are three major things that I appreciate about Susan as an artist:
    1. She is a white girl from Massachusetts who sings the blues, and well. That fact in & of itself is amazing.
    2. Her voice is wonderful, but not so ethereal that I can't sing along. It's earthy, bluesy - and I can hit (most of) the same notes.
    3. Somehow, the songs she sings, whether her own creations or selections plucked from blues, R&B, or gospel, always come at just the right time.
I'll expand a bit on that last point. When I was dating a guy, D., in college & noticed him getting more and more distant, Susan was there with her take on Junior Wells' "Little by Little", which goes on to say "oh, I'm losin' you, I can see. Bit by bit, darlin', I see you slippin' away from me."

More recently, I broke up with a guy, C. Susan's lovely version of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" seemed a perfect fit for what I was feeling:
"
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind/You could have done better but I don't mind/You just kinda wasted my precious time/But don't think twice, it's all right." However, now that things have gone downhill & some of that goodwill is gone, I feel more like her take on Lewis Holiday's R&B classic, "Tired of My Tears." The chorus runs: "I'm sick of your lies . . . tired of my tears . . . Boy, if you want me, you better tell it like it is."

Check out a biography, discography, songs, etc. of Susan here. You might want to warn your ex- and current boyfriends, though. ;)

1 comment:

Kate said...

you are so right about how songs come at just the right time - for me that person is ani, but it's the same idea. for her (and i know this is the same with susan) the body of work that she has created is just so tremendous that sheer probability might suggest that she has a song for every occasion, but its so satisfying and comforting to reach back into her music and hear my own thoughts and hurts eloquently and thoughtfully expressed. i have so many examples, but you chose so i will: recently 'as is'(which is about a person the singer loves and who she wishes would admit that (s)he made mistakes) has spoken to me (imagine), though actually my favorite part of the song speaks to me more generally: "cuz when i look around/ i think this, this is good enough/ and i try to laugh/ at whatever life brings/ cuz when i look down/ i just miss all the good stuff/ when i look up/ i just trip over things". another song that has been getting under my skin recently is "swing" wich is about frustration with life, disappointment by it, and faith that it will get better: "lend little miss listless a little bit of christmas/ she's been a real good girl/ but now she's stuck here/ the world is so little and still...swing the groove 'round here/ where i can reach it/ when i get my ass back on track/ i'm gonna need it".

that's two for now. its helpful when you're upset or stressed to have a decoder ring for your thoughts, and ani is often mine. and i wonder what our choice of voice says about us... i love my stacey :) ::hugs::