Hey, Music - Thank You!
By Dendy Jarrett | (edited)
Music undoubtedly is part of my DNA. I am unsure if it is from the Scottish part of my heritage or the Native American (Cherokee) side. I suspect a little of both. My grandmother could wear out a Hammond B3 and did so at church every Sunday for 38 years. My mom did the same for years as well. Growing up there were two Hammond B3’s in my home with two Leslies! And what did I gravitate to? Drums! Don't ask.
I was that kid who argued with my friend’s parents when they tried to make a case that rock music was from the devil. I argued how asinine this notion was because the same notes that were in the hymns they sang on Sunday were the same notes in AC/DC’s "Highway to Hell." You can argue with the message if you want, but you can't argue with the music.
I walk around to this day with a cadence playing in my head . I get songs stuck in my head and must seek out the song to hear it just to satisfy that inner calling. I turn to music in my spiritual life, my daily drive, my shower, while working in the yard, when trying to convey message or meaning to something—come to think of it…in everything I do.
As I grow older, I measure time and life events by music. There's actually a scientific basis for this; studies are unravelling the intriguing connection between music and memory. It seems that somehow music is able to access your memory's database in ways that other stimuli can't. Think of how often a song will bring up a memory associated with that song...anything from a first kiss to when you heard some life-changing news. When people talk about "my music," they're talking about something that has entered their lives and become part of them.
And musicians have an even deeper-rooted connection. I can hear a drum beat and many times, I'm reminded of a song (and in many cases, other songs too). A chord progression in one song can take my mind to a similar song. As I’ve said before, music is a language unto itself.
These last two weeks saw the passing of two hugely influential musicians, Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell. Every musician has influence, but some become iconically influential. Leonard Cohen once said, “Music is the emotional life of most people.” I couldn’t have said it better. Whether you are a music lover or a musician who loves making music, music is like water and it will find its level. It will keep you grounded. It can sooth your soul. Or as Quincy Jones once said in an interview with our own Craig Anderton, "Music is food for the soul."
Leon Russell summed up the influence of music in this excerpt of a verse in “A Song For You” —
“And when my life is over
Remember we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you”
I often take music for granted, much like I do oxygen. But maybe music is actually more like water: it can soothe you in a warm bath, jolt you awake with a cold shower, mix with other elements, put out (emotional) fires, and provide something essential to your body. You can live for up to three weeks without food...but you won't make it much past three days without water. Every living cell in your body needs water to keep functioning, and sometimes I think every one of my cells needs music, too.
Like many other Americans, I'll be having a Thanksgiving dinner with my friends and family. And when I think of everything for which I'm thankful, music will occupy a very prominent position...and most likely does in your life, as well.
(The image is the author on a Curb Record's video shoot a few years ago for Steve Holy's Brand New Girlfriend.)
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.
Edited by Dendy Jarrett