(The subject quote is from Chris Cornell’s “Seasons.”)
This morning was not easy. It was one of those need-to-write-but-getting-distracted-by-stupid-stuff days. When I was washing my dishes I said, “This morning needs music!” I picked a playlist on my iPod I’d created for my Provincetown trip with Mom. Not long after I pressed play, I heard an intro that made me smile. There was an, “OHMYGOD, I love this song!” before I ever recollected which one it was. Turns out, it was from the Band of Joy CD (Robert Plant’s latest effort.) What a great effort is was, in my opinion.
I was fortunate enough to see them in January and as I listened to Patte Griffin’s voice in harmony with Robert, it reminded me of all the naysayers who wrote unkind things about Robert’s new style.
Does Paul McCartney still sound like his Helter Skelter days? Maybe not, but he can still rock it out. Does everyone like folk girl Jewel turning pop overnight? What about Ozzy’s “No More Tears” days versus Black Sabbath?
You get the point. I have a friend who fell in love with Robert and his solo stuff before she ever went back to discover the wonders of Led Zeppelin blues.
People on different forums, I’d like to call them fans but their comments suggest otherwise, and have been brutal. Some have demanded a Zep reunion. They are blind to the fact that it’s simply a different era for Plant and he’s trying to do a new thing.
Plant himself, regarding the effort to reunite Led Zeppelin, states, “I think the thing about it is really, is that to visit old ground, it’s a very incredibly delicate thing to do, and the disappointment that could be there once you commit to that and the comparisons to something that was basically fired by youth and a different kind of exuberance to now, its very hard to go back and meet that head on and do it justice.”*
I would hope that most fans would understand that and be open to embracing his new talents. In music today, there’s been a push to folky, country-rock, if you will. Most of it, like The Civil Wars, is top-notch stuff. Plant’s collaboration with the lovely Allison Krauss on Raising Sands (2007) segued him into the idea for Band of Joy. It’s a different style all together. Plant delivers justice with the new style and I commend him for not trying to rehash something that was beautiful. You (probably) wouldn’t want to re-invent your first love, would you? Some things are better in the past.
I know I’ve already ranted about the despicable behavior of fans at the latest Eddie Vedder solo show, so I’ll keep this brief. While Band of Joy’s “Harm’s Swift Way,” melted warm sunshine into my ears, I couldn’t help but think of fans’ reaction to Eddie’s ukulele songs. Some of those concert-goers wanted some re-invention of Pearl Jam and didn’t see that Eddie was trying to do a new thing. I felt that he was dissed by their ignorant and mostly rude behavior.
Eddie was genial and more than gracious, giving the fans a taste of some Pearl Jam numbers, of course. But Ukulele Songs is a genre all its own and people, if they really love Eddie, need to be more open-minded about his artistic deviations.
True fans know that music is wild and malleable and wont to change. It’s important to be open to the changing seasons of their lives and their maturing musical inclinations.
“If he only knew now what he knew then.” (Pearl Jam, “I’m Open.”)
Be open. I’m Open.
And Eddie also tells us that “it makes much more sense to live in the present tense.”
This is one of my favorite results of the latest Joy:
Be well, be open, and rock on,
*http://www.nme.com/news/led-zeppelin/42530 accessed 9/2/2011