Funeral Songs, Southern Rock, Detroit Grunge, and More!
A special all-music (well, mostly) edition of The Daly Grind.
I don’t think much about death. My wife and I got our wills in order years ago, and since then, the topic just hasn’t spent a lot of time on my mind. It’s of course prudent for us all to take personal safety precautions, and work to live healthier lives, but we still never know what kind of hand life is going to deal us.
So, while I do think about my legacy as a husband, father, and even as a writer, I figure that my actual death is something I can put off dwelling on until a few more years down the road.
That said, I do find “celebration of life” type questions a little interesting, such as “What do you want written on your tombstone?” and “Who would you want to speak at your funeral?” Maybe it’s because those topics fall more under the “legacy” category.
A question I saw asked on social media the other day was “What song do you want played at your funeral?”
I’d actually thought about this one a long time ago, interestingly enough on my honeymoon. <Insert your joke here>. Seriously though, it was when my wife and I were in Maui, taking a van tour with two other couples (they were strangers) on the Road to Hana.
Our colorfully dressed driver, who went by the nick-name “Crazy Eddie,” was a huge fan of Hawaiian folk-music legend, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. He played the guy’s music throughout the trip, including Kamakawiwoʻole’s take on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World.” The song had been recorded a dozen years earlier, but it was honestly the first time that I, my wife, and everyone else in the van (save Eddie) had ever heard it.
I thought the ukulele-backed dual cover was absolutely beautiful, combining two classic songs (made iconic by Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong) into a unique and stunningly soulful work.
It struck me as a life retrospective in a sense — a celebration of dreams, innocence, growth and peace. No, it didn’t turn me into a hippie. But perhaps in part because I had just achieved the life milestone of getting hitched to my wonderful Sarah, I suppose it put me in a deeper state of mind.
I actually remember thinking, “I would like this song played at my funeral.”
Of course, in the years since then, it’s turned up in countless commercials and major motion pictures. Everyone and their sister has used it for weddings, funerals, and all kinds of other special events, so at this point, as my funeral song, it would probably come across as downright cliché.
So now, I’m opening auditions back up. 😂 I’m keeping an ear out for that next perfect song to come across my radar. I’m convinced it’s out there, and I’m still pretty happy with the song I chose for my wife’s and my wedding. (Yes, she actually let me pick it).
“Dance with You” by the band Live has it all. The swaying acoustic guitar. The beautiful, love-struck, future-broadening lyrics. The slow-danceability. The B-side obscurity.
Yeah, I’m still patting myself on the back over that one.
But the funeral song… Hopefully I’ve got plenty of time to sort it out.
Do you have funeral song picked out for yourself that isn’t Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”? 😉 Let me know by replying to this email, or by leaving a comment below. (It’s not so I can steal it; I’m just curious.)
Two Years Was Hard to Handle
One band I had long regretted not seeing live before they broke up was The Black Crowes. The Georgia rockers put out some killer music in their time, including what I consider one of the greatest debut albums ever: Shake Your Money Maker.
So, needless to say, I was pretty excited a couple years ago when I heard that the Robinson brothers would be reuniting and going on tour in 2020 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that album. I managed to snatch up tickets the moment they went on sale (the show sold out in minutes), but a full six months before the event was to take place… the pandemic struck.
No problem, I figured at the time. This will all be over in a few weeks.
Well, we know how that turned out. Still, as the months dragged by, I held out hope that by late August the concert could still happen. Red Rocks is outdoors after all, thus it would have been much safer than indoor venues. The problem, as was the case with just about every other tour in 2020, was that many other stops had indeed been scheduled for indoors. Thus, it was easier and more cost efficient for bands to just cancel or postpone their entire tour… in some cases for a full year.
That’s what the Black Crowes did. And last night, the concert I’d had tickets to for two years finally happened.
My wife wasn’t able to accompany me because of a work conflict (she’s not nearly the Crowes fan I am anyway), but I got myself a pretty decent replacement: Dave.
No, I didn’t hire Dave from an escort service. He’s an old friend, and we go way back. In high school, we worked together as busboys at a local restaurant. In college, we were roommates. And when I got married, he was my best man. I hadn’t seen him in years, though we were supposed to get together for a concert back in late March of last year (which was cancelled — the first of many — for the same reason). But it was great catching up with him last night, before the show.
As for the show itself, it was phenomenal.
The band still sounds great, and boy can Chris Robinson still move!
Cross another one off the concert bucket list!
Please Get Vaccinated
Obligatory Dog Shot
This week’s featured vinyl is hot off the press! It’s the brand new album, “Lavatorium,” from the Detroit rock band, Sponge.
I’ve been a Sponge fan since the early 90s. Like everyone else who listened to grunge and modern rock back then, it was their fantastic song “Plowed” that first caught my ear. It’s one of my all-time favorite rockers, and as is the case with lots of bands from that era, Sponge kept putting out great music over the years, though their later songs just didn’t get much (if any) radio airplay.
Having listened to some of Lavatorium online in recent months, prior to the album’s release, I think it’s some of the best stuff they’ve put out since their hay day. Their song “Stitch” is a good example.
On a personal note, I was very appreciative of the band’s frontman, Vinnie Dombroski, during the darkest days of the pandemic. Every week for months and months, he’d perform a solo set through Facebook Live, in a show of camaraderie and support with his fans. The sessions were genuinely uplifting.
Anyway, make sure you check out Lavatorium. If you’re into that genre of music, you won’t be disappointed.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!