I'm not a fan of Country music. This, despite many years living in/visiting the south, an ex in Boston who tried to get me to like it, and me having written one of my favourites, coincidentally a Country song, "Jackson Hole", earlier this year. But every once in awhile one really grabs me, inspires me and makes me wish I'd written it. Abby came over to watch The Country Music Awards on tuesday - it's her favourite awards show so I couldn't say no. After sleeping through much of it they announced Vince Gill featuring Sheryl Crow, and Amy Grant on one stage singing "What You Give Away". Less than a minute into it I was in love. The song struck me hard.
"You read the business page, see how you did today, life's just passing by....There's people on the street, aint got enough to eat, you just shake your head, the measure of a man is one who lends a hand, it's what my father said. After you've counted everything you've saved, you ever hit your knees and pray? You know there's going to be a judgement day, so what will you say? No matter what you make, all that you can take, it's what you give away..."
Released on his new album last month entitled These Days, it's part of a 4 disc set of original material featuring Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Bonnie Raitt and too many others to mention. But I'm not here to talk about this cd (though you can check it out on itunes). The thing about this song, written by Al Anderson, is that there is something really uplifting and meaningful to it. It's also not what most people would think of as a Country tune per se, except that it's Vince Gill at the helm. It is in so many ways a perfect song; well written, well produced, with a choral buildup at the end that really pulls at your heart. You don't feel bad about yourself listening to this song because it's not preachy, it's simply reminding us of what is really important in the world. As we approach the Holiday Season, the New Year, and, hopefully, take stock in our lives, this song serves as a gentle reminder to look outside of our self importance. It isn't about how much money you earn, it's not about what you take from the world, it's what you give of yourself that matters. It's a life lesson we forget about as we sit in our cars on our way to our jobs and go to lunch, the bank, or buy ourselves a $220 sweater.
Thanks for tuning it...Until next Monday...CHEERS!!!