Fly Over States

Like I said in my post Paint Me a Song, there are two moments in my life where music has touched me beyond any describable emotion.  For those who haven’t read that blog, to me music has this power to touch people.  Of course you’ll hear songs that you can relate to like those about the death of a loved one or a song about a break up, but there are times where music touches you deeper than that, far deeper, hitting something within your soul and you just can’t explain it.  There aren’t words to describe what you’re feeling.

The first moment for me was hearing Don McLean’s song Vincent.  It showed me that music can go beyond just a basic emotional reaction, it can bring out this beauty and, I don’t even know what to write!  It’s simply one of the most incredible feelings someone can experience.

I want to talk about the second moment where it just hit me and made me feel something so intense, it’s beyond all words.  This was when I heard the song Fly Over States by Jason Aldean.  First of all, he is probably my all time favorites artist.  I love his music and his songs can help me through a break up or make me smile or get me ready to go down to the city with my girls for a night of fun.  Second, I was surprised to feel such an emotional tidal wave because music just isn’t the same as it used to be, but that is an entirely different topic and too long to talk about now.

One thing you might not know about me is that I love traveling and this little fact is really important to understanding why this touched me so deep.  I’ve never been out of the country, unless you count a boat tour of Niagara Falls where we technically crossed the Canadian border.  I’ve been to about 42 states and driven to all of them, form Chicago to the Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coast, I’ve seen almost everything.  I’ve been to every single state west of the Mississippi except Alaska and Hawaii.  I just a few north-eastern states and southern states left to go.  Driving around the country is the most amazing thing you could do. The entire United States is just my big backyard, so beautiful and available, you can experience so many things, incredible things, from different cities to different natural wonders.  The United States is just beautiful and you don’t have to leave the country to have these amazing moments.

The song Fly Over States, for those who haven’t heard it, starts out talking about some guys on a plane making small talk with a stewardess about all of the states, the fly over states, full of farm land and nothing much to see.  In every chorus, Aldean describes the beautiful that these fly over states have.  There are farmers that work hard every day to support this country and he talks about “a windshield sunset in your eyes,
like a water colored painted sky” and taking “a ride across the badlands,
feel that freedom on your face” (that line is my favorite).

The cool thing is, I’ve done these things, felt these emotions, seen the people of this country and had these moment, almost like these religious experiences you hear about, something so powerful, it’s just incredible.  Even in these areas where there are only farm land or something like that, some people think that it isn’t beautiful, after all it’s only flat land with plants.  Look at it though, really look at it and think of the people working that land and look at that sunset.  It is a water-color, a beautiful painting shining through your window, lighting you up, wrapping you in these colors, completely natural.  There’s nothing man-made about it, that beauty is happening, it’s like a miracle right in front of your eyes, it is just happening.

The Badlands, Utah Red Rocks places like that, you can feel freedom.  Honestly it is absolutely overwhelming.  It’s so open and BIG!  Everything is so big it’s surreal, like you’re on some movie set where there’s a green screen.  The air around you just wraps you up and when the sun goes down, the rocks change colors, colors you’d never see in real life.  It’s so hot during the day, but at night the air gets cooler and slides against your skin and the only heat that’s left is coming right off your skin.  Pictures really don’t do any justice to these places.  In pictures you can’t experience what it truly feels like to be free and that’s exactly what these places do, give you that experience.

I guess that’s why this song struck a chord with me, no pun intended.  Pictures are limited in their ability to tell stories but music has to power to go past these barriers, it can unite people of different races or countries, it can explain the pain of losing a loved one to cancer to someone who’s never experienced that or help piece your heart back together after a break up when you feel your life will never get better.  If any way of art or communication can give this land any justice, music would be able to do that.

I love my country and this land, the natural wonders that people over look, they either think it’s just a bunch of rocks or flat land and there’s nothing there, nothing exciting, no Facebook or T.V. or anything like that.  Well, there isn’t, but there is just pure and simple beauty.  So stop and take a look around and don’t miss the wonders in your life, the sunset, the sun on your skin, stars in the sky or the sweet smell after a rain storm.  There are no such things as fly over states because miracles are all around us all the time, you just have to open your eyes and see them.

Paint Me a Song

Everyone has probably read something somewhere about someone’s moment with music or the power of music.  I know it’s really an over done topic but it has great importance to me, especially since there are very few songs out now which actually can speak to someone, really touch them deep rather than just making them want to dance to whoever is lip syncing onstage.

I’m a pianist of 15 years and, like most things I do, I love the fact that I can touch people with my music.  I can put my emotion and feelings into the notes and turn them into colors that reach out to those listening, surrounding them in this emotional painting that they embrace with open arms.  I love when people come up to me after a performance and tell me I played so beautifully and I’m very talented.  I love when I am critiqued because I always have room to improve.  The most rewarding moment is when someone comes up to me and says I made them feel a certain way or reminded them of something.  That’s when you know your music has touched someone.

There have been 2 songs in my life that have made an impact greater than words can describe, that have moved me to tears because they have been so beautiful.  Now songs always move people, but rarely does a song move someone so deep they can’t even describe it and I don’t think a lot of people make that distinction.  I’ve been moved by music about cancer patients because that’s what took my grandmother, song about parents doing everything because they love their kids. I’ve felt emotions with so many different songs, happy, sad, angry, but I’m talking about something so much more, something deeper.  It’s like comparing a splash to a massive ocean wave.

I only want to talk about one of those moments.  If I did both, I think this would hold the world’s record for longest blog.  Maybe next time I’ll write about my second moment.

I was driving in my car, listening to a bunch of CD’s I took from my parents one of which was Don McLean’s American Pie album.  First of all, Don McLean is amazing.  His lyrics are always incredible and music so beautiful.  Second, you just can’t say you don’t love the song American Pie.  No matter what style of music you listen to, there is an aspect you can at least appreciate.  Even if you’re  not particularly enthused by the style of music, the lyrics are incredible, the way he phrases things.  I’ve heard tons of his songs but most of the time they were played by Mom or Dad when I was too young to actually understand more than ‘this sounds pretty’.  This was really my first time listening to his music and really understanding his words.

His song Vincent began to play and I just didn’t even know what to do.  His beautiful tenor voice mixed with a soft acoustic guitar to detail the life of Vincent Van Gogh.  With every line, getting deeper and deeper into the song it hit me more and more, so much so I just began to cry because of how incredibly beautiful it was.  I had to pull my car over because I wasn’t able to drive.

McLean became the painter, using words to create a vivid and very real images.  He didn’t just describe Van Gogh’s life, how he was a tortured painter and how his paintings lived on.  His words were so beautifully put you could almost feel Van Gogh’s pain within yourself, deep inside, loving what you do so much, never to have that love reciprocated. 

The lyrics and music ebbed and flowed just like brush strokes and I honestly have no idea what to even compare to that.  I really haven’t done this song justice, it’s in a category of its own.  I don’t even know what words, IF there are any words in any language that could describe the beauty of Vincent.

He touched my life more than he’ll ever know or anyone will ever know because I don’t even know what to say.  I’m lost for words and even now, just thinking about this song, it moves me.

So thank you Don McLean for showing me what music has the capability to do, how it can move you.  Not just move you, move is too simple of a word, it’s more like an eruption of emotion from a place deeper than most can reach.  Maybe one day I”ll have (hopefully) 1/1,000,000th of this ability and will be able to paint a song for my audience.