Posts Tagged ‘Odetta’

I’m not a religious person and wasn’t raised with any religion in my life. Growing up, Easter was just another excuse to gorge myself on candy and boiled eggs.

But the idea of resurrection that this day represents is a potent theme, one that resonates deeply with me. I am not talking about actual resurrection, the rising from the grave type of thing. But the idea of rebirth, of washing away the past and beginning anew has always struck a chord within me.

Maybe that’s why I am a morning person. Each day is a personal resurrection of sorts. There is a new start each day the sun comes up, a new chance to redeem yourself in some way. So, in a way, Easter is just part of a continuum of  constant rebirth, one that transcends personal religion.

For this Sunday morning music I am choosing a song that concerns itself with a more literal form of resurrection. It is Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down) which was written in 1934 by Claude Ely. He was twelve years old at the time and was stricken with tuberculosis. His family is said to have prayed for his health to return and in response, he spontaneously performed this song.

I can’t attest to that part of the story but it is a pretty well known gospel standard now. This version is from the great Odetta.

The newer painting above is a small 8″ by 8″ panel that I call Resurrection. It feels very Easter-y to me.

Have a good Sunday.


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GC Myers- Voyager Blue smToday there is none of that other stuff here– I won’t even utter the “P” word here this morning.  As promised, today is about art and music.

This morning I want to link a song and a painting and the piece shown above immediately came to mind.  It’s a 20″ by 10″ canvas titled Voyager Blue that is included in my current show, Contact, at the West End Gallery.  It has a definite narrative to it, with the small almost indistinguishable figure at the horizon serving as The Seeker, which is often the character that figures portray when they appear in my work.  The Seeker constantly searches for meaning, for purpose and for answers in this life.

The song I thought I would attach to this painting is the great folk classic The Midnight Special.  This song, whose lyrics first appeared in 1905, is about a prisoner who longs for his freedom and symbolizes it in the form of The Midnight Special, a night train that would carry them away from the despair of their imprisonment. There was an actual Midnight Special train that ran between Chicago and St. Louis but the one depicted in this song is considered to be more likely a train on the Missouri Pacific line, the Houstonian, that ran between Houston and New Orleans, departing just before midnight.

But maybe it simply refers to the night train that is nearest to the prisoner singing for his freedom.

This song has been recorded many, many times over the past century by artists from Leadbelly to ABBA but today I chose a version from the Queen of American folk music, Odetta.  It has a nice bluesy sway to it and seems like a good song to push off from on this Sunday morning.

Have a great day.  I hope the Midnight Special shines her ever-loving light on you.

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