On Listening

20131021-125422.jpgMy friend and I had an interesting discussion: what if you could only have your hearing or your eyesight? Not both. Which would you choose?

That night I was up on the roof deck of my house. It was late summer and the crickets were in their glory. I listened as if for the first time. I also listened with the prospect that this could be the last time. And I cried—with loss, but more, with love (that moment made it into the end of the song Feels Like Dying, Feels Like Bliss).

Recording these songs took my listening to a new level. These are fine musicians who play on this CD. So much of their craft comes through in the subtleties, the details, and that begins with the listening of a good musician. They took the songs to another level. But it was on me to discover the soul of each song and to try to hear which sounds were in alignment. Charles played a beautiful wooden flute on All in the Waiting. But that wind sound competed with the high register of the strings; and it was the strings who truly understood what TS Eliot was talking about in his poem.

There’s awesome power in paying close attention. When you listen to a song you enter into a relationship, a collaboration that gives the song life. To create a song is half of a process. It becomes complete when it is truly heard and understood by the ears of another’s heart. That fulfills the purpose of a creation.

What are you listening to? How is it?