Folk It

And “Timshel” by Mumford & Sons came through the speakers.

“…And you have your choices,
And these are what make a man great
His ladder to the stars…”

– Mumford & Sons
“Timshel” from Sigh No More (2009)

Sigh No More
Mumford & Son’s Sigh No More (2009)


Of the band’s catalog, “Timshel” is a favorite of mine.  It’s comfortable to announce my being a fan in the midst of criticism of true fans of folk, who may poo-poo the band’s mainstream popularity.  It’s obvious they have kept that consistency after two albums, and you have to give them credit for that.  However, the band is now on hiatus for an indefinite amount of time.  According to pieces by Rolling Stone and CNN, the band’s popularity and demand for bigger and longer shows is tough.  I can only imagine how difficult of an industry it is.  The CNN article also mentions the time off taken by Red Hot Chili Peppers, The (fuckin’) Eagles, and Adele.  There is nothing wrong with taking time off to regain your composure, pursue personal endeavors, and simply hang out.  Who knows the amount of tension and annoyance that develops amidst these bands and artists through the years?  Taking time off is for the best; they worked hard creating songs that are part of our life’s soundtrack.  Let them pause while they are ahead.

Also, look at Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Anthony, Chad, and Flea have all hit the big 50.  Can you believe that, my generation?  They still kick ass after all these years.

We can still enjoy the sounds of The Avett Brothers and other folkies as we tolerate Phillip Phillips and his pop and even more mainstream take on the genre.  The latter is just terrible, and “Home”  and “Gone, Gone, Gone” are definitely is losing their flavors.  He’s already tainted with the American Idol presence, and his televised jump start still has him lagging behind when trying to fit in with the folk stars and artists:  Jason Mraz, Damien Rice, John Mayer, Bob Dylan, Ray LaMontagne, or whoever else he is trying to emulate into his personal and overly influenced sound.  Do you detect a little bit of country in there?  Stop it, Phillips; you’re being more redundant than your double name.

There.  Enjoy some music while you read.

I’ve written about my high school presentation about folk music during the 1960’s, boasted my adoration for Nick Drake, applauded Alexi Murdoch and his style, and (as every year) I cannot wait for the radio to play Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” on the radio.  I love simple acoustic music, and I find (as cliché as it is) Landon Pigg’s “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” more than appropriate to play, well, at a coffee shop.  This is just who I am.

Joe and I had another morning coffee meeting what will be yesterday at Cafe Kubal.  Poe the Gnome was there, too; he has to be mentioned, because he will get on my case if I don’t.  Gnomes are tricky beings, and it’s best to stay on their good sides.  We caught up, rehashed and repeated ourselves (because this is what happens when you start hanging out with people you recently meet), and we talked about the love of music and writing and movies.  More importantly, we didn’t stress it, but we spoke of life, love and relationships, and pursuits of happiness.  Importantly, yes, How I Met Your Mother was brought up.  Screw you, haters.

Of the songs playing came one or two Mumfords, Regina Spektor’s “Eet,” Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s “Falling Slowly” from the Once (2007) soundtrack, and Ray LaMontagne played a tune for the customers.

Joe and I spoke about choices and our faults.  The lyrics from “Timshel” resonates with what we spoke of, and I am fitting the lyrics loosely where appropriate.  We have our choices.  We have our desires.  We have our aspirations.  We make mistakes, and (hopefully) learn from them.  We learn from other’s mistakes.  Let us utilize the patience we have been granted (even, for some of us, as little as we may have), and hear others out before we judge or write them off.

We all hit points in our pursuits where we want to back away.  Doubt and resistance settles in, and it’s constructive to overcome these obstacles.  Once we do, this glorification is as satisfying as a fever breaking.

I learn a lot from my friends.  To paraphrase what I got from Joe:  It’s best to suck it up, the pressure and doubt, and sprint it out to the finish once you reach the point wher you realize that you got over the last major hump.  Hell, you can even do a victory stance, dance, or gesture in the end.  Who cares who is watching.  Whatever emotion is generated by those affected can be inspiring to them.

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