John Butler is definitely high on my list of musicians when it comes to acoustic, roots, folk, etc. After the last post about the ABC award, the ever-incredible Aussa (who we know and adore) mentioned an association to tag along with the musician’s song “Ocean,” which was listed on my alphabet.
When I first heard the song years ago at the beginning of my years at SUNY Oneonta, it came across to me as a meditation. An artist is an artist, and hearing this song, listening to the notes and the parts do feel like the constant ripples and waves that an ocean does have. The perceived repetition is purposeful and appropriate. The first appearance of the song was not on his first studio album, John Butler (1998), and please see the Huffington interview link below, it appeared on a mixed tape, Searching for Heritage. I’ve never head the original version off of the latter release, but did hear the album version a few years after its release.
There was certainty that there had to be more to the song than referring to an actual ocean, personification of Nature, and any metaphor floating around the concept.
According to a Huffington Post interview by Mike Ragogna, the song expresses much more than Butler can put into words:
“‘Ocean’ is part of my DNA,” the artist says. “It conveys all the things I can’t put into words: life, loss, love, spirit. As I evolve, so too does ‘Ocean.'”
I’ve posted the 1998 version and the 2012 versions below. These YouTube videos are not my own doing, of course, and I am certain Mr. Butler wouldn’t have an issue with me pushing his music along for all you to enjoy.
There will always be a new and different version of “Ocean,” and they will all last different lengths–all performed with in-the-moment passion. With the 2012 video, you can see how John Butler works his magic.
The original version:
The 2012 version: