October 29, 2020
By Ryan Hilligoss
With apologies to Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune
- Mary Schmich is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. I look forward to her columns each day they appear and usually read them twice. Filled with stories of Chicago, freindship, family, loss, life and the beauty around us, if you don’t know her work already, buy yourself a copy of her great collection, Even the Terrible Things Seem Beautiful To Me Now. I read one column every day and have been savoring it for close to a year and dreading getting close to the end. Her work is beautiful and touching whether you live in Chicago, London or Delhi. The themes she touches on are universal.
2. Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, Letter To You and accompanying documentary of the same name available to watch on Apple TV which is currently offering a free 7 day subscription. The album touches on themes of loss, grief, friendship, music and rock and roll. From the opening track of One Minute You’re Here through the end with I’ll See You In My Dreams, Springsteen and the E Street band show their great talents, friendship and talent from ballads to scorchers like Burnin’ Train. The movie finds the band meeting to record the album music in Springsteen’s home studio and records together with very takes and little to no overdubs…raw and hard and raucous. Another gem of directing and cinematography by long time collaborator Thom Zimny. Filmed in beautiful black and white. Rock on!!!!
3. The music of Chris Stapleton. One of the best songwriters working today across the pop music spectrum. From Traveler on through the rest of his catalogue, Chris continues to write and record beautiful music regardless of your tastes. His new album Starting Over will be released on November 13. 2020. Here is the video for the first single released early from the album. “Maybe you’ll be my four leaf clover.”
4. Tom Petty’s Wildflowers 25th anniversary box set Wildflowers and All The Rest. When Tom originally wrote the material for his solo album, he recorded 25 songs and wanted to release a very full double album but the powers that be told him he had to cut it down which he painfully did and released 15 tracks on the original album. Here are the full 25 tracks as originally recorded and sequenced along with 2 additional discs containing home demos and live recordings. Includes the sublime There Goes Angela(Dream Away). Long time collaborator Mike Campbell and Petty daughter Adria helped go through the material and pick the tracks…..a labor of love for all involved and finally making Tom’s dream come true.
5. Family and Friends. Without them, what are we left with? Not everyone has the luxury due to loss, time, and health and some choose to turn away, but for those of us who have them, we are truly blessed despite the headaches that come with the equation. In the time of the pandemic, we feel their distance even more than normal and look forward to the day when we can once again, congregate, break bread and laugh and smile together.
6. Social Media/Zoom. During these times we are blessed to have digital platforms to shorten the distance to our friends and loved ones. Despite the distance in time and and space, we can see each other and communicate and share pictures and stories and laughter the best we can under the circumstances. Each has their down sides and can be a cess pool of invective and hate, but you don’t have to participate. use the tools given to you for better purposes.
7. Time. If nothing else, these last 6 months have given most of us, whether we want it or not, time. Time to ponder, time to reflect, time to get things done around the house, time to renew friendships or spend time with those we/they were too busy pre Covid. When you step off the hamster wheel long enough, you start to wonder why you kept running all that time.
8. Thankfulness. Millions of people who were gainfully employed six months ago sit on the sidelines of this “roaring economy”. People have been evicted and forced to seek alternate means of housing, meals, education, transportation and countless other small indignities. I remain gainfully employed, a roof over my head, food on the table, friends and family, shoes on my feet and all the books and other distractions I can ever get through in my lifetime. I am thankful what I have and help others when I can. As someone I know says, stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive and if you can, we’ll meet in the dreams of this hard land. Take care of yourselves and help take care of those around you. Peace.