How often have you heard a song that just makes your skin tingle because it is speaking to your heart? How rare is that one song that conjures emotions and thoughts so strongly that you share it with others in an effort to explain your own grief and pain?
How many times have you purchased an album for that one song, skipping over all the others on the CD just to play and replay that song until you know all the words by heart? “Grief music”, as I affectionately call it, is a tender gift.
It is music that allows healing tears, expresses our deepest thoughts and sometimes touches on the darker side of things. Most of all, grief music lights up a facet of life after loss in such a way that when we hear these songs we can hear our soul cry, “Yes, exactly!”
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a party to celebrate the release of a new CD by an accomplished and award-winning local artist Alan Pedersen. The CD is called More Songs From the Journey. Alan and his band played several songs from this wonderful album, inspired by the stories of his life after the death of his daughter, Ashley. I had the opportunity to hear some of the songs on this CD before it was released and arrived at the CD Release party eager to hear some of the music played live.
Nothing could have prepared me for the power in hearing Alan talk about his music, his journey, and then to play the songs for us. “Moving” is just not big enough a word to capture the experience. I was sitting in the back of the crowded room, and it felt like he was singing just for me. The words in his music touched something deep within me, grabbed a hold of my heart and said “I understand, I get it, I care.” I sat there nodding and crying, my mind shouting “Yes, exactly!”
If I had to compare his style to other musicians in sound and storytelling, I would say that Alan’s music feels a bit like Dan Fogleberg meets John Denver. His voice is soft and sweet, the melodies are catchy, and the lyrics tell a story. Alan’s release party was also a send-off party, as he and his band left the next day on a nationwide tour to share this music with bereaved families across the USA.
The first track on this album is called “Fairy Tale”; a guitar weeps in the background as the happy story begins but soon we hear the refrain, which, to me perfectly illustrates the gift that Alan’s music is:
Remember when life was a fairy tale,
A silver spoon and a wishing well?
Once upon a time, somehow,
That’s long gone now.
We were all so innocent then
Playing make believe that it would never end
Then our Hero died, the story went to hell.
I miss living in a fairy tale.
I could write a review about each and every one of the songs on this album… but I think you would be better served by getting a copy of this album for yourself and letting Alan’s music speak to you personally. Because that is exactly what it does.