My friend Gina sends an email with the subject line ‘Resident Rogues’, inviting me to see a swing/country/gypsy music band from the US in a little bar called the Merri Creek Tavern. She tells me a story as we wait to see the band.
The lyrics of Rattlin’ Bones were apocalyptic and disorienting but somehow strangely comforting after our deeply personal experiences of the Black Saturday fires.
We mourn the dead, but if they touched us in some way they never really die.
A friend had brought his portable record player to our camp site, a dry creek bed. Sitting in front of that roaring fire, toasting marshmallows, we were introduced to the songs of Simon & Garfunkel.
Lazy Lester sang in a compelling, rough-hewn voice and played harmonica, guitar and various percussion devices. Not blues from the delta, not the electric blues of the big cities but blues with a looser feel.
For the first time in years, after hearing a song for the first time I had to listen to it again, and again, and yet again.
The song reached in hard and touched me. That night I have a fan moment and purchase three of Corin's CDs during the interval.
The crooning chant you hear in the background pings and pangs as you slump on the floor, hands in your head.
You can tell by the catch in Neil Finn's voice that it was a tough gig to play and sing this song for his former band mate.
Mary Gauthier entered my little world and reinforced the notion that songwriting is a great art form as worthy of any other. To me, she was, until then, an unknown master of songwriting.