One of the greatest things about music is the fact that there is no way you have listened to every band/solo act out there. Right now, one of your favorite albums, that you’ve never heard before, is floating around just waiting for you to discover its magic. Sometimes it takes mainstream media or a friend to bring this revelation to you…be it Nick Drake’s Pink Moon in that VW commercial, Elliott Smith in Good Will Hunting, or a friend crying out: You’ve never heard of ___________!?!?
I had one of these amazing moments this week when I sat down to listen to a six disc Anthology of American Folk Music (highly recommended by the way). A track began to play, Spike Driver Blues, and I just had that emotional moment…the music had found me. Mississippi John Hurt was a musician from Avalon, Mississippi who learned to play the guitar at the age of nine. He worked on a farm in the 1920’s and wrote lyrics about the life he lived, perfect for his folk melodies. At the age of 70, he was finally asked to record his original songs for the first time and ended up recording four studio albums.
The music is full of soul, every pluck of the guitar string resonates deep within me, every breath of a lyric landing soft and safe on my ears. The album to go after for all you vinyl collectors is Today, a perfect, yes perfect, set of eleven songs that have jumped up into my top twenty albums of all time. This is all I’ve listened to for the last week and I have to say, it’s reminded me why I love music, it’s a living thing that searches for us, wants our approval, to be a comforting friend. Hopefully some of you will check out Mississippi John Hurt, and for some, it might have the same impact it did on me.