Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No Room for Forgotten Ghosts at the Redmoon Inn

The single coolest thing about the fact that both of my kids are full-fledged adults (they are too I have seen the photo identification) is that we have reached the point in our parent/child relationship where I learn more from them than they learn from me. OK. In the interests of full disclosure we probably passed that point two decades ago. Being a tad slow on the uptake it took me until just about now to become cognizant of it.

When Rob was little I indoctrinated him into the pseudo-religious musical experience that I consider Springsteen to be, which is why even when he was considerably younger than he is now his Springsteen chops were full-formed. In what can be viewed fairly as him returning the favor, over the course of the past several years he has worked hard at expanding the old man's musical horizons. Among the work to which he has introduced me is that of a Jersey-based rock and roll band The Gaslight Anthem.

Again, full disclosure compels me to admit that I likely would know none of this band's music - or their name for that matter - but for my son's passionate support of them. I consider myself fortunate for the introduction. There were days (back in the halcyon days of iPod ownership - before a big bird swooped down and stole it from me) that I swore I ran faster and longer than I otherwise would have considered possible with the songs from one of their CDs pulsating in my ears. An incomparable elixir. Better than water. Better than Gatorade. Better than even GU. Yes, I said it - even better than GU.

If you have happened past this space at any moment in time prior to this very day than you have waded through my oft-repeated disclaimer about not caring what others read, listen to or watch. I am compelled to give it again right here. I own no stake in the things such as music, books, movies that I proclaim a rooting interest in so whether you share my enthusiasm for them does not impact my bottom line at all. Nevertheless, if you are a person like I am who finds it increasingly depressing trying to wade through all of the mind-numbing dreck that occupies the shelves of most record stores (presuming you can even find a "record store" anywhere), then you might want to do yourself the favor of checking out "American Slang", which is being released today. Will not checking it out kill you or injure you in any way? Not that I am aware of. But doing so might in fact put a smile on your face and that will certainly not kill you.

Having had the pleasure of listening to this latest disc on-line via a link Rob sent me several days ago I already have carved out a spot in my musical heart for the song that speaks to me most directly. Thematically, "Old Haunts" reminds me of something that I have beaten my kids over the heads with their entire lives: life is a journey lived going forward. There is always a bit of room for nostalgia and for looking back happily at rivers crossed and steps taken but the time devoted to glancing backwards cannot be permitted to infringe too greatly on the time devoted to the "as yet un-lived" portion of one's life.

You grow personally, emotionally and/or professionally and you live. You stop growing and you die. Maybe not physically at first but most assuredly emotionally and mentally. And once that occurs, your body becomes nothing but a carrying case. It is my understanding from the primers that Rob has given me repeatedly on this band that their lead singer Brian Fallon, whose lyrics and music they perform, is not yet 30 years old. Remarkable stuff indeed.

And God help the man who says
If you'd have known me when
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts.
Old haunts are for forgotten ghosts.

Pressing onward and forward takes more than just a bit of skill and good fortune. It takes courage, which after all is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. And here's the damned thing about it: there is always something else more important than fear.

-AK

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