Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Songbook: Volume Eight

I consider Steve Earle to be a kindred spirit of mine. That doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. I’ve never been to prison on drug possession, been married seven times or had a picture of Reba McEntire taped to my toilet seat. Ok, maybe the last one. But it’s not as though I can say that we have lived highly similar lives.

But he’s one of those guys you admire even when you don’t agree with him. He wears his heart and his politics on his sleeve. He brings the punk rock ethos of speaking truth to power and places it into a country music context. That makes his songs all the more powerful. It also helps that the guy is just an amazing songwriter. The man knows how to write a song that is meaningful and that will stay with you for days on end.

Last week I listened to I Feel Alright again as part of the random CD project. I had forgotten just how much I like this song. I wanted to play it over and over again at full volume. The story behind this song is that this is what was truly his return from government imposed rehab, which is a nice way to describe a prison stay. He had been as low and as close to death as you could get and this was his return to the light. He was back but he had kept his snarl.

For some reason I really identified with this song. I did play this song repeatedly, yelling the line “I’ve been to hell and now I’m back again.” Maybe that is a little harsh to describe my life but it really rings true. As anyone who has read this site with any level of a critical eye knows that I just haven’t been happy with my life for a very long time. I’ve had a lot of crappy moments over the past couple of years. Some (maybe most) were my fault but in the end I was just not enjoying myself. That is never a good thing to say about your life.

But the past month or two have been different. I’m actually having fun again. Not that things are easy or all of my anxieties have gone away. I just feel like I can take on all of the challenges and smile through them all. I feel alright. My life isn’t perfect but I can appreciate the mistakes. Steve explains it better than I can.

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