Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We All Need "Sun" From Time To Time

You may recall that my friend Dylan was soliciting all good creative people to make art, music, writings, or any thing artistic thing based on the Beatles' "White Album".   You see, that's his wife Amanda's favorite Beatles album.  She knows it inside and out.  It makes her happy to hear it.  And she really needed some cheering up after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It hit everyone pretty hard, but it hit Dylan and Amanda probably more like an atomic bomb mounted to a runaway locomotive.  He can tell you better than I can.

I was ready to jump all over this.  My mind started flooding with collaboration ideas and tune adaptations.  I started work pretty quickly after Dylan put out the call.  Me and Pete worked on "Bungalow Bill", but I was never quite pleased with how the bass sounded for that.  Kevin and I started "Here Comes The Sun", which of course isn't on "The White Album", but Dylan let me off the hook on that one.  Other great performances started trickling in, and I kept delaying on my tunes for this project.  Finally - I think it was in April or May - I started to get back to it.  And then it started to suck me in.

You see, I've always liked "Here Comes The Sun" - it's always been a favorite tune of mine.  I like the tunes that Harrison writes, but this song.  This freaking song, man.  In order to learn the bass line, I had to listen to it many, many times (what can I say?  I'm kinda rusty on bass.)  And each time, it was more and more of a pleasure.  This is maybe the only song that actually can cheer me up if I feel bad.  It is the one song that won't let me be cynical about the world, and cynicism is something that comes very easily for me.  It gives me hope.  It reminds me that any tough spots I have are temporary.  It makes me very happy.  And I owe it to Dylan and Amanda for forcing me to get intimate with this song.  Because it has brought me such profound joy to go through it so carefully.

My wife Mary Beth wanted to pitch in, and I thought I'd make it a family affair and invite Marina to share vocal duties since she did such a great job on the Christmas tune.  This project was getting exciting; this project was picking up both talent and speed.  The funny thing was that it took me so long to do this, that Amanda was actually declared cancer free.  Even better, methinks: this song was now a song of celebration more than a song for raising spirits.  We decided to finish it.

Shortly before we finished, we - Mary Beth, me, Amanda, Dylan and lots of other people - received some utterly devastating news:  while Amanda triumphed over cancer, another good friend of ours Annie Endris passed away quietly while looking at the sea on the coast of South Carolina.  Annie had cancer as well.  I don't want to eulogize her here.  I'll just say if it wasn't for Annie, whom I've known since college, and who introduced me to some of my closest friends by getting me in the CYO Camp family, I'd have a lot less warm, meaningful relationships than I do now.  She was a spiritual mentor to so many; her gifts of compassion and empathy are unsurpassed.  With the aid of coffee and cigarettes*, she  (and countless other people) shared joys, and helped get through some tough times. Ultimately, see my self worth.  No small task.  And now she was gone.  Now, it was me who needed "Here Comes The Sun".

"Here Comes The Sun" is finally finished.  I am so proud of it.  I am so thankful to everyone who pitched in to make it as great as it is.  Take a listen:

In celebration of Amanda; in memory of Annie.  Thank you both for the sun you've brought into my life.

"Here Comes The Sun" performed by:
Mary Beth O'Brien - lead vocals
Marina O'Brien-Zink - lead vocals
Dan Lodge-Rigal - all backing vocals, accordion, mandolin
Kevin Reynolds - guitars, all recording and post production
Matt Zink - bass
Thank you to all the musicians for making this a truly beautiful, meaningful experience.

*-I want to be clear that she kicked cigarettes years ago.  To my knowledge, it wasn't lung cancer that killed her.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you and your family and friends for that beautiful bit of sun