Sunday, October 29, 2006

Empty Out The Inside Of My Head

For my twenty-ninth birthday, Jason gave me tickets to a David Wilcox concert in Fort Worth that was actually on my birthday. I have long been a fan of David's music. (Can I call him just "David"? Calling him "Mr. Wilcox" sounds oddly formal for a folk singer. And I know I have this amusing habit of calling celebrities by their first name as if they were a personal friend. But calling him "David Wilcox" every time is just weird, so David it is.) One of my Stu-Stewarts introduced me to his music back in high school and the only other time I've seen him perform live was at his old stomping ground, the Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC.

For me, listening to David's music has always felt like home. It is a comforting mix of acoustic guitar, his mellow voice, and the simple, authentic, piercing lyrics of his songs. They are songs that have comforted me, reminded me of a truth that I had forgotten, or just made me laugh with their tongue-in-cheekness.

Every morning, I commute.
Mild-mannered man, in a business suit.
When I wanna come home at the end of my day
There's all these other cars stacked up in my way.
I pull up behind one, pull out my pistol, blow 'em away
Yeah, I got to get to where I'm going too quick

Little ol' lady, bless her heart, She's walkin' her poodle 'cross the boulevard.
It was wearin' a red knit sweater, little knitted hat
Probably named "Fifi" or somethin' stupid like that!
I say, "Here Fifi", pulled out my pistol, blew it away.

The show was in a smaller studio of Fort Worth's premiere venue, Bass Performance Hall. McDavid Studio holds a simple stage. Around it are small round tables that can seat three to four people. It made for a very relaxed, intimate setting and there were wasn't a bad seat in the place. Jason and I opted for a table over to the right. Jason loves David's music too and it was actually a few of our first conversations last summer that brought me back to familiar songs. Except I began to hear them in a new way. Last October, on my birthday, it was a David Wilcox song that gave me just the nudge I needed to make a difficult but wise and much needed decision.

Now if heaven is perfection, I'll get my deepest questions answered
Like a child tears into presents to a Christmas tune
But in that big hall, let there be a bright red ribbon
That stays wrapped around the mystery of Someday Soon

Someday Soon made a promise I will follow
Someday Soon is why I try
Someday Soon told me: "Take this cup of empty hope up to the well that's dry
Where there's just enough of Someday Soon to satisfy"

And now here I am, my Someday Soon a present reality at long last! The concert was wonderful. A true artist, David sounds just as good performing live as he does on his CDs. With each song and each story, I was home. It was the most familiar thing I have experienced since I moved here. A piece of North Carolina smack dab in the middle of Texas. Jason turned to me with a delighted smile and whispered, "I'm not sure if this is a present for you or for me!" Turns out it was a much needed gift for both of us. So many of David's songs offered up hope and truth and a reminder of why we're here in the first place.

You say you see no hope,
You say you see no reason we should dream that the world would ever change
You're saying Love is foolish to believe
'Cause there'll always be some crazy with an Army or a Knife
To wake you from your day dream, put the fear back in your life...

Look, if someone wrote a play just to glorify what's stronger than hate,
Would they not arrange the stage to look as if the hero came too late?
He's almost in defeat, it's looking like the Evil side will win,
So on the edge of every seat, from the moment that the whole thing begins...

It is Love who makes the mortar
And it's Love who stacked these stones
And it's Love who made the stage here although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us but it's Love that wrote the play...
For in this darkness Love can show the way

So now the stage is set. Feel you own heart beating in your chest.
This life's not over yet so we get up on our feet and do our best.
We play against the fear. We play against the reasons not to try.
We're playing for the tears burning in the happy angel's eyes

For it's Love who makes the mortar
And it's Love who stacked these stones
And it's Love who made the stage here although it looks like we're alone
In this scene set in shadows like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us but it's Love that wrote the play...
For in this darkness Love can show the way

Seeing an artist like David is always inspiring to me. I sat in the room and I marveled at the creative mind and seeking heart that can write such powerful, insightful words. He obviously delights in the whole writing process. The songs, whether played for years or just written, are like dear friends to him. There was no apparent set list, just a musical exploration as he would retune his guitar and then say in awe, "Oh, this song!" as he found the one that fit the moment. And when it was all over, when the requisite encore had been called for, David came back on stage. With a grin on his face and joy that could barely be contained, he sang words of truth that I think will carry Jason and I both through the next few months.

It's the choice of a lifetime - I'm almost sure
I will not live my life in between anymore
If I can't be certain of all that's in store
This far it feels so right
I will hold it up - hold it up to the light,
Hold it up to the light, hold it up to the light

The search for my future has brought me here
This is more than I'd hoped for, but sometimes I fear
That the choice I was made for will someday appear
And I'll be too late for that flight
So hold it up - hold it up to the light,
Hold it up to the light, hold it up to the light

It's too late - to be stopped at the crossroads
Each life here - a possible way
But wait - and they all will be lost roads
Each road's getting shorter the longer I stay
Now as soon as I'm moving - my choice is good
This way comes through right where I prayed that it would
If I keep my eyes open and look where I should
Somehow all of the signs are in sight
If I hold it up to the light

I said God, will you bless this decision?
I'm scared, Is my life at stake?
But I see if you gave me a vision
Would I never have reason to use my faith?

I was dead with deciding - afraid to choose
I was mourning the loss of the choices I'd lose
But there's no choice at all if I don't make my move
And trust that the timing is right
Yes and hold it up hold it up to the light
Hold it up to the light, hold it up to the light

2 comments:

  1. One point of dispute with your description -- our pal David sounds better live than on his CDs, and the best of his CDs by far are the live ones. His stage presence is at least as great a part of his charm as his musicianship. I'm glad you enjoyed the concert. :)

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  2. Stuart H.1:04 AM

    I will take a small amount of credit for that one:) I just got through inundating Stephanie in David's (I said it too) Discology during drives across FL, we almost made it through all of them. I listened to "Hold it Up to the Light" before buying the ring and I am soooo jealous you got to see him live. It's been a while. I hope Jason doesn't insist on singing harmony to every one of his songs!

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