Winter not only exists in the physical world but in our hearts as well. I love this song because it describes that feeling of exhaustion and fatigue after a string of failed lovers. It’s not even about finding love after so long, but rather the high that comes along with being with someone. The fire in your heart burns out and your filled with ice. You become so numb that it doesn’t even matter who touches you. All you want is to feel some kind of heat.
(Photo courtesy of Paul Mangus)
Theresa Göttl Brightman
Album: Songs of Experience
Song: Get of Your Own Way
I recently got U2’s newest album, and am loving the positive messaging—I think it’s one of the best albums they’ve put out in a while. This song in particular has been speaking to me as a kind of rallying call to get myself motivated to tackle the creative projects I want to pursue [this] year.
Artist: Beaten Awake
Song: Mr. Thompson (Can You Dig It?)
“Winters are so long in Northeast Ohio. While I love the fall, and the run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s, everything between January 2nd and, we’ll say mid-May is such a slog. There’s no sun a lot of days, everything is muddy and gray, and it takes a toll on me. My moods are super affected by the weather, and when I was younger I would wallow in the melancholy and cheerlessness that seemed to permeate this rainy and overcast stretch of months by listening to music that reinforced those feelings. Folk tunes, mostly, mournful and dour. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve changed that behavior and insist on only listening to music that makes me want to punch melancholy in the face. Beaten Awake was a band based out of Kent, OH in the mid 2000’s, and put out two records on the record label Pat Carney ran during the same time. There were two singer-songwriters, Jon Finley and Joel McAdams. Both were great, but this is a Jon song. If the world was fair and just, Beaten Awake should have been as popular as any other indie rock band of that era, and Jon Finley should have been a voice of his generation. He has a tremendous singing voice, which is something incredibly lacking in a lot of indie rock bands of any era. Dude can howl. He also writes tunes that have fairly simple structures, which is one of the hardest things to do…the beauty of a Jon Finley song (or Tom Petty, or Springsteen, or Kurt Cobain) is that you can learn to play one of his songs in about 10 minutes, but it will take you a lifetime to be able to write a tune so tightly constructed and immediately impacting and memorable. Like most of my favorite songs, I don’t know what it’s about, but I challenge anyone to put this song on (find it on Spotify, or seek the album out online or at Square Records) and not immediately feel like you need to do something important RIGHT NOW. Jon Finley should be co-writing songs with Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift right now; instead, he opened a pizza place in Kent called Lucci’s Place, named after his grandmother, and still plays music (most notably in the Columbus band Eye). There is no shame in not ‘making it big.’ That’s just the way the world works. But anyone interested in regional music needs to listen to these Beaten Awake records…if those don’t convince you that local talent can be every bit as inspiring as a band that makes a living from playing, nothing will.