The traditions of what make “thanks giving” run so much deeper than that of the fantasy of Pilgrims and Native Americans, or as writer James Baker more aptly put it, the whole idea that’s “tempest in a beanpot.” Nonetheless, in the post-War (WWII, not the United State Civil War during which the current US Federal Holiday was codified) culture here we’ve grandfathered it into our lexicon a formalized idea of faith and hope and familial love as best exemplified by the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street. It’s a little more idyllic for modern society and a little less pre-genecidal as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore the food, the festivities and the family time of the common reality, but those all existed in celebrations of thanks long before the Americas. As with everything else in our grand “melting pot” of our society we’d adapted, adopted and otherwise appropriated those kind of celebration and thus made them culturally our own.
And, that’s my first Thanks for the season, the flexibility of its interpretation: I can pick and choose what I like of the vast array of traditions that exist even in the homogenized US interpretation and make it uniquely my own with those around me who wish to share in the same way.
Musically, many musicians have chosen to do just that in their lyrics, their use of melody, harmony and rhythm, their interpretation of what constitutes family and home and thanks. It is in this that I give my second thanks that there are so many expressions of it that cover a vast array of all these interpretations.
And in-as-such to all of my friends, and family and in some cases the musicians I know personally from the contributors below, I want to sincerely say thank you for providing me a home to be the absolutely wonderful and supportive people they have been, as classmates and coworkers, as mentors and bosses, as clients and co-conspirators and congregants at church, as roommates and co-habitants during the more couch-born parts of my life and everyone else that defies category or conspicuous identity, you are not lost or forgotten, we’ve shared and that in-and-of-itself is what is ultimately important, I am who I am if only in small part as a result of our time together.
So to that I’m taking a little time today to try and pair down my library to a few quick songs to put into a monday mixtape some of what that is, was or will be… it’s fun even though i know it’s also completely incomplete, so as I add to it I’ll let you know but in the meantime enjoy:
“Thank You (Dziekuje)” Dave Brubeck Quartet from Jazz Impressions of Eurasia
“Thank You” Led Zeppelin from
“Happy now” New London Fire feat. Bethany Spears from I Sing the Body Holographic
“Prayer” Sevendust from 7dust (acoustic, from ssdw)
“A Place Called Home” PJ Harvey from Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
“My Hometown” Bruce Springsteen from Born in the USA
“Sunday Afternoons on Wisdom Ave” the Mighty Mighty Bosstones from the Magic of Youth
“Wishbone” Clutch from the Elephant Riders
“True Believer” the Bouncing Souls from How I Spent My Summer Vacation
“Family Tree” H2O from H2O
“For the Record” Stretch Arm Strong from a Revolution Transmission
“Hallowed be thy Name” Indecision from Unorthodox (for those i love, i will sacrifice!)
“Angle without Wings” Zao from Parade of Chaos
“Thanks” Volbeat from Beyond Hell, Above Heaven
“a Place Called Home” Ignite from a Place Called Home
“Reaching Home” Textures from Dualism
“Into Oblivion (Reunion)” Funeral From a Friend from Tales Don’t Tell Themselves
“It’s Cool (to love your family)” Fiest from Monarch (Lay Your Jeweled Head Down)
“Ode to My family” the Cranberries from No Need to Argue
“Thank you for the memory” Ella Fitzgerald
because I couldn’t fit it in as smoothly but still wanted to include it
“Gratitude” the Beastie Boys from the Sounds of Science
and because this song means so much more now and needed a special place of reflection (10/11/13)
“Wrapped in Your Arms” Fireflight from Unbreakable
and please, i implore you, don’t forget to give to your brothers and sisters who aren’t of blood:
do your part in the wake of Sandy, so many families despite the progress in the area still need your help, these just aren’t my kith and kin here in the Dirty Jerz and NYC, it’s my home in so many ways and it needs you.