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F*ck California: Wild Light’s Debut Album

As much as I love Van Morrison, viagra canada viagra there’s a special place in my heart for Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia On My Mind”. Sure, decease Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorell wrote the song in 1930 and countless people have covered it, cure but it undeniably belongs to The Genius. The sweeping strings, the tickled ivories, the choir in perfect harmony, and of course, the voice – how could it not be one of the greatest songs ever?? (For what it’s worth, Rolling Stone ranked it as the 44th Greatest Song of All Time.)

Before you read on, please listen to Brother Ray sing one of the songs on my desert-island mix.

Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind has been, and still continues to be, a source of enduring comfort and inspiration. I’ve reached out for the song during moments of deep, unyielding sadness when it felt like nothing could possibly dig me out, but somehow, at least for those 3 minutes and 40 seconds, the song brings about an inexplicable calm. The sadness itself doesn’t magically disappear, but it does (after much repeated listening) eventually morph into the good kind of sadness (sadness, after all, can be beautiful). Equally as powerful were the moments of intense happiness and gratification that also demanded repeated listening. I’ll admit that some past relationships have induced many-a-repeat listening brought on by joy and eventually sadness; it could, in fact, be said that the song acted as bookends for those relationships. The only relationship to start with Ray and not end with him is…my marriage. I don’t think even my wife, Amanda, knows the value of this song in my life, or that during my music-listening sessions late at night after she’s fallen asleep I frequently play the song while thinking about how much I love her and am grateful that we were able to find each other. (Hi, honey! You’re my only reader so it’s ok to be dripping with sentimentality!)

When I was in college, one of my favorite TV shows was Quantum Leap. In the second season (my freshman year), Sam leaps into the body of an undercover cop in order to save the life of his partner. It was the late 60s and the Vietnam War is raging, and Al (the observer) is a young Navy pilot captured by the North Vietnamese. The undercover cop happened to live in the same city as Al’s wife (Beth), who, despondent after hearing of Al’s MIA status, is about to meet the man who would eventually become Beth’s second husband. We later find out that Al had engineered this particular leap so that he could ask Sam to convince Beth that he’s still alive and that he will return to her. I don’t recall much more from this episode, but I do distinctly remember a tender moment when Beth is slowly dancing alone with arms outstretched as if Al were holding her, and the song on the radio is Charles’ Georgia On My Mind. In the end, as much as it troubles him to do so, Sam refuses to help Al because it is against Leaping rules (or whatever it’s called). Now skip to the series finale three years later and Sam is given another opportunity to help Al, even though doing so could deny what he wants most – to go back home. He leaps back as himself and finds Beth where we last saw her in the second season and proceeds to tell her that Al is fine and will return home soon all the while we hear Charles sing in the background. A very moving conclusion to a wonderful show.

Hmmm, this entry was suppose to be about Van Morrison’s version of Georgia On My Mind. While many of Van Morrison’s songs elicit the same emotional reaction, I’ll save the importance of Van Morrison in my life for another entry. As for his version (found in the 2002 album, Down the Road), it’s pretty darn good. For the most part, it’s representative of his signature blend of classic R&B, emotive blues, and impassioned vocals with occasional jazz phrasings. It’s Van Morrison – ’nuff said.

Georgia on My Mind, Van Morrison.
Georgia On My Mind, Ray Charles.
Georgia On My Mind, Willie Nelson. This is bonus – I love Willie Nelson.

(If you need a good laugh, check out Michael Bolton’s vocal histrionics-laden version with, that’s right, Kenny G. And yes, YouTube voters gave it 5 Stars. I dare you to make it past two minutes of it! In the interest of science, however, I watched the whole video – all 301 seconds.)


As much as I love Van Morrison, viagra canada viagra there’s a special place in my heart for Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia On My Mind”. Sure, decease Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorell wrote the song in 1930 and countless people have covered it, cure but it undeniably belongs to The Genius. The sweeping strings, the tickled ivories, the choir in perfect harmony, and of course, the voice – how could it not be one of the greatest songs ever?? (For what it’s worth, Rolling Stone ranked it as the 44th Greatest Song of All Time.)

Before you read on, please listen to Brother Ray sing one of the songs on my desert-island mix.

Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind has been, and still continues to be, a source of enduring comfort and inspiration. I’ve reached out for the song during moments of deep, unyielding sadness when it felt like nothing could possibly dig me out, but somehow, at least for those 3 minutes and 40 seconds, the song brings about an inexplicable calm. The sadness itself doesn’t magically disappear, but it does (after much repeated listening) eventually morph into the good kind of sadness (sadness, after all, can be beautiful). Equally as powerful were the moments of intense happiness and gratification that also demanded repeated listening. I’ll admit that some past relationships have induced many-a-repeat listening brought on by joy and eventually sadness; it could, in fact, be said that the song acted as bookends for those relationships. The only relationship to start with Ray and not end with him is…my marriage. I don’t think even my wife, Amanda, knows the value of this song in my life, or that during my music-listening sessions late at night after she’s fallen asleep I frequently play the song while thinking about how much I love her and am grateful that we were able to find each other. (Hi, honey! You’re my only reader so it’s ok to be dripping with sentimentality!)

When I was in college, one of my favorite TV shows was Quantum Leap. In the second season (my freshman year), Sam leaps into the body of an undercover cop in order to save the life of his partner. It was the late 60s and the Vietnam War is raging, and Al (the observer) is a young Navy pilot captured by the North Vietnamese. The undercover cop happened to live in the same city as Al’s wife (Beth), who, despondent after hearing of Al’s MIA status, is about to meet the man who would eventually become Beth’s second husband. We later find out that Al had engineered this particular leap so that he could ask Sam to convince Beth that he’s still alive and that he will return to her. I don’t recall much more from this episode, but I do distinctly remember a tender moment when Beth is slowly dancing alone with arms outstretched as if Al were holding her, and the song on the radio is Charles’ Georgia On My Mind. In the end, as much as it troubles him to do so, Sam refuses to help Al because it is against Leaping rules (or whatever it’s called). Now skip to the series finale three years later and Sam is given another opportunity to help Al, even though doing so could deny what he wants most – to go back home. He leaps back as himself and finds Beth where we last saw her in the second season and proceeds to tell her that Al is fine and will return home soon all the while we hear Charles sing in the background. A very moving conclusion to a wonderful show.

Hmmm, this entry was suppose to be about Van Morrison’s version of Georgia On My Mind. While many of Van Morrison’s songs elicit the same emotional reaction, I’ll save the importance of Van Morrison in my life for another entry. As for his version (found in the 2002 album, Down the Road), it’s pretty darn good. For the most part, it’s representative of his signature blend of classic R&B, emotive blues, and impassioned vocals with occasional jazz phrasings. It’s Van Morrison – ’nuff said.

Georgia on My Mind, Van Morrison.
Georgia On My Mind, Ray Charles.
Georgia On My Mind, Willie Nelson. This is bonus – I love Willie Nelson.

(If you need a good laugh, check out Michael Bolton’s vocal histrionics-laden version with, that’s right, Kenny G. And yes, YouTube voters gave it 5 Stars. I dare you to make it past two minutes of it! In the interest of science, however, I watched the whole video – all 301 seconds.)



As the end of the decade approaches, generic cialis sick I’m mindful of 2009 albums that in some way reflect the entire decade.  Wild Light, a band from New Hampshire – that’s right, New Hampshire – released a debut album earlier this year that manages to capture much of this decade’s indie pop scene.  They proudly wear their influences on their sleeves and don’t give a damn what you think.  New and original?  No, but they sure know how to craft nearly perfect pop songs that you just want to put on repeat.

Listen to the entire album and you’ll hear Beulah, Magnetic Fields, MGMT, Fountains of Wayne, Phantom Planet, The Shins, Weezer, and Freedy Johnston – and that’s just the 2000s (earlier influences include R.E.M., The Smiths, Brian Wilson).

California On My Mind, Wild Light (from Adult Nights, 2009).  Perhaps the best use of “f*ck” in a song in a long time.  If this doesn’t get your head bopping, then nothing will.  And it’s a nice contrast to that other song about California.

Heart Attack, Wild Light (from Adult Nights, 2009).
New Year’s Eve, Wild Light (from Adult Nights, 2009).

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