January 7, 2013

Neil Young//Four Strong Winds

This used to be a music blog.

But it hasn't been for quite some time. Why?

1. The music business has changed.
2. The Internet has changed.
3. My life has changed.

And, so, it is with a heavy heart that I officially put One Sweet Song to bed.

But wait, you don't think I'd leave you empty-handed, do you? Because I wouldn't.

You can still listen to all your OSS favorites:

I've collected 480 tracks featured on this blog over the last four years, in order, on a Spotify archive playlist I made just for you.

This playlist is one day long. Let the jams begin! Find a song you like? Hit search on the blog to read the story of the song.

I've also made a list of all the songs that aren't on Spotify (it's kind of a relief that not everything's on Spotify, isn't it?).

Please take the time to dig these songs up and pay for them, because they are awesome.

Also, while I may be done here, I'm not done. I keep my personal site pretty updated with my latest work. I also recently contributed a piece about living through storms in NY to The Rumpus and some thoughts on Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" to the excellent long form music blog, One Week One Band. I'll have more music writing up there very soon.

Finally, I want to leave you with one last song.

"Four Strong Winds" was originally written in 1961 by a Canadian songwriter named Ian Tyson of the group The Brothers Four, but I'll always consider Neil Young's version to be the definitive one.
This song holds a special place in my heart. It was what we used to sing at closing campfire at my childhood summer camp. At the end of the final session of every summer, all the campers and counselors would gather around a giant bonfire and sing together off crumpled or many-times-folded photo-copied lyric sheets. Everyone, from the oldest camp director to the youngest camper, would be weeping, cuddled up to their closest friends as the impending fall chill crept silent through Catskills air.

When I hear the first chords of this song, the memories I have of singing it summer and after summer all through my youth still instantly bring tears to my eyes. I have been programmed in a Pavlovian manner to respond to this melody with big, sloppy, nostalgic tears. I think I can safely say that this is the song I want played at my funeral. But not played. I want everyone to sing it. Take note, God forbid.

It seems a bit silly to say it, but this blog has been with me through thick and thin, through the fat and the lean of the past four years of my life. While I may have never met many of you who read it, I felt a genuine connection to you through our shared love of songwriting, music and the people who make it. While I know that it's time for the sun to set on One Sweet Song, I'll miss sharing songs with you.

Now, I want you to imagine that we are all huddled around a campfire together. Crickets are chipping softly in the background. Lightening bugs are twinkling in the trees. Someone is quietly strumming a single acoustic guitar. We put our arms around each others' shoulders and start singing:

Four Strong Winds.mp3

If the good times are all gone,
Then I'm bound for movin' on.
I'll look for you if I'm ever back this way.