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Trail Mix 2020 – Vol. IV

This volume of Trail Mix arrives during somber times.

Over the last month, the world has turned upside down. Folks aren’t working, businesses, schools, and colleges are shuttered, families are sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.

Many things that were so important just a few weeks ago now seem so trivial. Like so many others, my family has been figuring out, as we soldier on through this pandemic from our little corner of our street, just what is important. The pace of our lives has slowed down. Extracurricular activities have been canceled and the scope of our life and our perspective have been refocused. We are lucky. We are healthy. We are together.

We are definitely learning to live without extraneous distractions and embracing anew what it means to live with each other.

But, while many things have been set aside for the moment, one thing that remains omnipresent has been music. Throughout this ordeal. our house has been alive with it. The soundtrack to Guardians In The Galaxy has streamed incessantly through my son’s iPod. I took in a documentary on Oasis and have been delving through the band’s records. I’ve spent three straight Tuesday nights spent with Phish and the band’s Dinner & A Movie feature, which has Trey Anastasio and his wife sharing a recipe and then LivePhish broadcasting an archived performance from the band. And we have enjoyed countless concerts from the comfort of our couch, as musicians throughout the country share their songs from their living rooms.

Music is helping us through.

When we all get through this mess, we will look back and see that COVID-19 left an indelible impact on the music world. Two nights ago, my songwriting hero, John Prine, succumbed to complications from the disease. Prine was the first songwriter who ever grabbed me in the guts and turned me inside out. I laughed with him, cried with him, and always marveled at the tongue-in-cheek way he crafted his songs, both silly and serious at the same time. So I was struck low two weeks ago when I heard he had contracted the virus, but I had hope when, a few days later, it was reported that he was making progress and his status was improving. Two nights ago, the unimaginable happened when I heard the news that he had passed. Since then, our house has been alive with Prine, revisiting his incredible catalog of music, as a way to honor the passing of a songwriting giant.

It’s my hope that this month’s mix can be a soundtrack for your coming weeks. There is a collection of tremendous artists here, some new, some returning friends. Dig in and listen, whether it be from home or when you have headed outside to find some space in the wild. Music is one thing that will help us through this. Listen often. Listen with joy. Find some comfort and peace in this mix and whatever other music you are spinning.

Be safe, friends.

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