Oh, how bad are the flowers of opium? Not as bad as this band from Los Angles, I dare say. Bad of course, in a good way in meaning towards this band. I love how the young use bad as a compliment. I love how the young can display the middle finger to each other and adore it with love as the old look on astonished with disgust and confusion. That to me is at the heart of rock and roll. It in a way separates it from the blues a little. Hip Hop flourishes to a degree with that same middle finger to the old who are hardened by the ritual daily habits of respectability and responsibility. It’s not that these virtues are bad, but too much of any virtue seems a bad thing. Too much virtue can turn a beautifully exciting painted canvas of living into a boring stretched out tater sack. Sin a little to give virtue meaning. Never grow so old that a soaped mouth is never near. Live a little.
“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”
― Henry Miller
There is a place between a man’s lips and his heart that bellows without any bitter interference. As a young boy on Sunday mornings in Pine Top, Kentucky at the Omaha Bible Church, I first experienced the sweet mountain bellow from the ladies that would sing solo hymns without any accompanying instruments or electrical amplification. The best part of going to church to me has always been the music. I can’t help but wonder if any ladies of the mountain imprinted that sweet bellow on a young Tyler in some southeastern Kentucky church because he sure bellows from that sweet spot that only pain can orchestrate.
I can’t tell if Tyler is from Paintsville or Louisa. Kentucky. He sings about Hindman and Virgie which is a half days walk from where most my family line runs hot. So maybe I’m naturally partial to this artist. Maybe it has to do with Sturgill Simpson co producing Tyler’s soon to be released “Purgatory” album. Maybe it has to do with his lyrics bringing home the stories of life that know my own breath so well. Maybe it has to do with a little heathen having sat in a church pew in Pine Top, Kentucky so many years ago. I’m partial to Tyler Childers music and I can’t see no good reason not to be.
“The preacher raised a finger. He plunged it into the Bible, his eyes roving the benches. When the text was spread before him on the printed page he looked to see what the Lord had chosen. He began to read. I knew then where his mouth was in the beard growth.
“‘The sea saw it and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. Tremble, thou earth…’ ”
He snapped the book to. He leaned over the pulpit.
“I was borned in a ridge-pocket,” he said. “I never seed the sun-ball withouten heisting my chin. My eyes were sot upon the hills from the beginning. Till I come on the Word in this good Book, I used to think a mountain was the standingest object in the sight o’ God. Hit says here they go skipping and hopping like sheep, a-rising and a-falling. These hills are jist dirt waves, washing through eternity. My brethren, they hain’t a valley so low but what hit’ll rise agin. They hain’t a hill standing so proud but hit’ll sink to the low ground o’sorrow. Oh, my children, where are we going on this mighty river of earth, a-borning, begetting, and a-dying – the living and the dead riding the waters? Where air it sweeping us?”- James Still (excerpt from River of Earth)