Whatever is True…Telling the End of the Story in Song

Jonatha Brooke

Jonatha Brooke performing in New York “My Mother Has 4 Noses,” (photo Sadrine Lee NYTimes)

Now that I’m in my mid-life I find as I listen to an album of an artist I followed vehemently in the 90’s or 00’s I think, “What are they doing now?” Just as my creative practice is still going strong, isn’t theirs?

Some have faded and yet I have found a stalwart set of very good musician friends (whose work has inspired me for many years) still in the game if not perhaps making some of their best work; artists such as Over the Rhine, Jackson Brown, Buddy and Julie Miller, Patty Griffin and Emmy Lou Harris keep going strong.

Recently I began listening again to the album “Angel in the House” by the Story.   Jonatha Brooke one of the artists in that duo broke out on her own soon after that album’s release in 1993 and I faithfully purchased her CDs in the subsequent years. Her songs stood sure footed with hard won lyrics, a sincere voice, and were embodied in a singer songwriter and jazz inspired creation that I found striking (Check out the album “Plumb”). Many of her songs I can still quote by heart.

Jonatha Brooke

Jonatha Brooke performing. (photo Sandrine Lee NYTimes)

I discovered in the last weeks that her most recent project was a one woman musical in which she recounts taking care of her mother through stages of dementia. I bought the CD “My Mother Has 4 Noses” initially (yes I still buy CDs) because I simply like her music, unaware that it was a musical. Listening to it, there were several songs, one of which “Time” I found arresting.

Reading the liner notes (those come with actual CDs you know) I discovered the song was written when she put her mother in hospice and Jonatha knew it was the end of her mothers life. Knowing the content now, her song struck an even greater cord in me for over seven years ago I followed my own mother down that same path. The song was like a punch in the gut.  It was then when the album was playing recently in the kitchen when making dinner I stopped it when the song “Time” came on.  I didn’t want to go where it would take me, as I began to remember that moment in my own life and my mothers with clarity.  I gave myself a few minutes and then sat down, took a deep breath, pressed play, and let the song do its work.

I was awestruck when I found that the one clip on-line from the musical is the song “Time.”   It packs a emotional chord even more so in her performance. Tolstoy in his essay “What is Art?” relates that good art is infectious in its clear transmission of emotion. Jonatha’s song does that in spades.

Here is a link to a good article on the show in the NY Times, and here is the website for her or actual show.

About abiggerworldyet

Visual Artist Brother Sojourner College Professor Christ follower
This entry was posted in Currently on the turntable.... and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Whatever is True…Telling the End of the Story in Song

  1. As often happens, Tim, I “save” an email that I want time to read…like when my notification came that you had posted something new on your blog and I’m just now getting around to reading it. Thanksgivings for this introduction to Jonatha Brooke! Oh.my.she’s under my skin.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s