It has been a wonderful day. I took a personal day from work to take care of some things. I am feeling relaxed and do not have my usual Wednesday wipe-out. So it seems particularly odd to me that throughout this entire day I have not been able to think of one thing to write.
But then I found myself on iTunes checking to see if I had pre-ordered an upcoming album: Traveling Kind by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. I had not, so I clicked in my order and immediately received three of the songs. I listened to the title cut, and what I heard was pure poetry, in writing, music, mythology, and voice:
We don’t all die young to save our spark
from the ravages of time
But the first and last to leave their mark
Someday become the traveling kind.
The song is so new, I had to hand write out the lyrics — just like back in the day — because they are not yet available on the internet. Here is the second verse:
some are friends of yours and mine
and to those unsung we life our glass
may their songs become the traveling kind.
I started to consider what it means to be “the traveling kind.” There are actually other songs with the same title. I checked to see if it was an idiom, perhaps from the south. Couldn’t find any information.
What I get from the song, however, is that it has to do with music, with the stories we tell, with what we leave behind no matter how long our lives. In the fourth verse they sing:
There are mountains worth their weight in gold
Mere mortals dare not climb
Come you gypsy-sainted sinners bold
and claim them for the traveling kind.
I then thought about the ability to pre-order albums long before they come out. I have ordered this album, as well as the new ones coming from James Taylor, Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard, and Dawes. I do not need to hear these albums in advance to know I will love them. These artists are “the traveling kind.” Their songs are worth their weight in gold, as is their recording of them. Dawes may be a lot younger than the other musicians and singer/songwriters I mention here, but Taylor Goldsmith’s songwriting holds up well in comparison.
Gold is gold, after all.
Listen for yourself to the song “The Traveling Kind” linked below.
When the music slowly starts to fade
into the light’s last soft decline
let us lie down in that evening shade
and rest among the traveling kind.
And the song goes on for the traveling kind…