Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Lone Star's Loneliest Girl?

Six Pence None the Richer fan? Come on; 'fess up. You'll be glad to know that Texas-raised Leigh Nash has put out her very own CD. After 13 years as lead vocalist for Six Pence (which Nash began at age 14) the group disbanded two years ago. Around that time, Nash had her first (and currently only) child and began work on her own album.

As soon as I saw the ad for Blue on Blue, I drove out to Lifeway Christian store (which was advertising it) and bought it. The 11-song album was released in stores on August 15th. Nash co-wrote all of the songs on this album, and the lyrics have a very different focus than those on the Six Pence albums which Matt Slocum authored.

I suppose the album title is related to Nash's song, Blue. It sounds like a break-up song. She sings:

Say goodbye to me.
I'll say goodbye to you, cause I can't move.
The world won't bend enough
For you to see that love is worth all the trouble

There is a dream that I can't finish
A need that I can't fill
All my dreams have been diminished
You're a habit I'm trying to kill

I try to know you
But to know you is to be blue
I say goodbye
But I'm still in love with you

Like all the songs on the album, Blue is very catchy. I've always loved Nash's girlish yet mature, ultra-feminine, lilting vocal style. For fans of Nash's voice, you will not be disappointed. The album is pretty mellow with a piano-based ballad and other songs interspersed with clarinet action. I personally find the album musically plain, but I prefer a more edgy and percussion-heavy sound. The album is, however, a great listen.

On first blush, all of the songs appear to be about romantic relationships, but after reading a bit more about Nash in recent days, it turns out the album is partially inspired by her new role as mother. Her son Henry is now 2 years old. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Nash's label (through Nettwerk Productions) is called One Son Records.

Nash and her husband have been married for ten years, by the way; I don't know who he is. :-) In her "Thank You" section of the album cover, she writes, "Thank you to all the French Canadian musicians that played, I have a crush on all of you!!! A healthy married person's crush, but a crush none the less." I'm not a fan of talking about having crushes on other people when you are married, but....

The first song, Along the Wall, seems to describe a couple separated by a wall of mutual stubbornness and coldness. Nash asks, "Who is the wounded one? Which one will make the move? Which one is willing to lose?" And then there seems a subtle reference to Christ's ability to make all things new, to turn what was a stumbling block into a stepping stone. Nash sings:

All along the wall between us
I see a teacher there for us
I look at the wall; I see right through it
I lean on the wall there for us

Reconciliation, forgiveness, restoration, humility, and having a teachable heart - all good things. One of the things I love most about Six Pence are the spiritual
truths clearly but cleverly entwined in the lyrics. Nash's album does not have any overt Christian messages, which I personally find disappointing. As much as I love songs about relationships, without the central theme of God and His relation to man and ours to Him, I find such tunes ultimately unsatisfying.

Nervous in the Light of Dawn begins and ends with the calm, foreign sound of a
duduk. Anyone whose ever been depressed, lonely, or stayed up all night contemplating their own existence can connect with the lyrics. Nash speaks of feeling alone in a desert "without any love" and "wandering alone". She contemplates the reality that there is "nothing anyone can really own." Nash continues:

And I wished for guidance
And I wished for peace
I could see the lightning somewhere in the east
And I wished for affection and I wished for calm
As I lay there nervous in the light of dawn. . . .

Hold me in your arms until I fall asleep
I'm so tired; hold me

Several songs on the album are verging on sickeningly sweet. In
My Idea of Heaven Nash describes her idea of heaven as lying in the dark with her husband, feeling his "heart beating" and their "lips meeting." Hey nothing wrong with that, just a bit cheesy. But truly, the marital embrace is a foreshadowing of the bliss of heaven. I personally love the later lyrics, "I never thought you'd get here. Why'd you make me wait? But when I looked into your eyes I recognized you were my fate..... How in God's name did you find the lone star's loneliest girl?"

I thought I was the Lone Star's loneliest girl . . . ;-D

By the way, Yahoo Videos has a music video of My Idea of Heaven, but I can't watch it 'cause my computer doesn't have the right program (or whatever).

In Ocean Size Love Nash pines for the one she loves across the sea, but she is hopeful that their ocean size love will keep them bonded during their separation. Long-distance relationship? It's hard to tell what the motivating factor is behind this song and the others on Blue on Blue.

More of It is another one of the sticky-sweet songs, Nash opening with, "I am happy and at ease with love as it has turned out to be. You will be the man I lie beside when all is said and done with."

Ever felt like you could whether any insult or discouragement because your special someone loves you, and you know you'll be home with them soon, in the comfort of their arms, "your hand in mine"? Well apparently Nash has also felt that way. Her song Angel Tonight is all about that lousy day fading away as approaching night brings you home to the one who makes "everything all right." This could easily be a pop radio single.

Cloud Nine is funny 'cause there are two lines in the album cover that apparently were reworded in the final recording. The print says, "We're on fire, everybody knows. I look at you and there goes control." But Nash sings, "We're too high, everybody knows. I'm walking a real tight rope." It's fun either way. ;-D The gist of this song is, "When I'm on your mind, I'm on cloud nine." I really like this verse:

Twenty-four hours in a night and day
Should be plenty
For me to chase your thoughts my way
And let you catch me

Hehe. ;-D

I also especially like the chorus to Never Finish. Nash muses upon the euphoria of loving and being loved. It could apply to a romantic relationship, but it could very much apply to Nash's relationship with her son as a mother. She sings:

I've waited forever to know
How deep down my love will go
And no matter how hard I try to get it
It's the one thing that I'll never finish

What I love about this is the way it captures the "fruitful" element of love. True love is FREE, FAITHFUL, TOTAL and FRUITFUL. (Thank you John Paul II for teaching us this.) Real love is freely given, completely committed and monogamous, requires a total gift of self (i.e. not hiding the parts you don't like about yourself or rejecting your fertility through contraception and barriers - always gotta throw that in ;-). Love is also generous, overflowing, life-giving . . . FRUITFUL.

As you continue to truly love (i.e. your family, spouse, children, etc. . . .) your ability to love expands in ways you never thought possible. Parents often discover in themselves a whole new depth of love once their children enter into their lives. Hey, and if you are heaven-bound (your choice), your capacity to love and your sense of being loved will truly "never finish." It will grow and grow.

An interview article on MySpace quotes Nash as saying, "Motherhood came pretty fast, and I started writing a ton about Henry. I just found that there was a much deeper well within me than there had been before. This was probably because it was such an emotional process with the band breaking up and all the other things happening at once."

My favorite song on this album is Between the Lines, a song about being taken for granted, of not being heard, perhaps even of having one's love spurned. Nash says, "You may feel you wrote me. I'll be undercover. Until you need me. That's where I'll be." The chorus continues:

I'm talking to you
Not the Wailing Wall
If that's what you do
This link may fall

Between the lines
Can you read me?
Between the lines
That's where I'll be
Between hello and
I would give you the moon
Between I love you and I
I'll see you soon

At first, I thought the album's final song, Just a Little, was about Nash longing to be with her husband while on tour. The MySpace interview, however, claims Just a Little is a tribute to her toddler son, Henry. The song is very lullaby-esque; it's the perfect ending for the album, I think. The chorus has broad implications as it concludes with...

Life is a riddle
I wish I had the answer for
Love breaks your heart to teach you to be strong
I die just a little, so I can live just a little bit more

Anyone can be a critic, so I just want to make it clear that I think Nash has created an impressive CD (with the help of knowedgable friends and skilled musicians). I am holding my breath to hear the next album (whenever she puts one out) because I feel confident it will have more dynamic musicality and a lyrical depth that will showcase the fullness Mrs. Leigh Nash's talent.


Movement Nashville
Leigh Nash homepage

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Firing Line

Hello my darlings, It’s been a while, hasn't it? ;-D

I just finished reading Don Aslett's How to Have a 48-Hour Day again. I love this book; it always gets me motivated to DO things and to be productive. Near the end of the book Aslett has a blurb titled "Staying in the Firing Line." He writes:

Heroes and champions are made in the battle, in the game, on the front line, in fact the firing line. Where there is risk, injury, buffeting about, and opposition, is also the number one producing place.
The American dream is personal freedom, but going off the firing line isn't having it made, it isn't freedom. Ninety percent of the time, it's just the opposite: personal bondage! We work, scheme, stick our neck out, and sacrifice to achieve financial independence-so we don't have to answer to anyone. What happens when most people attain "it" and are off the firing line?-marriages fail, spirituality lessens, health deteriorates, enthusiasm evaporates, we become less charitable, and our attitudes sour. On teams and staffs, in families and organizations, the firing line is where everything is happening. It's where life, knowledge, and action abound, where the seeds of greatness are sown, sprouted, and harvested. When you insulate yourself from the action of the front lines, you cut yourself off from the very things that make you grow and prosper and make you productive.
So step out in front, to the firing line, where you're on the hot seat to produce and perform and be accountable. The good life isn't luxury; it's the ability to produce! Be where you have to answer, speak, give, duck, and deliver!
If we want to prove ourselves, then we have to keep ourselves on the proving grounds; stretched to and even beyond our capacity. (143)

Growing up in a financially-challenged home, I LOVED life. I didn't really care about having nice things; I just reveled in the time I had to bond with my mother and sisters. (Besides everything is a toy or a jungle gym when you are a child with lots of imagination.) Of course I wasn't the one worrying about paying the bills and keeping food on the table. But I have often thought, "What would I do with myself if I had a financially comfortable life some day?" Call me crazy, but I don't think I would like it. Just like Aslett said, I think I'd become less spiritually keen, less charitable, lazy. I guess if one lives a virtuous life he can be content and spiritually keen in any state. If one finds himself with great financial gains, the virtuous man will spend and invest and donate is wisely.

But, honestly, I don't want a comfortable, lounge-around the house while the maid cleans, vacation in the Alps 3 times a year family-life. No, I want to earn that vacation. I want to bond with my (one-day) family while doing dishes, scrubbing toilets, or painting the house. I don't want my future children to have everything handed to them on a silver platter. I want a life full of love and activity, bonding and productivity, love for the Lord and one another. (Reminds me of that song "Live Like You Were Dying.")

Once the persecution of Christians under the Roman emperors of the first few centuries A.D. ceased, Roman citizens converted to Christianity en masse. They didn't all have a sincere passion for the truth of salvation through Christ and a love for His Church; it was just what they were expected to do. So, certain Christians, desiring to live a life as passionately devoted to the faith as the martyrs of the Coliseum created for themselves a new sort of martyrdom; they become monks, nuns, hermits, friars, and such. They took (and still take today) vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. I mention this because it relates to Aslett's assertion that being out of the firing line of life often puts us in the position of becoming idle and indifferent. And so those who wanted to spend themselves completely for love of Christ found a way to do so.

This is the sort of life I want to lead - always alert and alive - seeking to live my life to the fullest and to love others to the fullest of my capacity. You only live once (and then you live forever ;-D). Pray fervently. Choose wisely.


"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:15-18)

"And I'll say to myself, 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:19-21)