I've been spending some time recently listening to two recordings, both of which are recent acquisitions for me. One I picked up for $1.07, plus a lot of sifting through records at Goodwill. It's a National Geographic Society recording of Music From the Ozarks, Copyright 1972. The musicianship isn't "studio quality" ~ it's better. Not technically better, but the music sounds like it comes from the center of life, and that it's interwoven through every part of the musicians' existence. I imagine the fiddles and banjos being passed down from generation to generation. And most of the dulcimers and guitars are homemade. A wooden box, railroad lumber, and some metal hardware may not be as expensive, and may not sound as 'perfect', as a guitar worth thousands of dollars, but it makes music, and that's enough.
The other I received as a gift. It's a new album called "Storydwelling". The idea behind this record, as I interpret it, is that music is a phenomenal way for each of us to share with our community a piece of our own story. The idea, I as I understand it, is not that everyone must become a songwriter and musician in order to tell their story through song. Rather, it is to create a space and a place where people (in whatever way makes sense) can share a piece of their own story.
It seems to me that our contemporary western society has lost most of our predilection for telling stories. We still, as human people, are fed by stories. In fact, television functions almost exclusively as a storytelling device. But these aren't our stories ~ they're fantasies that lead us to false hope and unwarranted unhealthy expectations.
The stories we tell ourselves tell us who we are. Do we want hollywood to take on that role, or do we want to tell ourselves true stories of who we are, and who we will be becoming? What would it be like if we turned off the televisions (and other electronic media) so that we could sing songs and tell stories together?