Music: Songs of Hope and Respect

by Kerry Dexter /
Kerry Dexter's picture
Apr 16, 2018 / 0 comments

Music is one of the world's great ways to connect, to reach across barriers, to get to know people and place. In a time when division seems to be the order of the day in many aspects of life, music can offer ways to think about connecting. Perhaps going to hear a concert will lift your spirits and give you a break from thinking about such divisions. Then again, perhaps a bit of wisdom, an insight, an image you receive by way of a song or a tune will inspire you to carry on with ways to heal, to respect, to connect.

Music: Songs of Hope and Respect

One of the foundations of doing this is caring and respect for yourself. That is one of the things Amy Grant considers in her song Takes A Little Time. Grant grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and first made her name as a teenager in the Christian music field.  Over the decades since then, she has continued to grow and mature as a singer and as a songwriter. Takes a Little Time is part of an album Grant wrote while going through the end of her first marriage. Compassion both extended and received is part of the storyline. You may find it on her album Behind the Eyes. Grant has recorded many albums since Behind the Eyes. You may find some of her most recent work on How Mercy Looks from Here.

Cathie Ryan, whose music you have met before during this series, draws on strands of Irish tradition, myth, and language for her song What's Closest to the Heart. It, too, speaks of going through difficult times, offering help, and perhaps receiving it. The lyrics began, Ryan says, as she recalled an old saying her mother, who comes from County Kerry in Ireland, often invoked: What's closest to the heart comes out. The story turned into a swirling, mysterious, hopeful invitation, in both Irish and English, to take the hand of help offered. The song is on Ryan's album The Farthest Wave. You may also want to look for Ryan's most recent recording Through Wind & Rain.

Paying attention is one of the great gifts of respect. That is one of the primary things going on in Carrie Newcomer's song, Betty's Diner. There is community in the place she tells of. That happens through the quiet observations of individuals and learning that arises from that. It comes through the sharing of conversation and silence, over moments and over days and years. It comes, too through the sharing of food, of laughter, and of acceptance and respect.  You may find the song on Betty's Diner: the Best of Carrie Newcomer. Newcomer remarks that she became so involved in thinking about and writing songs on the diner people that her husband joked that they'd soon have to begin paying rent. If you'd like to follow more of their stories, look for Newcomer's recording Regulars & Refugees. Also look for Newcomer's songs in other stories in this series, shared below.

Irish musician Declan O'Rourke may have meant Love Is the Way as a romantic love song. Certainly it is fine one for that circumstance. It also works well as an anthem of hope, an invitation to the persistence and power of the possibilities of trust. In this video, Scotland's Eddi Reader sings the song for a radio broadcast, backed up by her husband John Douglas – and by a line or two from the radio presenter singing, too. Reader liked the song so well that she chose it for the title track of her recording Love Is the Way. It is also on her two disc collection The Best of Eddi Reader.


Other stories in this series....

Music for a Winter's Day

Music for a Winter's Night

Three Feet or So: Music and Creating Positive Change in the World

Geography of Hope: Music of Immigrants and Refugees

Autumn: Music of Harvest and Home

Music for Reflection

Music for a Winter's Eve

Music for Winter's Changes

Music: Listening for Community

Music of Resilience

Music: A Path to Community and Connection

Living the Questions: Music for the Journey

Story and Place in Music

Journeys Through Landscape in Music



Kerry Dexter is Music Editor at Wandering Educators. You may reach Kerry at music at wanderingeducators dot com.

You may find more of Kerry's work in National Geographic Traveler, Strings, Perceptive Travel, Journey to Scotland, Irish Fireside, and other places, as well as at her own site, Music Road.