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

by Kerry Dexter /
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Aug 21, 2017 / 0 comments

Unsettling times, times of uncertainty, times of change -- these can bring about fear, and fear's twin, anger. Such times may bring about despair, frustration, discouragement. It is also possible, though, to live in such times with hope, and with courage. The music I offer you in this series of posts is meant to help with that. Careful how you go, indeed. Take heart and take courage, and keep music as your good companion.

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

Careful How You Go is a song title, in fact. Kim Richey wrote the song, inspired by a walk one winter night in London. When Gretchen Peters was looking for songs for her winter album that evoked the solitude of winter without being about Christmas, she knew this one fit. Here is Gretchen's version, recorded on her album Northern Lights.


If you feel the need of a song with a bit of an edge to it, Bob Dylan's classic Blowin' in the Wind might be a good choice. It asks nine questions -- which may be taken in a number of ways. Peter, Paul, and Mary had a hit with it and took the title of their album In the Wind from the song. It appears on that recording and on a number of greatest hits and best of collections of the trio's music, too.


Phil Ochs was a songwriter who, like Dylan, may be best known for his politically-themed work. He could turn his mind and creativity to other sorts of music. too. Changes is one such song, part love song, part anthem, all poetic insight. Ochs recorded the song on his album There but for Fortune. My favorite version is by Ian and Sylvia Tyson. It is available on many collections of their work, including the Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings.


Three Feet or So is the name of a song by Carrie Newcomer. "I reference in this song a beautiful story by Greg Ellison that affirms the idea that we may not be able to change the whole world, but we can change what is three feet around us," Newcomer says. "We have enormous power to create positive change in the world in how we choose to live our daily lives." The song is recorded on Newcomer's album The Beautiful Not Yet and also on her Live at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater with Friends album.


Life is about choices, about journeys, about connections, and that's never more true than when times get strange and unsettled. Terri Allard's song Anna Carolyn is one of her most requested, perhaps because in telling the story of two friends she evokes the persistence and trust of love. Allard's co-writer on this song was Mary Chapin Carpenter. You will find the song on Allard's album Makes No Sense, and also on her recording Live from Charlottesville.


Read other stories in this series:

Songs of Courage

Asking Questions, Telling Stories: Music for Times of Change

Music for Unsettling Times: Conversations and Questions

Music of Resilience

Songs of Hope

Songs of Hope, Gracias a La Vida

Songs of Friendship

Music in Times of Change

Music for Reflection

Music: The Power of Connection


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