The Mockingbird and the Dogwood Tree

I opened the top of the Jeep last week. First time this spring. Sunlight warmed my shoulders. Warm breeze rifled my hair. And Lulu Mae brought the tunes. Earlier in the day, they had accompanied me on my run. And in the garden.

I have adopted their new album, The Mockingbird and the Dogwood Tree, as my official soundtrack for spring. 🙂

Poet storytellers with a style that is organic and clean, Lulu Mae has put together a work that is intriguingly diverse. I keep finding new reasons to love it.

Here are a few personal listening notes. Visit Lulu Mae’s site (or iTunes or Amazon) to sample a few. You want to know these folks. Trust me.

Hey Tom  A good place to start. Simple instrumentation. Clean storytelling. Of one who has gone away. Who is lost to us. And of the invitation to return.

The Fire in Your Eyes  A musical Tell Tale Heart of sorts. Of burying what we don’t want to see. And hoping it will go away. The sometimes unconventional harmonies hint that this is probably not going to work.

Corallina  A tender ballad for the unseen one. The one who does not perceive the beautiful inside her. Joel and Sarah’s sweet, gentle harmonies are positively exquisite.

Clean Up My Heart  A hard, driving confrontation of betrayal. Some wailing guitar work on this one. Abrupt tempo changes contribute to the disorientation of a world falling apart.

Give Me Some Music  A Lament. A plea. Set against an old piano with worn out strings that convey the raw weariness, the desperation of the singer. A great heart swell into the chorus with other instruments piling in. Here is where I had to sing out loud. On my run. (My apologies to the little birds and squirrels.) I just read this week about how ancient Greek philosophers believed music had the power to restore harmony to the soul. To heal. I believe it.

Why, Wyoming?

There’s a man I have seen and he is standing on a rock
And he can see the world in a way that I can not
When he comes down from the mountain,
On the way he is changed
And I wonder, will he ever be the same…

Oh, the mountains they can speak without moving their lips.
And the wind, she will tell me things that I cannot forget….

A ballade of place. Of how the grandeur of the mountains clean the mind and give dazzling perspective. Of the longing to be there when we are not. Having spent some time in the mountains of Wyoming myself, I know just what they mean.

The Man With the Golden Toy  Of vision. Of the power of a symbol, a token, vested with meaning…to empower, to strengthen, to embolden. Of little boy dreams and old man remembrance. Set to a rollicking bluegrass-like verse that breaks out into a a drum laden, beat driven chorus. One of my favorites.

When You’re Not Home  Life is full of choices. Sirens seduce us to a life that looks like freedom, but is bitter imprisonment. Occasionally someone comes along who helps us find our better selves. Who brings out the very best in us. This one’s for them. Poetic. Lovely piano licks. A melody that will linger in your ears long after. And masterful instrumentation.

The Mockingbird and the Dogwood Tree  Another ode to place. Perhaps I am a bit biased since I am a Tennessee girl, but I love this one! Nashville instrumentation right down to the pedal steel guitar. You will definitely hear this one spilling out of my Jeep this summer when I am driving with the roof open to the stars. 🙂

The Fiction of Speed  Of a lifetime kind of love. The sort that ferments and grows richer over time. The subject is deep and important, but the music is completely fun. A ukelele opening, melodica and handclaps on the interlude and chorus.

…If love is instant, then I don’t want it…

Me either.