Sarah Harmer, “Are You Gone”, by Stefan Zorn

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Wow, so these are truly interesting times. Have you ever heard the word “unprecedented” as often? What surprised me about this “Black Swan” event is how quickly it happened. Here we were just enjoying the start into the new year, somewhat nervous about the state of the economy (but not really), but then the fires in Australia and the US/Iran tensions made us a bit more nervous. But still, who would have predicted that something could happen that would bring life to a standstill globally in a matter of weeks? Social distancing is practiced in pretty much every country now, with the resulting impact on commerce. While this is unprecedented (there it is again…), it is heartwarming to see how humans respond to the challenge. Who can forget the video from Italy of people singing from their balconies together? And while I was out for an evening stroll yesterday (with the appropriate distance to other humans) I heard the “Howling in Place” in Marin – what an amazing show of the human spirit. And it is truly amazing how children have adjusted to their world being turned upside down and them having to spend so much time with their parents.

Which led me to think about how this impacts our listening habits. On the one hand we have more time at home with our music systems. On the other, we are definitely in a very different headspace. Does it make you listed to more music? Less music? Different kinds of music? I noticed that I am listening to a bit less music – which is very unusual for me, but I guess not surprising considering very challenging circumstances. And I tend to gravitate to more soft and mellow music. In that vein, I came across this amazing new album from Sarah Harmer that was just released in February. She started out in 1999 with an album she recorded for her dad and was asked by her family to release to the public (a feel good story that we desperately need these days). The original album was more traditional country music, and she has more and more gravitated towards folk/mellow music.

I was hooked from the first song “St. Peter’s Bay” where Sarah Harmer puts her storytelling chops on full display. I don’t know why I like it so much, but the line “Still we had a good skate, didn’t we babe” just really speaks to me. And “Every little crack in the ice; Seemed to be enough; To make you think you might go under” is one of the best metaphors for getting cold feet in a relationship. All the songs on the album have a way of drawing you into a finely crafted world that is sometimes whimsical, but always compelling. Just what the doctor ordered in these times.

San Francisco Audiophile Society

San Francisco Audiophile Society