The Power and Magic of Music

Magic moment at the Seldom Scene reunion show - photo by David MorrisJamie Dailey once told me that every time he steps on stage, he feels he owes it to the fans to give the best performance he can. It doesn’t matter how he’s feeling, how many hours he just spent on the bus or how many fans are in the seats.

The real reason, he said, is that people use music as an escape from their problems, so it’s up to him and his bandmates to provide that sanctuary for a few precious hours.

I watched this play out Sunday night, at a show by the Seldom Scene and friends, including surprise guest Emmylou Harris, in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. The Scene was playing Heart and Soul, and I was scanning the crowd to try to spot David Norris, who wrote the song, because I knew he was in the room.

Instead, I witnessed a touching couple of minutes involving a man and woman at a table near the stage. They had turned their chairs to watch the band, so the gentleman was in front of his wife. As the love song unfolded, she placed her left hand, fingers spread, on his back. She pulled her hand away briefly, examined her wedding ring and appeared to wipe a tear from her eye.

When she returned her hand to his back, the man reached his left hand over his shoulder and she tenderly took it. They held hands like that for the rest of the song. Both were smiling.

And, for several special minutes, they were alone, together, in the middle of crowded room. No words were spoken. None had to be.

I found out after the show who these two special people are, but their names aren’t necessary here. In a way, they are all of us, dealing with challenges and stresses and using music to escape, to focus on what’s important.

These folks were recently flooded out of their home in Colorado and came East to live with relatives for a time. He is dealing with a serious health crisis. And yet, faced with uncertainty, they found a way to make all of that disappear, if ever so briefly.

They found music.

“One road ending,
Another takes you back.
Heart and soul.
Heart and soul.”

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About the Author

David Morris

David Morris, an award-winning songwriter and journalist, has written for Bluegrass Today since its inception. He joined its predecessor, The Bluegrass Blog, in 2010. His 40-year career in journalism included more than 13 years with The Associated Press, a stint as chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, and several top editing jobs in Washington, D.C. He is a life member of IBMA and the DC Bluegrass Union. He and co-writers won the bluegrass category in the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in 2015.