Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A (belated) tribute to MLK

It's been well over a month since I sat down to squeeze some thoughts out of my finger tips, but what can I say--life. It struck me that yesterday was a perfect way to get back into the blogging regimen, but then I found myself standing under the largest tree I've ever seen and sorting through piles of vegetables and loaves of chocolate chip banana bread at a market. Like I said, life.

Living aside, there is no better way to get back into this than with a combination of my favorite singers and perhaps one of my favorite messages conveyed through song. By now many people are familiar with the song "Up to the Mountain" by Americana songbird and personal hero Patty Griffin, but not because they've heard her sing it.

First there was Solomon Burke, who covered it on "Nashville" in 2006 (Patty lent her mellifluous vocals to the track) and then the song appeared on Patty's 2007 release "Children Running Through."

The song reached its peak popularity thanks to Kelly Clarkson after an appearance on the 2007 charity show "Idol Gives Back." Bolstered with Jeff Beck on guitar, Kelly really brought the melody to a completely different level and being the obsessed Patty fan that I am, that's a big compliment.

The song took on a life of its own on YouTube after that--it was even covered by Bushwalla, and if you're familiar with his catalog that's pretty amusing.

Recently, Susan Boyle covered it on her monster debut album. I can't even wrap my head around the number of copies this has sold in three months, but I'm thrilled more people than ever are being introduced to this gloriously written song (the liner notes credit 'Patricia J. Griffin').

Now, clearly Patty is emotionally invested in this subject enough to write about it, but there's something about Kelly's delivery that pulls at my heart. People can rag on pop music all they want, and they're often justified, but you can't discredit the power of this woman's voice merely because she was discovered on a talent show. If anything, it only increased my faith in her abilities.

But that's all besides the point really. The point of this is to celebrate a day that should put a little extra spring in everyone's step. Civil rights should never be bargained, and I'm thankful Dr. King was here long enough to make an impact on the world.

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