Oct 07, 2021 |
In Service of the Melody| The Rev. Philip DeVaul
In Service of the Melody
The first time I really noticed this effect was while watching live bluegrass at a little bar in Nashville called the Station Inn. It was the Spring of 2001, and this band I’d never heard of stood in a half circle up on a bare little stage – two guitars, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and bass – ripping through a beautiful song I’d never heard but felt like I’d known forever. As the song progressed, each musician stepped forward to solo. Everyone was a soulful virtuoso, but I was amazed by the discipline of their offerings – no matter how good each performer was, they confined their solo to the melody, then stepped back into the half-circle and disappeared into the sound of the whole...Each piece mattered, by the way. Every instrument. Every voice. They worked together in service of the song and carried it along while the melody carried them. I’m getting too fanciful about this, and I’m sorry about that but music is one of the things that helps me understand what I believe and feel about life. And this idea of these powerful, brilliant, dynamic musicians bringing their talents together to serve something bigger than themselves continues to speak to me after all these years.