Six weeks ago, I got the best piece of news I’d heard all year: three of my favorite musicians were coming to play in the DC area within a two-week period. This was thrilling news, but still I couldn’t help but wonder: what is it about sad songs that make me feel so happy?
Brett Detar – Empty House on a Famous Hill
First my husband and I saw Brett Detar perform at Ottobar in Baltimore. This song has a soaring melody and words grounded in heartbreak. (Plus the title reminds me of my first novel, which of course makes it even more endearing to my not-so-subtle artist’s ego.)
Ray Wylie Hubbard – Loose
To see Ray Wylie Hubbard, we took an overnight trip to the Newport News area of Virginia – about a three-hour drive each way, and totally worth it! This song is one of my favorites from his latest album: it’s a bittersweet eulogy to a departed friend. The album version is more up-tempo, but this live accoustic rendition is moving and full-spirited.
Grayson Capps – I See You
The night out to see Grayson Capps turned into a real party, with my husband, sister, and two of my best friends coming along for a night of great music. I had forgotten how much I love this song until I heard it performed live that night. “Breeze through the forest just like breath in my lungs: I see you in everything.” How beautiful is that?
All three of these songs are rooted in sadness, but bloom with an irresistible beauty. Why do sad songs make me so happy? At the risk of making a bad pun, I guess they just strike the right chord. But in the end, I’m not sure the why really matters: I’m just glad there are artists like these to help me chase the blues away.