On April 19th, the woman who I claim “sang me through college,” came to town for a concert.
All of my life I have had a penchant for woman singers. My mom surrounded me with the voices of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Janis Ian, Melanie, Carol King, Reba McEntire, and so many others. I have taken after her taste by finding women like Brandi Carlile, Jewel, Tori Amos, Sara Bareilles, and other folk/country singers to support me with their voices throughout my life. Their stories have surrounded me and I have taken their lessons to heart, doing my best to live a life full of love and no regrets, wary of men and lies.
Last year on Facebook one of my friends asked who our first feminist role models were. It took me weeks to realize that I learned many of the ideals of feminism through the music I have been surrounded by and chosen to listen to.
Cam is one of those women. I found her in the spring of 2015, just before I started going to the University of Utah. At the time, she only had a single and an EP with four songs on Spotify. I learned every single song and sang them all the time, much to the dismay of my roommate who hated country.
In December 2015, Cam dropped her full album and I had it memorized within a couple of weeks. One Saturday morning in the spring of 2016 while driving home from my statistics test (that I scored 97% on), I was singing the song “Want It All,” at the top of my lungs. When I got home I told Miguel (my then fuck-buddy, now husband) that I loved him for the first time, with no regrets and no expectations. An epiphany struck me that life was passing, and that chances can only be chances if I take them. Love is always better when it’s shared.
“Bet my life on it, made my bed, gonna lie on it, made up my mind that I won’t just get by I’ll get lost in it. I won’t listen to your rumors, I won’t listen to your doubts, too much ain’t enough, so don’t try to slow me down, know what I’m thinking that I want it now, yeah, it’s alright, alright, babe, I’ll put my heart on the line…”
I have two favorite songs written by this wonderful curly yellow-haired lady, and I want to tell you about both of them. I could give you commentary on each and every song on the album and why I love them, with a story to match…but you should just go listen to the album yourself! 😉
So without further ado, my favorites. The first song is “Village.” She wrote it for her friend Claire whose brother passed away. I had no idea it was written about mourning, as it is a song I turn on whenever I need a reminder that I’m not alone, and that I’ve got this. “Your whole heart’s a village, everyone you love has built it, and I’ve been working there myself, And that’s where I’ll be, with a front-row seat, to watch you live your life well.” Through the course of my education, I have come to understand that the only person who will ever understand me is me, and this song helped me embrace that I am never alone because I am always with me.
The second song I love the most is called “Down This Road.” As y’all have come to understand I was raised on a farm in a (then) small town. This song has taught me to have compassion and love for where I come from. It has also taught me to love my parents with a fierceness I have never known. I feel so lucky and privileged to be the 5th generation raised on the property my family occupies. I don’t know many people whose parents still live in the home they were raised in, let alone as the only family to occupy the same land generation after generation.
“I step out the car back into my own skin, smile at the house that I grew up in, no matter where I go there’s always happiness, when I go down this road, oh down this road.”
The concert was amazing, even though the venue didn’t send out a notification for the VIP event until 2 days before the show, and I didn’t see it in time. I missed the opportunity to meet her, and thank her, and gush all over her with my love. Hopefully, she felt it pouring from me from the audience. In the end, it doesn’t matter if I meet her, or if she ever knows I exist. The impact she has had on my life has been incalculable. I can only be a ginormous force of love, just like her. <3
***While writing this post, I found this TED talk she did in February 2017. I love it. Life can be tough. Music can help.