Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stronger for your Flame

Last night we saw David Wilcox in concert. Our first official date since the boys were born. Close, intimate - a small theatre on State Street in Salt Lake City. (Mike and Jill - thanks for going with us! Mom and Sarah - thanks for watching the kids! Bless you!)

Dave is our all-time favorite singer/songwriter. His song, Hold it Up to the Light, was influential in our getting married. I even had Doug's ring engraved with those words (Seriously!) And you may have noticed the title for our blog is from his song, No Telling Where. (click to listen).

We've seen Dave twice at the Barns (Wolftrap), but never here in Salt Lake. So out we went.

Funny Mormon side note: We sat next to Michael McLean - probably the most well-known LDS music artist. (This is what happens when you live in Utah.) He struck up a conversation with us. Very delightful. And the theatre? It's a bar with chairs and a few tables up front. The stadium seating, however, consists of blue cushioned pews and choir seats! Taken from some old LDS chapel under renovation! I guess that's one way to make Mormons feel comfortable in a bar!

Dave was rich, poetic, layered - his usual metaphorical self. I was laughing one minute, crying the next. He took tons of requests and went with what felt right in the moment. We loved every song.

His new album, Open Hand, is full of great stuff. Give a listen.

Randall Williams opened for Dave. We'd never heard him before. This man LOVES his guitar. I've never seen anyone play like him. He had "Gumby" hand when he strummed. You can tell from the picture below, the guitar is his lady. They twain are one. It was a joyful thing to watch.
A few years ago, the guy did this crazy thing. Sold all his belongings and bought a sailboat. Then set sail from Scandinavia for North Africa with no previous sailing experience. He took along his guitar and wrote a series of songs, the first of which is called Praying for Land. He said, "You think I'm joking. No. I really was...praying for land!" I bet!

He wrote a memoir of his journey called, The Sea Inside. He read from it last night and I liked his writing. So we bought it. I'll tell you how it is.

One of his songs we loved immediately. The lyrics are below. Or you can listen by clicking here. It's called Stronger for your Flame.

It's about the light inside each of us. How it burns for others.

Some burn soft. Some blaze. Others sputter in pain. But we give and take light from each other, making others stronger for our flames.

He talks of children and the light we give them, the potential they have. Doug and I thought of our role as parents and the borrowed light they will need from us, from you, from those who live good lives. The third verse even talks about "pots and pans and diapers to be changed". LOVED that.

We spoke with Randall at intermission. I told him we'd just had our second set of twins. "So thanks for singing about diapers" I said. "I felt so validated!" He laughed, "But isn't that what it's all about?" He oozes with energy and you can tell his heart is as big as the sky. I asked him to sign the copy of his book we bought. He wrote this inside.

To Cathryn -

Hard Work!
Good Work!


How true. Hard work. Good work.

So here are the lyrics to his song, Stronger for your Flame. Enjoy!

I promise an update on the boys next post. And... just curious. How many of you are Wilcox fans?

Some of us shine bold like Beetlejuice [sic] is bright:
a few you'd barely notice in the early evening light.

Some of us burn soft, like a lamp's sweetest oil:
others sputter smoke and ash in lives of pain and toil.
Some try to hide it behind a suit and tie,
or do the best they can in the world of nine to five.

Maybe you were all of this and more,
borrowed light from those who came before.
And the children who haven't yet been named
are stronger for your spark, stronger for your flame.

Were you a blazing ball of fire, before you were even born?
Did you find the cure for Polio, invent the telephone?
Or were you disobedient at the age of thirty-three,
when some ol' Roman soldier had you nailed up to a tree?

Maybe you were black and tired, on the front seat of a bus,
or on a protest march in Bombay lying facedown in the dust.
Maybe you were all of this and more,
borrowed light from those who came before.
And the children who haven't yet been named
are stronger for your spark, stronger for your flame.

What if there's no drama in the day to day?
Life a load of pots and pans, and diapers to be changed?
You'd rather climb a mountain, or walk to Timbuktu,
But the truest life burns just as strong, no matter what you choose.
You don't need to burn up in a brilliant ball of flame,
we'll be blessed, even if we never know your name.

Maybe you were all of this and more,
borrowed light from those who came before.
And the children who haven't yet been named
are stronger for your spark, stronger for your flame.


  1. Cath, I love David Wilcox! You and Deb introduced me to him years ago and I've loved him ever since. He definitely has a poetic gift that speaks to me. "Hold it up to the Light" is also one of my favorites. I can't wait to listen to the new music, so thanks for the post. I'm so glad you and Doug had a night out that filled your soul. You deserve it! XOXO.

  2. so pleased you could have a night out! sounds like so much fun... plus i will give DW a try. xox

  3. It has been years since I have seen DW, but I LOVE him and his music reminds me so much of college. His lyrics always hit home in some way or another. When I first saw your blog, I knew you were a fan. I will have to go check out his new album. I am so sorry I have not called recently. We have had such a rollercoaster ride with Olivia and kindergarten. She has struggled and I feel like it has drained me lately. Taylor and I also went to D.C last week and I thought of you being back there. Now that I am home, I would love to find a time to come over and help out in anyway. I'll call you soon. Love ya...

  4. I love reading your blogs!!! They are wonderful! MISS YOU!


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