I believe in punk rock and doo wop. In country and rap. Beethoven, Basie, the Beatles, and the Beastie Boys. I believe in the poetry of music and the music of poetry. Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas. I believe in the Metropolitan Opera, Mississippi front porches, and grade school auditoriums. I believe in singing about Peace and Love but also War and Anger. Music is for starry-eyed romantic optimists but also angry, disaffected rebels and sloppy, sentimental drunks. For me music doesn’t just fill a niche but like flowing water fills all the niches it finds. It’s for making you happy, making you sad, making you remember, and–most importantly–for making you understand more than words alone.
My father, Travis Walker, was not a talker. He rarely talked about his past or his worldview. But he sang in church and he could bring out the meaning of a song as well as anyone I ever knew.
As he got older and health problems made his throat sore and his voice weak he sang less often, but when he did his convictions were clearer than ever because, for him, songs were not meant to be performed, anyway, but expressed and shared.
He never made a dime singing, as far as I know, but he was as good a singer as there was because every word he sang came through loud and clear as: “This I believe.”
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