Verse Diversions -Andrew Belle
To end National Poetry Month, I thought I would write my first post for Verse Diversions. And yes, I realize my blog is called hope prose, which would suggest a focus on written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure (thank you, Google Dictionary). But here is my disclaimer - I named these posts a diversion for this reason.
Generally speaking, I do not read a lot of poetry, except when quoted by fictional characters, or by philosophical writers. OK, maybe I read some poetic works, but it is not my go-to stop in the book store. What I can claim is that I listen to metrically inspired lyrics all the time. And in some cases, the musicians who write these lyrics rival some of the best poets I have read. Lyrics that can still my mind, evoke emotional catharsis or transport me to memories decades ago forgotten are, in my view, poetic genius. And when these rhythmically inspired words can stand alone, without their author's voice or their instrumental accompaniment, I believe they should be celebrated.
Have you ever heard a song at a concert that felt like love at first chorus? You catch some of the verse lyrics behind the bass, and you say to yourself, "Man, these are deep." But you really only synthesize the chorus, because it repeats, and that gives you a chance to activate the slightly-damaged-from-too-many-concerts speech-recognition portion of your brain. You strain each time the chorus comes around, and by the end of the song, you need to look those words up because they are just poetry come to life. Perhaps, this situation is unique to me and my noise-induced hearing loss, but I obsess over the words. They become a lyrical ear worm; a mystery that needs to be understood.
Last month, I went to see Andrew Belle, in concert at the Pheonix Concert Theatre, in Toronto. I bought tickets for the headlining musician, Matt Kearney, who put on an amazing show himself, but by that night I was there 80% (or more) to hear Andrew Belle.
How did that happen? Well let me explain. When I was getting hyped for the concert and listening to a Kearney-inspired Google Play list, Andrew Belle's song "In Your Sleep" came on. At the time, I had no clue who this guy was, nor that he was opening for Matt Kearney, but a lyrical ear worm found its home.
(I would quote more, but I am not privy to musical copyright laws yet, so I'll err on the side of less and highly recommend you go check out the whole song on iTunes)
Some of you may know that I am working on a YA novel centered around the unraveling of a teen with serious social anxiety. "In Your Sleep" spoke directly to my character's soul in the scene I was writing that night at the moment this song came on. And so, my infatuation with Andrew's poetry began.
I proceeded to his website (www.andrewbelle.com, and no I am not payed to endorse him, but perhaps I should be) and looked up every song he had ever written. Then, I had a mild panic attack when realizing from his tour page that I would be seeing him live in less than a month.
At the concert I waited with a ridiculously expensive drink, posed with an exceptionally hipster crowd, then went groupie-like when he finally came out. But then it happened. My noise induced hearing loss ruined it for me. He played new tracks that were bold, complex, and unfortunately for me, reverberating. I'd like to blame the sound guy at the Phoenix, as my hubby also had a hard time hearing, but more likely it was just our shared lack of inner ear hair cells.
After the concert, I immediately went back to his website to look up the lyrics. Don't get me wrong. the music, itself, is sound-track worthy - and yes, many of his songs have held the backdrops on sitcoms and commercials - but his lyrics stand alone as masterful. There is this complexity in his verses, that makes me want to sit down with him over tea and say "Andrew, where was your head when you wrote this? And how can I get to said place." But until I work up the nerve to email him directly, I will revel in his songs (loving Dive Deep BTW) and be inspired to write some impactful words of my own.
Let me know if you check out his discography and what left you in awe. Something will. And if it doesn't, you are tasked with convincing me of featuring your favorite lyrical artist. I love discovering new music that pulls me out of, and sometimes deeper into, my writing head space.