A friend of mine spent some time as a music critic in his earlier writing career. It’s tough, he says, when you have to think of people in that sort of light. For that I don’t want to be a music critic at this point. Instead, I’m just going to stick to writing about musicians I enjoy. A few months ago I tried to display in so many words how absolutely wonderful The Decemberists are, especially after seeing them perform at the Tabernacle. Maybe you remember that I mentioned Blind Pilot as their opening act, a pleasant appetizer at the time.
But Wednesday night was something else. They took center stage at the East Atlanta Restaurant and Lounge with a sold-out crowd. Since their bike tour around the country in 2007, they have added to their numbers and came out with a full-length album. “3 Rounds and a Sound” has been a substantial and consistent gem in my collection since January. To see them up close and personal is a different matter. They were absolutely phenomenal as soon as they stepped foot on stage. Their six piece ensemble with horns, glockenspiel, upright bass and banjo, among others created a sound similar to The Shins meets Iron and Wine. Led by singer, Israel, they were more than one could ask for. Inspiration grew inside me with each new melody, and their love of life and music only added to it.
For a single man in his mid-twenties and out of a job, it’s tough to be inspired lately. But Blind Pilot took hold of me and resonated with my soul. I had to keep back my cheesy smile and catch myself before anyone else began wondering what might be wrong with me. These folks from Portland understand a bit about life and our need to own up to its realities. From “The Bitter End” to “We Are The Tide” you grasp a sense of unity in their voices, like we’re all in this together…”We’re standing in the streets, staring at the blood red moon, we are the tide, we are the tide.” Their songs are mini-anthems of hope, reminding the listeners to hang on together.
It’s odd sometimes how affected we can be by music and the changing of seasons. As you may have gathered, I’ve been soaking up Fall and spreading her for anyone to grab a hold of. She has a special sound, unique and different to any other time of year. I’ll have you know, Blind Pilot is an Autumn band through and through. Maybe you think I’m crazy, but they have sucked in this season with all their being. And they’re pouring it out in every strum, pushing it out with all their lungs to get you to understand. For they see life as it is, a healthy recognition of time in transition, with the weight of the world upon them. And Blind Pilot’s not afraid to hang on for the ride… “I had the itch to fly and I flew, now at best we would make our dreams with something used.”
See, Autumn is about truth, about slowing down enough to grasp beauty. It’s about admitting where we’re at and sticking to it; changing when we need to change, moving when we need to move, heading towards a place called home, where one day we’ll be. And Blind Pilot knows that, sees that, plays and sings that.
What a better chorus to end on then…”The only line that is true is the line your from.”