May 8, 2009 :: Harmony
Blake doesn't read this blog. I've mentioned its existence a few times to him, offhandedly, mostly in the interest of letting him know that snippets of our personal lives are up here for the world to see (and potentially for my father-in-law to google. Hi Ricky!), but he doesn't seem particularly interested. I think he somehow considers it spying on me to read my personal-public thoughts, and prefers to just stay out of it. Which I kind of think is sweet. There's nothing here that would surprise him, anyway. I have a very hard time keeping my mouth shut about, well, anything, when it comes to sharing with him. Maybe that's why he doesn't read here: he'd like some mystery? Lord knows our real-life existence together couldn't be any more fully-disclosed. Who knows?
Anyway, I guess also don't do a huge amount of talking directly about him here. He's a bit player in every story, and just out of frame in 3/4 of the photographs he's not in, so his presence is implied. But today, I feel compelled to write specifically about him. Because I think he (and unassuming, non grandstanding, modest guys like him) are under appreciated.
Blake is a songwriter and a musician. Not a lawyer who plays music, not a guy who waits tables and plays music, not a breather of air who plays music--he's a musician. It's his profession and his passion, the thing that he gets up every day for, and he's been out there, on stages and in corners of bars behind a microphone every chance he gets, for more than a decade. When he moved in with me, he came with two milk crates of vinyl, three boxes of CDs, 100 books, four guitars (two electric, two acoustic), a banjo, a violin, and the clothes on his back plus an extra pair of pants. That's it.
Blake doesn't make a lot of money doing what he loves or get a lot of recognition. He's certainly not the only artist to go this road, but, as he gets older, I think it eats at him more and more. There have been close calls, brushes with fame and MTV and record contracts over the years. There's always compliments and amazed comments from random people in the audience who wonder why they'd never heard of the shy southern boy with the white-blond hair. But, so far anyway, that My Fair Lady moment hasn't happened--the suited promoter with the big plans and the eye for the next big thing just hasn't shown up to the show. And it's wrong of me to wish it would because I know he deserves it, right? Because I'm married to him and know he is more than good at what he does and I am biased in that knowledge.
I think I fell a little in love with Blake before I ever went on a date with him. It was his voice. I bought his albums on iTunes, feeling a little like I was spying on him then, and listened. I'm sure I've done it before, fallen in love with beautiful tones from a beautiful man behind a microphone, but this was the first time I got to listen, then go have dinner with that man and see his shy smile when I mentioned those songs. Had I had that opportunity after hearing "One" all those years ago, maybe I'd be Mrs. Bono now.
Not because you need to, but because I want you to hear what I hear; every night when the guitar comes out and he works on the next song, on the weekends our other gorgeously voiced friends come over to add harmony, every night I stand in the back of a dark, smoky club and give my attention to my husband on the stage, I present this--what my life sounds like.
He obviously didn't write this song, but I think he (and his best friend and bandmate Parris, as a backup singer) do it justice nicely.*
*Recorded on some moring show on Z93 here in Atlanta, some years ago. Found in a box of discarded stuff at our house. Uploaded because I appreciate how beautiful he sounds.