Affirmation

Watched a couple 60 Minutes Australia segments on Billy Joel. Really interesting. He has a good sense of himself, after all these years, and he said something that I’ve echoed to our daughter, a piano player, about being competent. You don’t have to be the best piano player in the world, but can you do your job? Can you play well enough to do the music justice and give people an experience worthy of their time and money, if money is involved?

It was good to hear him say that, because I’ve felt that way forever. Just be competent, be good at what you do, care about what you do. You don’t have to be the best, which is a subjective thing anyway, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have to know your stuff.

Singer-songwriter is a lofty perch, to me, especially as this regards people like Joel, Henley, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Lennon-McCartney, Dylan, Sting, and others (ya, I’m dating myself). We’re talking rarified air, a unique giftedness, possession of certain intangibles beyond putting in the long hours of practice. It’s a connection with some elusive, mysterious source of inspiration.

And, regarding Billy Joel, his choice of “And So It Goes” as perhaps his favorite song in his catalog—well, it made me smile. I’ve always thought it was a perfect song—relatively short, thoughtful, haunting, simply beautiful in all the ways a song can be beautiful—musically, lyrically, and what it evokes in a listener, where it takes them. A baring of the soul, leaving the listener perhaps hoping there would have been more. And yet still being enough.

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