One of the blessings of social networking on the internet is the mix of people thrown into contact in a way daily face-to-face life would never do. If you are mostly interested in talking to voters in East Lothian, as I am just now, that might seem a disadvantage but—every now and them—it throws up a gem.
One such gem is Deborah Sprout, a singer/songwriter from New Jersey who is over here to visit friends and give a couple of concerts, the last of which was in Bruntsfield Church. It wasn’t well attended and she herself complained of some ailments and ‘running only at 40%’, so, you might say, what’s the big deal?
Regular readers might recall my banging on a month ago about Joni Mitchell’s interpretation of her own lyrics. Well, Deborah’s been there too. Not only does her voice have a range and clarity that recalls Joni but, because she’s not quite as willowy as Joni, it has a power that our American cousins might call ‘kick ass’.
Poor though I am at judging music at first hearing, I thought that her faster numbers needed more than just her guitar strumming to pace them. But when she got into her specialty of torch ballads, the interplay of minor and seventh chords on Stay With Me or New Year’s Eve counterpointed a pure voice from the heart. And the lyric Goodbye My Dear One soared in a clear upper register in a way Joni would surely have admired.
What does this have to do with politics? For me, everything. I have spent decades voicing my truth in front of people that, mainly, didn’t much care. To watch Deborah swallow any disappointment and still give her all to a handful of listeners was a lesson for me; that your own truth becomes real when you lay it out there—no matter if anyone is listening.