Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On the Mountain Top

A friend sent me a link today to a couple of videos by a singer-songwriter named Patty Griffin. I had not heard her before, but within a few bars of the first song, I knew that her music spoke to me. I listened to several of her songs (I love YouTube) and then sent my friend a thank you note.

How to describe her music? Patty Griffin is in a league with the best of the singer-songwriters. Her lyrics are intricate and yet accessible to the listener. She speaks uniquely, yet she speaks to any one of us who takes time to listen. Her voice is slightly weary and yet rich and nuanced. I'm in love.

I selected one song to share here. Griffin says that her inspiration came from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech, I've Been to the Mountain Top. I re-read that speech today and it moved me to tears. I think that is just as relevant to the issues confronting all of us today as it was 41 years ago. Dr. King made the speech the day before he was assassinated. The link above is to the entire speech; following is the final paragraph of that memorable speech.

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

The lyrics are posted below the video. Please hit the pause button on the music player in the left column in order to hear this video.

Up To The Mountain
I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me
I could see all around me

Sometimes I feel like
I've never been nothing but tired
And I'll be walking
Till the day I expire
Sometimes I lay down
No more can I do
But then I go on again
Because you ask me to

Some days I look down
Afraid I will fall
And though the sun shines
I see nothing at all
Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later
It's there I will go


Gerry said...

Beautiful song. The speech is even more moving, given the context of what happened after and even what is happening today with an Obama for President daily exposing himself to the world with incredible courage. Gerry

Beth said...

She has a beautiful voice. Reminds me a little of Sarah McLachlan.

Reading that last paragraph of Dr. King's speech makes me want to cry...and makes me wonder if he'd had some sort of premonition. Or did he just know that because of what he was doing, there were many who hated him? I'll never comprehend such hatred...and I never want to. It's irrational hatred, and if I get to the point where I understand such a thing, I've lost my humanity.

Love, Beth

Joy said...

I like Patty Griffin and have several of her CDs. I've often wondered that, too, Beth, about Dr. King. That speech makes me cry - so prophetic and poignant. Thanks for this post, Sheria.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

With the song and the speech, I am, well, speechless :o)

Linda S. Socha said...

Beautiful....heart and soul
Thanks for the post

warrior scout said...

as usual, you have shifted my thought process today...


kelly said...


jack-of-all-thumbs said...


Welcome to Patty Griffin.

A thoughtful tune to take to my bed.

Thank you.