Why... Millworker, by James Taylor

James Taylor has lots of great songs.  He is a storyteller and is most well known as a card carrying member of the "Yacht Rock" canon, so as a result he doesn't get the attention he deserves from millenials or fans of the more rock-oriented type.  Its unfortunate because his songs are like a nice cup of tea or a tasty scoop of ice cream - they are soothing and calming and something to be savored.

Millworker is one of those songs.  Its not his most well know song but its a more descriptive view of life in a small factory town, and the pain that ensues from an existence that the narrator feels is wasted.  I originally uncovered the song when Eddie Vedder sang it on tour a few years ago (his solo tour).  The lyrics grabbed me because i remember the room being silent and people truly intent on understanding what it was about.  I went back and listened to the James Taylor version and found the same sense of longing and dreaming in it.  Bruce Springsteen has apparently covered the song as well, which seems to fit because of his role as the troubadour of New Jersey.

The narrator is wrapped in a bleak existence, but there's a hint of aspiration in their voice.  Its pain and contentedness wrapped in the same blanket of pain.  The song most certainly doesn't suck, so i highly recommend you give it a shot.


Why... Ophelia (The Band) Doesn’t Suck

Ever sat and listened to “Ophelia” by The Band?  It’s a classic song and one that seems to be resurging in popularity over the last year.   It was released in 1975 on the album Northern Lights - Southern Cross and it appears to have been received well when it came out.  It’s been covered lately by bands like The Lumineers and when I was recently in Nashville I heard an amazing trio in a BBQ joint preparing to play it, so it’s resonating with musicians of all ages.  

I bring up this song here because it simply doesn’t suck.  When you listen to Ophelia it evokes an emotional response.  It’s one of happiness and joy and levity.  It has the feel I experience when traveling through a town like New Orleans but without the little hint of danger in its bones.  It’s a joyous Saturday afternoon that’s full of smiles and soul.  It’s a picnic waiting to amp up into a party. 

I’ve been familiar with The Band for years, but it’s only in the last 5 years or so that I have grown to recognize them for the legacy they left behind.  This song, with its multi-layered soul is the quintessential example of why people love this group.  You can carry “The Weight” but you need to Ophelia to lighten the load on your soul.