When I first started being paid to write, someone told me ‘Writers block is self-indulgent, don’t buy into it, it’s a luxury. Having to put food on the table is the cure for writers block’. I’ve always lived by this code and tried my best to write through any impasse, through illness and spotty internet connections and broken computers and plain ol ‘I don’t wanna write today‘. So the fact that I haven’t written Music Monday for almost 2 months does deserve some sort of an explanation.
5 weeks ago one of the most important people in my life died. He helped raise me into the brutally honest woman you all know. He lived his life the way he wanted, and only that way. This was a man so badass that if he wanted something from the table, he didn’t even ask. He just looked at you, and then looked at the potatoes or whatever and you got up and got it. I mean, check out that pinky ring for chrissakes. He is single handedly responsible for bringing my family to Canadian soil and taught me everything I know about staying true to who you are. Musically, this was the very first man to ask me to dance; it was his feet I danced on to old Dean Martin and Sinatra around kitchens. It is his fault that I automatically like any song with a harmonica, as I spent most childhood summers on his lap eating fruit from the garden while he played his twangy instrument in my ear all day under the sun. To this day, whenever someone of the opposite sex asks my advice on fail-proof ways to get girls, I always respond with ‘Dude, just learn to play the harmonica’.
When he died, something happened that has temporarily taken away my ability to pleasurably write. I heavily debated even writing about this, but it’s just the truth: I have a bit of a broken heart right now. Charles Bukowski said ‘Writing about writers block is better than not writing at all‘, and that’s what I’m trying to do I guess. I don’t have it in me right now to happily describe a song a new song I’ve found to share with you; I don’t even have any, I’ve been hiding in my apartment for a month watching very bad tv. Next week I promise to do better at getting rid of the melancholy, after all this is a music blog, not a damn diary.
But today, today you’re heading down the harmonica trail with me. My grandfathers love of the harmonica was strictly old-school European, but it was through his adoration of this little instrument that I came to appreciate it in every genre. From classic rock to folk songs, I’ve followed that tiny twang from old Italian men to arrive at todays sharing of a Black Sabbath song with you (and a little wop treat right below that). Growing up, ‘Wizard’ was the first rock song I heard that renewed my love for such a dated instrument. Maybe most people don’t think of grandfathers when they hear Black Sabbath, but I do when I think of mine. If you had the pleasure of knowing my grandfather Vincenzo, then the lyrics of this song are especially poignant and fitting to who he was. That’s the beauty of music, right? It brings you to places you never thought it would. Like a brain making new pathways, it makes bridges over time and space and the people in your life. It can bring you away from where you are, or bring you home, and sometimes, if you’re really lucky, it can bring you back to the best memories of your life, and make sure that you never forget them.
“He has passed by, giving his sign, left all the people feeling so fine. Never talking, just keeps walking, spreading his magic……….”