I realized today that in my tenure here at Music Lives I’ve discussed how music relates to movies, to time periods, to seasons and to feelings. But I left out one very important facet in popular culture that we all seem to have a very personal opinion about: television shows. Winter is coming, and for me, that means staying home to save money for summer travels and finding new shows to curl up on the couch with.
I’ve always said that my dream job would be a music director for television or movies; I love the power that music has to take a scene to another level. It can influence the way a show feels in a way that pure dialogue can’t. As someone who has always been able to get lost in music and film, I think the mergence of the two is an art form. Most people have a television show they swear allegiance to. My teenaged self would pledge her heart to an old sci-fi show called Roswell that my best friend and I devoured; we even road tripped to New Mexico together to see the town our beloved show was based on and attend the legendary UFO parade. But if Roswell was my first love , Sons of Anarchy is my husband.
Some people are passionate about their favorite tv show. Hell, I’m passionate about everything. So bear with me here if SOA isn’t your cup of tea, let me try and sway you a little to my side as to why I think Sons of Anarchy is the best show on television today. A show about a motorcycle gang isn’t something new, nor is a show about relatively good looking men doing bad things, but SOA is different in that it makes you root for the anti-hero. Kurt Sutter, the creator and writer of the show is damn genius. He makes you somehow feel bad for the man you would normally want to feel punished. The show explores extreme themes of family, loyalty and legacy, all while absolutely challenging your capacity for gruesome violence. It has made me cry, made me mad, and made me laugh till my cheeks hurt, all in one episode. But more than anything else, it makes me feel and think about things that I never would on my own, and that is a remarkable feat.
Outside of it’s fantastic writing and acting, it has a killer soundtrack. Filled with blues-y, gritty american rock, I usually spend the 10 minutes following an episode googling my way around the internet trying to find the song they just played. The two songs you’re getting today will give you a taste of theme I’m talking about here. The first is a blindingly good cover of John the Revelator. As you may know, that song is a traditional gospel call and response song thats based on the book of revelations and has been performed since the 1930s. But Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers tinge it with a perfect sound for these outlaws. I’m also adding in another cover by the same band of ‘House of the Rising Sun’, which is haunting and has a video montage of my favorite boys in it for you.
So if you’re not a fan already, check the show out if you want something to become enthralled with this winter. Try not to watch all 4 seasons inside of 2 weeks (which I may or may not have done last winter). Either way, hit play and let these songs make you feel like maybe you’re a bit of a pariah. Cause let’s be honest here: Whether it’s our personality, in our daily lives or vicariously through a something like a tv show, there’s a little bit of an outlaw in all of us.