Of Wine and Song.
After posting about the greatness of Gallo’s 1997 Estate Cabernet, I got thinking a little more about wine. Specifically, I got to thinking about the similarities between making great wine and writing a great song. Both seem to arise from duress. Truly, when you read about wine being made, you read of the stress the vines were under, the bout of bad weather that led to some sort of glorious transformation, the desperate reach of the roots into the soil, which is often rocky and dry, how the best vines are the old ones, gnarled and twisted, stunted from season after season of being pruned. You read of the grapes being crushed and then of how the juice is confined and isolated in small barrels for sometimes years. Now think about songs: like great wine, the good ones come from a hard place. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, songs that burst forth on a tide of joy. And I love these songs and would love to write more happy songs and to write them quickly and well. But such is not my lot. No, my good songs are written after fights, after accidents, after the feeling of having lost something. They are written overlooking a foggy bay, or black waters at night, or under clouds and in wind. And yet, like wine, songs are something I would not want to live without. And I think the main reason is this: they both represent triumph over adversity. Equally important, they admit that adversity is a necessity, but that it can be embraced --filtered, fined, picked and written – into the greatest of all human achievements: art.