Into Your Arms

September 4th was, by any other account, a Saturday like any before.

I woke at dawn, well prior to Abbi and the girls, rolled out of bed, and tip-toed down the steps. I brewed a cup of coffee (half and half, teaspoon of sugar in the raw), cracked the front door quietly, and stepped outside.

Rockford Road was empty, and silent save for the sound of mourning doves ceding to the sparrows and robins, and the faint rustle of the squirrels in the treetops. I walked barefoot around the block, sipping my coffee, taking in the morning clouds, and marveling to myself over and over, “Fifty years. Fifty years. Fifty years.”

I have been anticipating this birthday for years, dreaming, scheming and planning of all the ways to mark this milestone, to leverage the moment to reflect, assess, and build for the next fifty.

For starters, I have been working for months to revisit and re-evaluate some of my most essential songs, and re-master and re-release these “Greatest Hits,” if you will.

This re-assessment has prompted more than one insight, not the least of which I’ve noticed a preponderance of disaster songs across my nine studio albums: plane crashes, rock slides, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires.

Taken together, they’re beginning to make some sense, to tell a story — a life story. 

The first single from “Essential (2001-2021),” begins the album in the present, and acknowledges perhaps the most essential, deep and simple truth rendered only more so by the pandemic.

Through it all, our one true sanctuary is in the arms of one another.

Through tsunamis, draughts, insurgencies, pandemics, heartbreak, worry and regret, our one true sanctuary is the embrace of our loved loved ones: our friends, family and neighbors — and sometimes, even strangers. 

This is the place we can go.

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