Turn on the radio, and you’ll find plenty of songs teenagers relate to–songs about first love, breaking up and rebellion. But what about the deep loves, losses and angst adults experience?
Nashville singer and songwriter Karen Taylor-Good has written her first book, along with a companion CD, geared toward older adults facing aging parents, estranged teenagers and a search for the meaning in it all.
Good began her musical career in her 20s, singing cover tunes in hotel lounges and recording commercial jingles. When she was 34, the Academy Country Music Awards nominated her for the best new female artist.
But when she didn’t win, she spiraled into a deep depression that lasted for months. Her intense pain led her to write.
“I had to write stuff down – or I thought I was going to die,” Good said.
Then, one night, she crept over to her piano, placed her hands on the keyboard, and the music came pouring out. Since then, such artists as Laura Brannigan, Patty Loveless and Al Jarreau have recorded songs she has written. “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye,” recorded by Loveless, hit number one on the country charts and garnered a Grammy nomination in 1995.
She released “On Angel’s Wings,” a heartfelt book with a companion CD, a few months ago.
“The more life experience I have, the more I find I have to say and want to share,” Good said. “What used to be satisfying to say in a three-minute song (is no longer enough). I want more time to share – to share the events that led up to the song, the life situation surrounding it –because they’re all songs about real life issues that grown-up people are dealing with.”
The 14-track CD begins with “Unanswered Prayers,” a song about getting what you need rather than what you think you want. It continues with songs about dealing with aging parents and growing children, Alzheimer’s disease and losing parents, child abuse, saying “yes” to life, incorporating kindness into daily life and searching for one’s authentic self. Her book includes lyrics, short stories about how the song came about and inspirational messages.
Good’s heartfelt lyrics clearly stem from her own experiences, and she conveys them in a genuine and uplifting manner.
“On Angel’s Wings” talks about Good’s mother, who was a member of MENSA (an organization for people with genius IQs), then suffered from Alzheimer’s. Her mother didn’t believe in an afterlife and didn’t want to die, so Good wrote, “First, she’ll have to let go of some things she can’t use. ‘Cause people and places, memories and faces are just way too heavy, it seems, to carry on angel’s wings.”
When she heard one of the fathers of the slain students from the Columbine shooting speak in Nashville, it inspired her to write “Kinder,” about how everyone is the same deep down.
She gets “real” with a song of the same name, describing her insecurities and growth process in the book and using Pinocchio as a metaphor for becoming a true human being.
Not all of her songs tug on heartstrings, though. “The OBG Why Me Blues” pokes fun at annual visits women bear at the gynecologist.
The CD ends with uplifting songs about how life is good and how time heals all wounds.
“There’s a spiritual base to my music,” she said. “I ask a lot of questions in my songs and I look at spiritual issues, but I don’t consider myself religious. I think religion tends to separate people, and it is my hope my music helps us see what we have in common.
“It just seems that for some reason, I tackle some issues that haven’t been tackled and adding the music adds another dimension. What I hope to give is the recognition that we’re all in this together, and as difficult as this life journey is at times, it always helps me to realize these 10, or these 50 or these 100 people are going through the same thing. We’re not alone.”
Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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