You’re In My Blood Like Holy Wine

Added on April 5, 2015

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By Artisthead News Correspondent, Alex Feigin.

It was January 2014, and the loveliest white snow beautifully illuminated the streets of New York. It was just after New Years, and I was so glad to have some time off from work to spend with my family outside the city. I can recall it like it was yesterday, walking into my childhood home and seeing Terry sitting on the couch in the living room. She had covered herself in a light blanket and was intently watching television when I entered the room. She was so regal and alive. Even though she was just relaxing inside, she always looked wonderfully radiant and ready to conquer the world. Upon seeing me, her face lit up, and her arms opened to welcome me with the warmest of embraces.

It was always a treat to see Terry. She functioned as an honorary member of our family as she had been my mother's best friend since her twenties. She lived in Arizona, so we definitely did not see her as often as we would have liked. As life hands us many cards, some good and some bad, Terry was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2009. There's nothing quite like knowing that your time with someone you love will inevitably be cut short; a feeling that many folks are familiar with, as cancer takes so many lives unnecessarily sooner than it should. Nonetheless, this fact made our time together feel even more precious and anticipated. I sat down on the couch next to Terry, and we began to talk for hours. We covered everything from the general catch up points, to plans of future travel, to my career, and finally to my favorite topic: music.

Terry spoke of her recent musical finds that she excitedly played for me from her MacBook speakers. While we discussed our new musical obsessions and she delighted in the likes of Aloe Blacc's album Lift Your Spirit that I introduced to her, we always came back to our favorite artists and songs. We discussed a few of my favorite songs including "There She Goes" by The La's, "Here Comes The Sun" and "Golden Slumbers" by The Beatles, "Science and Faith" by The Script, and several others. I knew that when we discussed Terry's favorite songs, the artist in the spotlight would be Joni Mitchell. While I had begun listening to Joni back in college, I really began to indulge in her beautiful lyrics and melodies that day, on the couch of my parent's house. We discussed "A Case Of You," "All I Want," "For Free," which is Terry's favorite, and many other tracks. Now, any time I hear Joni Mitchell, I think of that sweet day and can't help but feel a sense of comfort and warmth.

Music is a form of communication that can hold so much more than words can say. There is nothing else in the world that can remind me of a specific moment or feeling, a certain person, or the way I felt during a period of time in my life quite like music can. How many times does a song come on in the car that causes you to react? I mean a song that makes you feel something that you haven't felt in the longest time, or ignites a memory so vivid that you can practically relive the moment -- if only just for a moment -- vicariously through the song. Even if the song doesn't remind you of a specific moment, it can bring you back to the way you felt at a certain time in your life. To this day, any time I hear "Good Life" by OneRepublic, I not only remember, but can also feel the liveliness and the innate sense of freedom I felt during the semester I lived in London. Also, to this day, any time I hear "Do You Feel Like We Do?" by Peter Frampton, I can't help but remember what it was like to ride home from basketball practice with my Father when I was a young kid. I remember the feeling of life's simplicity in the little bubble I lived in, and that feeling is so wonderful and freeing. I'd get in the passenger seat as my father drove the car. We would crank the stereo, roll down the windows and yell the very first lyrics "Woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand. Whose wine? What wine? Where the hell did I dine?"

While music provides a means of bringing back memories, it can also function as a mood changer as well as offering a therapeutic element. I have a playlist entitled "happy" that I use any time I need a little pick-me-up. I have several friends with a "chill" playlist, or a "party" playlist to get in the mood to go out for the evening. Besides being an active mood changer, music as a form of therapy is an incredible and fascinating health practice. Music therapy is a great means of addressing people's medical needs, whether those needs be emotional, physical, or physiological. Music therapy is a growing field in which professionals are required to obtain a degree. There are cases where music is used to aid patients so they can pass on in a peaceful manner, or where music provides a means to communicate emotion with mentally ill patients. There have even been cases where music has aided in the healing of brain injuries by helping the brain to react to rhythm, tempo and melody. I love hearing stories of musicians that play for sick children in hospitals. Not only does it brighten the day of the sick child, but it also presents a personal connection that only live music can offer. Music Therapy is a growing practice, and it serves as an alternative, yet effective means of healing.

We listen to music for fun, for pleasure, for memories, to reflect on sad times, to cope with hard times, to recall relationships with current or ex-lovers, and even sometimes as pure accompaniment to any normal activity. There are songs that remind me of the summer on a cold winter night, songs that remind me of dancing around at slumber parties with childhood friends, and songs that remind me of starring into the eyes of someone you're deeply in love with and feeling invincible. For every reason, there is music to guide you through whatever life throws as you. Music doesn't only provide access to personal memories, but can provide shared memories as well. A song or artist can have immense meaning to a group or pair of people together. How many couples have "a song" or two that they call "their song?" That song can hold that same meaning for a couple over a lifetime, or after a break-up, it can function as a memory of the unique and special relationship that was shared with a partner. As music can be so powerful, it's no surprise that a couple's "song" can make them emote heavily in countless ways.

Late at night, on the evening of March 18th, 2015, Terry passed away after her almost six year long battle with cancer. With tears in my eyes and all of the love and wisdom she imparted on me filling my soul, I turned to Joni Mitchell for comfort. Listening to all of Terry's favorite songs made me feel comforted, safe, and with the feeling that I had a means of connecting with her immediately. Besides the wisdom, confidence, kindness, strength, benevolence, and love Terry showed me, she also introduced me to my favorite Joni Mitchell song, which has since become one of my favorite songs of all time, "A Case Of You." While Joni Mitchell seems to have written "A Case Of You" for a lover, when I listen to some of those beautiful lyrics, I think of Terry. "Love is touching souls. Surely you touched mine. Cause' part of you pours out of me in these lines from time to time."

I think of her motivation throughout her fight with cancer as she was only expected to live a few years after her diagnosis, and she lived for almost six. I think of her caring ways, and how no matter what hardship she was going through, what surgery procedure she just came from, or what bad news of more tumors came her way, she was so incredibly selfless, and would say "I'd rather talk about you!" Her attitude was incredible, and her beautiful heart stretched a thousand miles for those she cared for. I already miss her dearly, and my heart aches of sadness, but everything she taught me over the years will stay with me forever. I know that if I need her, I can turn on some Joni Mitchell tunes as they will always remind me of that day on the couch of my parent's house, and will just simply remind me of her! Terry and I used to email back and forth as it was sometimes easier than tracking each other down by phone. I will never forget how she ended one of the last emails she sent to me: "As long as I'm around you, you'll have my ear, my best possible advice, my confidence in you, and my whole heart. I hope you feel free to reach out to me anytime - no matter where I am or you are. I love you with all my heart. Terry."

Rest In Peace Terry Lazin
August 1, 1953 - March 18, 2015

 

 

 

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