Musicians name their favorite songs about gratitude
Because they’re on the road, many musicians don’t get to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. Instead, touring might translate to settling for a turkey sandwich at a Denny’s.
But as most thoughtful musicians will tell you, being able to perform in front of hundreds or thousands of people every night is a gift.
The Tribune asked touring musicians to share their favorite songs about gratitude. Some chose their own songs, and others offered songs written by others, but all expressed thanks for a happy 2012.
Martin Sexton • His song “There Go,” which alludes to the saying “There but for the grace of God go I.” “My mom always did her best to teach us about gratitude,” Sexton said. “There’s no particular God you have to believe in. Gratitude is not a noun — it’s a verb. We say grace at the table and thank the universe.”
Alejandro Escovedo • “Every Grain of Sand,” by Bob Dylan. “I’ve always loved that song,” he said. “I’m a lucky human being.”
Alfie Boe • “Thank You,” by Led Zeppelin. Boe sang a duet with Robert Plant, titled “Song to the Siren,” that appeared on Boe’s album “Alfie.”
Sean Hayes • His own song “Rosebush Inside,” written about Moreese Bickham, who was released from Angola after spending 40 years in prison for a crime that many believe he didn’t commit. After he was released, Bickham remained an optimist, said Hayes. “That song was 100 percent about gratitude.” Hayes said that when he gets upset over trivial matters, he tries to think about Bickham to give him perspective.
Paul O’Neill, creator of Trans-Siberian Orchestra • TSO’s “Someday.” O’Neill said the song reminds him of a high-school teacher who introduced him to Oscar Wilde, who became O’Neill’s idol.
Tommy Smith of Leogun • “Thank You” by Led Zeppelin. Smith remembered hearing that song for the first time when he was on a scenic drive with his father near Seattle. “It brought us all to tears,” he said.
Peter Breinholt • The local singer-songwiter had two offerings. First was his own song, “What About,” inspired by his practice of thinking of things he was thankful for to keep his mind active on long drives. Second, Breinholt mentioned George Winston’s “Peace,” the last song on Winston’s 1982 album “December.”
Kip Moore • “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” written by Kris Kristofferson but made famous by Johnny Cash. When he first heard the song on the radio, Moore was feeling down, but the song reminded him of the better things in life. “I was living in a s--- hole, and I remember that song struck such an emotional chord,” he said.
John D. Cronise, The Sword • “Gratitude,” by Beastie Boys, from “Check Your Head.” “I love the Beastie Boys, always have,” he said.
Fumiaki Miura, pianist • The Japanese traditional song “Akatombo.” The song is translated as “Red Dragonfly.” Miura said the song reminds him of being happy that he is alive, as well as honoring those who died in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan.
Sandra Turley • The Mormon singer and former Broadway star chose the hymn “Count Your Many Blessings.” “Life is so busy,” she said. “Sit down and count your blessings. Family, friends, faith. Nothing else matters.”
Rick Estrin • “Why Me Lord,” by Kris Kristofferson. “Trust me, it’s the best [gratitude] song of all time,” Estrin said of the song, which Kristofferson wrote after a spiritual moment at a church after many years of religious doubt.
Graham Fink, Milo Greene • “Thank You,” by Dido. “That’s the first thing that came to mind,” Fink said. “There’s something to be said for the first response.” He added that it was the song he was referring to, and not the sample from “Thank You” that Eminem famously used in his song “Stan.”
JJ Lawhorn • “Something to Be Proud Of,” from Montgomery Gentry. “Sometimes people define success by how much they sell, but at the end of the day, I want to positively affect someone. That’s success.”
Page Hamilton, Helmet • The classical guitar stylings of Andres Segovia. The guitarist’s songs remind Hamilton of the beauty of life, he said.
Mike Martin, All That Remains • Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U.” “Just because it’s named that,” said the metal singer. “I found some of her songs enjoyable.” He added, “If you listen to [Swedish death metal band] Soilwork, there aren’t many songs about thanks from them.”
Neal Middleton, Royal Bliss • His band’s song “Brave,” which was written to honor his father’s military service. “It’s one of my biggest thank-you songs,” Middleton said. “[His service and others’ make it so] we’re able to celebrate Thanksgiving in America.”
© Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.