It was a fine line of a fine time with my daughter and me. She was just reaching the age where I was about to lose her to the wide wild world, but we'd found this one thing we had in common. A last thing to share, after all the sharing was done and she was looking at me at almost eye-level. They do grow up so fast. The band that we'd found to share these last days of togetherness with has several songs about this subject. You could listen to Better than Ezra's Beautiful Mistake or Waxing or Waning? or Scared, Are You? or Speeding up to Slow Down or Teenager and there would be little lines in there which you could pull out and force into the moment.

So the little girl I'd raised for so many years was willing to do this last thing with me, whenever the situation arose. We would travel to see Better than Ezra play and listen to their CDs on those last road trips together and sing along. I didn't have to worry about her running off to find a "better friend" when we got there. One of the last times this happened was in Memphis one fall afternoon before a football game there. I don't know who booked and arranged this little makeshift concert that day, but it was quite unusual. The stage was in the middle of a field near the football stadium and hardly anyone was there. I would suspect the entire crowd was a total of less than 300 people. Getting a good place on the ground with an old blanket was not a problem. BTE had some of their hardcore fans there, you could tell, but hardly anyone seemed to care about the opening act.

Sixpence None the Richer had that Kiss Me song on the radio at the time, so you would have thought that there would have been an entire crowd just to hear them open up. It just didn't seem to be the case.

I was a bit put off by the appearance of the group. The lead singer had on some outfit which looked as if it was a cross between London mod and duct tape. She seemed quite uncomfortable in her own skin. The lead guitar player didn't look happy. The bass player had it turned up way too loud. All in all, I dismissed Sixpence as a one-hit wonder band and got ready to enjoy the boys from Louisiana, who always have a good time playing and who are always happy to do their thing for you.

However, recently I read a piece about Sixpence's new CD, Divine Discontent, and I was persuaded to grab a copy of the reviewer's favorite song, Melody of You, along with a couple of others.

Matt Slocum is the guitar player who looked somewhat disgruntled that day in Memphis. He is the son of a bookstore owner and that probably explains his erudite lyrics. He writes the songs and a girl named Leigh Nash sings them. She was the one who looked as if she was in some sort of existential bondage that day in Memphis. Slocum is a devoted fan of the works of Haruki Murakami, and seems to be quite well read. In fact, he wanted to keep that Kiss Me song off of their best-selling CD. His producer talked him into it, and I will bet you that this had a major impact on the personalities I saw on that little stage out in that largely empty field that day in Memphis.

Sixpence has grown weary of telling the same story, over and over, from one talk show to another, about the origin of their band's name. They dutifully respond with a retelling of the C.S. Lewis story comparing human efforts to please God with the efforts of a child who seeks to please a parent by first borrowing a sixpence from and then buying a present for her with it.

One of the greatest presents my child ever gave me was her time. That afternoon in Memphis, we had a wonderful time together. I was on one of my last dates with her after fifteen years of growing up together. Even though we live in the same house and still have a lot of love for each other, we don't have moments like that anymore. She has her own circle of friends for those moments. I do miss those moments so.

It would almost be enough to turn one's eyes to the ethereal, if one were so inclined. I'm not, but I do not fault those who find solace in such pursuits. The guy who wrote the piece about this band which led me to download this song says it is "the greatest worship song and the greatest pop ballad of the last 50 years." I don't know if that will hold up, but this is one great song and one great poem, even without the music. I'm fairly sure they played this song that day, and I just wasn't listening.

I'm listening now.

You're a painting with symbols deep,
A symphony, soft as it shifts from dark beneath;
A poem that flows, caressing my skin.
In all of these things you reside and I
Want to flow from the pen, bow and brush
Then paper and string and canvas touch
With ink and the air to dust your light
From morning 'til the black of night.

This is my call, I belong to you.
This is my call, to sing the melodies of you.
This is my call, I can do nothing else.
I can do nothing else.

You're the scent of an unfound bloom,
A simple tune
I only write variations to;
A drink that will knock me down on the floor;
A key that will unlock the door
Where I hear a voice sing familiar themes
Then beckons me weave notes in between
A bow and a string a tap and glass.
You pour me 'til the day has passed.

This is my call, I belong to you.
This is my call, to sing the melodies of you.
This is my call, I can do nothing else.
I can do nothing else.

CST approved

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