CHAPTER 1 - Let You Lead
Every once in a while, you write a song that seems to come through you, as opposed to being something that you have to wrestle away from the muse. Never had a lyric and melody flowed so quickly or so organically onto the page as the morning I wrote “Let You Lead.” Something pulled me out of bed just as the sun was coming up. I drifted into the kitchen, still feeling wistful from the night before, and there was my guitar propped against the kitchen table.
Without any forethought or agenda whatsoever, I picked it up and started strumming a melody that was reminiscent of the feeling I’d had when I was being waltzed around the dancefloor in the arms of a total stranger just hours earlier: soft, feminine. Safe in someone else’s arms.
The irony is that I never made the connection between “Let You Lead” and the story of how my grandparents met on the dancefloor until years later when I began brainstorming on this project. At the time I wrote the song, I was just expressing my own desire that I felt as a woman – the desire to be held and to feel protected, to be able let go and just let someone else carry me for a while. Then when I started digging into the inspiration behind the songs for this project, I was meditating on how to tell this particular story when the image of a young couple holding each other and swaying back and forth to the music became vividly clear in my mind. I saw that the man was wearing an Army uniform and that’s how I knew.
“Let You Lead” was their story, not mine.
The memory of my grandmother’s face watching her own story being told through my music and those images on the big screen is something I will cherish for as long as I live. My goal in making this first piece about her was that I wanted her to see herself differently, because I’m not sure she ever thought of herself as being brave. Yet that is exactly the adjective I would use to describe the leap of faith that she made. It took incredible chutzpah to believe in love after everything she had been through, after all the heartache she had endured as a child and living through the death of her sweetheart, not to mention WWII. And to be so bold as to follow that love across the ocean - it’s the kind of stuff movies are made of!
I realized through the making of this first chapter of Story&Song that we are who we are because of where we’ve been, but at the same time I see now that the future is in no way tethered to the past. Just like my grandmother left the heartbreak of yesterday behind her and traveled across the ocean to begin anew, we can all choose to move boldy into tomorrow by believing and hoping for a better life.
Having relived her story through this project, I feel an incredible sense of empowerment on my own journey. I know that Story&Song is taking me somewhere I’ve never been before, but just like her, I am trusting in my intuition and allowing my heart to lead.
That is, after all, the only way to find one’s true destiny….