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The healing powers of music

Country Standard Time Editorial, November 2001

It would be an understatement to say that it's been hard to focus on anything except the events of Sept. 11 and their aftermath. Thousands killed. Even thousands more left without a loved one or a friend or a fellow firefighter or someone you barely knew.And not just

Americans, of course, were killed in the tragedies of the Pentagon and New York City and western Pennsylvania. Victims came from dozens of countries - more than 100 Israelis, for example, were killed.

To his credit, of course, President Bush has tried to steer the U.S. on the right course, guiding it through the tragedy and a hopeful recovery.

Music is certainly considered part of the process. But that has not been easy. Many concerts of all musical genres have been cancelled. Several country acts - Willie Nelson, the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill - participated in the huge telethon fundraiser that raised tens of millions.

Martina McBride is giving money from proceeds of her "Greatest Hits" disc. Aaron Tippin recorded a new single with money also going to charity. Many others have done their share as well.

No doubt about it, however. It has been hard to focus on music for awhile. As one industry person said, people are listening to music, but they're not really hearing it.

Hopefully, that soon will change as the U.S. slowly returns to "normal." The cultural institutions of our country - music, theatre, movies, museums - all can play a role in helping overcome the despair we all feel.

So whether you're bag is Faith Hill and Shania Twain or Merle Haggard and George Jones, maybe there is something there for you to help you through the day and week. Maybe it's a song or album that you've always loved that brings back positive thoughts and good memories. Put it in the CD player. Who knows? It may do you a world of good, even if temporarily.

Or maybe seeing some live music will help as well, though as the year winds down, fewer and fewer concerts occur as a matter of course.

There is no easy solution for anyone to easily deal with the World Trade Center and Pentagon tragedies and hijackings. We've all suffered whether we knew anyone killed or not.

Music always has had a special place for people. Hopefully, it will continue to provide a healing power of sorts at a time when we most are in need.