A variation of the old proverb “you can’t put old wine in new bottles,” meaning you can’t put something new into an established system. I beg to differ! What about a “new” great song, one that makes your hair stand on end, one that makes your toes curl, one that launches you to your feet. Sadly I think, these provocative, mind bending vessels for argument, commentary, and action were somehow left behind in the 1960s with the Peace and Civil Rights Movement and the Viet Nam War.
Referred to now as “aging hippies,” we folksingers/writers can still bring thunder with our still small voices by creating songs that prove the world is bigger than our own. Just look at the incredible fodder we have–myriad hot-potato social, environmental, and political issues–both locally and global! Go for it!
From Fine Wine In Old Bottles:
In the cold light of reason, with so many words to use,
Everyday is Monday when the lady sings the blues.
She writes, then sings her songs in a voice that’s clear and strong.
Through foggy sunless passages, she carries us along.
And she cries for the moon, through crocodile tears.
Her life has been too easy for far too many years.
She doesn’t know she’s late in the field,
And there are those who came before who gave us so much more.
She doesn’t know the world is bigger than her own,
And her songs may be all but forgotten.
In a blinding rage of passion, he breathes fire into his songs,
And in every phrase recounting ways his life has turned out wrong.
In and out his fingers move their magic through the strings.
In a waste-howling wilderness, he flounders as he sings.
And he’s eager for the fray, eager for the pain.
The world owes him a living, he’s been to hell and back again.
He doesn’t know he’s so late in the field,
And there are songs that came before that gave us so much more.
He doesn’t know the world is bigger than his own,
And his songs may be all but forgotten.
So then, who’ll write the songs that take us from this blight,
To rouse and impassion and lead us to the light?
Who’ll write the songs that are new in the field,
Of the great unnumbered masses, the minorities and the throngs,
The gentry and the freemen, the powerless and the strong,
Who’ll write the songs that prove the world is bigger than our own,
And a still, small voice can bring thunder.
Let new songs flow, and let them fly to make us stand with our arms raised high,
To make us steady and make us proud, make us sing with our voices loud.
Let new songs move and set us on fire.
Let the conspiracy of silence be shattered forever more,
All, separately, or together, how we’ll let our passions soar.
Then these new songs, these new songs will be,
Like fine wine in old bottles.