Where to start with a blog called Free Ride? With Edgar Winter, of course. I love the classic opening guitar riff, with Edgar laying down the Moog keyboard line behind it. (Useless fact: Bob Moog, who invented the synthesizer that bears his name, lived here in my hometown of Asheville, NC.) Anyway, to the lyrics–
The mountain is high, the valley is low
and you’re confused about which way to go
So I flew here to lend you a hand
and lead you into the promised land
Come on, take a free ride,
come on, sit here by my side,
come on, take a free ride
Edgar’s mention of the promised land put me in mind of the old gospel song, I Am Bound for the Promised Land, aka On Jordan’s Stormy Banks. One of my quirks in life is finding connections between songs like these, and oddly enough, you can sing On Jordan’s Stormy Banks across the music of Free Ride. The stormy banks of Jordan got me thinking about the movie Cape Fear (the remake version with Robert DiNero and Nick Nolte). The last scene is where the two are going wildly down the river in Nolte’s houseboat, and the rocks finally get to it and it crashes. DiNero is handcuffed to a rail on the broken boat, and after the two have one last battle, with fists and rocks, the river carries Dinero and his piece of the boat out into the deep, where he sinks, speaking in Pentecostal tongues and singing On Jordan’s Stormy Banks as he goes under the water.
Time to go back to the lyrics, to get that disturbing image out of my mind. Edgar W could have been talking about the political landscape of today when he sang,
All over the country, I’m seeing the same
Nobody’s winning at this kind of game
We’ve gotta do better, it’s time to begin
You know all the answers must come from within.
Yep, all over the country, the space for civil dialogue is shrinking, replaced by the ever widening space for shrieking. People look to the screaming heads for answers, but we surely can do better than that. What would the answers looked like if we got them from within? Do we have the internal resources to meet the challenges our communities and country face? Where will we go on this free ride? Is it destined to lead us to the stormy banks of Cape Fear – where we are free to bash each others’ heads in and then pray in tongues? Or does our freedom bind us to a better promised land?