On this, the 7th “Day of Thankfulness”, I’m thankful for music. I simply cannot imagine life without it. Music gives me energy when I’m tired, cheers me when I’m feeling low, calms me when I’m agitated and always…always soothes my soul.
One of our favorite things to do in New Orleans is listen to live music. We’ve become friends with several musicians there and always look forward to listening to them on our trips. On this past vacation we also had an absolutely incredible musical experience that I know will remain with me forever. I hesitate to even attempt to describe it. I simply do not have the words. But this is a blog post about music so I’ll give it a shot.
Early in the week I happened to be looking through a local publication with information on the various clubs and music venues when I noticed that John Boutte´ would be performing at a club on Frenchmen Street. I just had to see him. Our dear friends, Ken and Cindy decided to go with us and I guarantee you none of us will ever forget standing together in a small, dark, crowded room as the music of this man washed over us, lifted us up, and brought each of us to tears. Yes, even the men admitted to that. It was truly a spiritual experience.
The highlight was when Boutte´ sang one of my favorite songs, “Hallelujah”. It happened to be his birthday and his mom, one of his sisters, two nieces and a cousin were all there. His nieces and cousin are all impressive singers in their own rights and joined him on stage for several songs. His nieces each sang a song or two themselves and then the three sang backup on a few, including “Hallelujah”. I didn’t record it because I had decided to simply enjoy the concert so the video above is the closest I could find on YouTube. You’ll get an idea of what a beautiful voice he has but you’ll have to imagine it without all the interruptions from the audience in this version. And the audience we were in could actually sing! I still get chills thinking about how it felt to sing along with a room full of people who were totally caught up in the moment, in sync with one another and the musicians and yes, the universe. Maybe it sounds hyperbolic but that is exactly how it felt. In that moment everything fell away except for the pure joy of song.
One of my favorite lines in “Hallelujah” is:
“I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah”
And that’s precisely what we did in that dark and crowded bar in New Orleans.