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Just A Bunch Of Words

It is no secret that I lead a musically charged life. Some days, I have a better conversation with my guitar than I possibly could with any human. Looking back, the only real constant in my life that has truly remained aside from change, is music.

I came across a tweet today that resonated with me.



Ron Pope is a musician, and if you haven’t already heard his music, I can say without reservation that he writes passionately, honestly, and unapologetically. Not only is he a talented musician, but if you’ve ever been to one of his shows, you can tell that he is a genuine person. He manages to remain elemental to the core reasons he began his career as a musician, yet dynamically displays his talents for the world to hear. He is kind to his fans, humble in the face of the spotlight, and has yet to turn into the fame monster that many musicians in today’s music industry fall victim to.

Seven months ago, I entered The Middle East in Boston. Blake had surprised me with tickets to a sold out Ron Pope Show for our one year anniversary. I stood, Jack and coke in hand, five rows back from a stage so small, that you couldn’t do a cartwheel on it.  Only a microphone, a piano, and a stool rested on the stage. The way music should be.

The opening act was Alexis Babini, a previous attendant of Berklee College of Music. He sat comfortably on stage, free of a guitar strap, with a six string acoustic resting over his right knee and a scarf draped loosely around his neck. Between songs he spoke to the audience, cracked jokes, and spent a few minutes teaching us one of his new songs so that we could sing the chorus with him. After a personal and charming performance, his set ended and he exited the stage to meet his fans by the merchandise table.

It was also at this time that my Jack and coke had miraculously emptied. I made my way to the bar for one more drink, when a swarm of teenage girls, who couldn’t possibly have been any older than eighteen, crowded the merch table in front of the bar. I could have sworn it was a twenty one plus show, but I would also be lying if I said that I didn’t have a fake ID during my freshmen year of college.

Guilty as charged.

“Hey, would you mind taking a picture for us?” One of girls asked asked me, while forcing a camera into my hands before I had time to answer.
“I’d be delighted to.” I counted down from three, told the girls to say cheese, and returned to my Jack and coke mission after snapping two or three pictures for the star struck teens. By the time I had ordered my drink, Alexis stood alone at his table.

“So many girls…That must be tough.” I joked.
“Definitely,” he laughed. “Who are you here to see?”
“Ron Pope.” I answered.
“Ron’s great! We’ve played together for a long time. So where are you from?”
“New Hampshire.”
“So you drove all the way down here to watch him perform?”
“I sure did. It’s only about an hour away with traffic.”
“That’s dedication. How long have you been listening to Ron Pope’s music?” Alexis asked.
“A while. I fell in love to Ron Pope.”
“I’m intrigued. Tell me more.” This caught me off guard. It was one of those times where I had said something I wasn’t even aware of. Inexplicable word vomit. I hadn’t thought to say something else. I could have said two years, and ended there. I humored him regardless. Ron Pope wasn’t coming out for another twenty minutes and I had always liked conversing with new people, so I told Alexis Babini my story without reservation that me might think I was absolutely crazy.

After all, he HAD asked.

In December of 2010, Blake and I had been living in separate countries for three months, and over Christmas, Blake hopped on a plane to visit me in America. We planned an impromptu three day visit to New York City, a first for both of us. We stayed in a lavish hotel on Broadway, which was far more expensive than anything either of us could realistically afford, full of modern square furniture, open concept rooms, and fancy overhead lighting. Of course, by nature we are not fancy people, and at one o’clock in the morning, we ventured through the city that never sleeps for some pizza. Without knowing our surroundings, we picked what may have been the grimiest, greasiest pizza joint in all of New York City.

We brought the pizza back to the hotel, and we laughed, conversed, and reminisced for hours over questionable slices of pizza. We called it a night around 3am, but not before plugging my iPod in and putting a mix on shuffle that I usually fall asleep to. Blake had always known and appreciated my love of music, and for months had been begging me to sing. I’d played for him countless times, but as something I’d been doing since a young age, I considered singing a more private affair.  The only person I’d ever really sung with was my mother. As we lay silently in our bed in our luxurious New York City suite, with the busy traffic bustling by even at three in the morning, “You’re The Reason I Come Home” by Ron Pope began playing through the speakers. Without hesitating, or considering the obvious that I was not in fact alone in the comfort of my room with my guitar and a cup of tea,  I began singing the words to the song out loud.

It was in that simple, raw, and unintentional moment, where I realized exactly what my comfort levels were. It was the first time in my life that they truly held no boundaries. It was then that I knew I was in deep.

After I had told this artist I had never heard of, and more importantly, this human being I’d never met, my story, he thanked me. It’s not very often musicians have the chance to talk face to face with their listeners. Alexis shook my hand and told me that he couldn’t wait to tell Ron my story. Whether he did or did not does not matter to me. Art isn’t about how many people hear your story; it’s about having the courage to share it in the first place. Having the chance to stand face to face with a fellow artist, writer, and music lover was priceless.

Ron, people will always find something to complain about, some reason to knock you off of your platform. They will search for ways to make you feel like you are not worthy of the support that people give you. They will analyze you, ridicule you, and mock you over cheap beer and chicken fingers.  Once they’ve made amends with the fact that the appetizers they eat at the local sports bar on their lunch break are more appetizing than their own lives, they will move on. You are accomplishing something that they never will. When they return to their sad little lives, you will continue to write words and music that move people.

There is no bell curve to Ron Pope’s music; no average variable which is can be measured against. When you hear his music, if you have experienced any strong human emotion toward anything in your life, you will connect to it.

If you can’t, then he’s right. You aren’t listening very closely.

“Paper doll silhouettes,
Fingertips on window glass;
The street’s asleep,
So I breathe you in deep.

The tragedies of chemistry,
People dream of what you and me
Have found…

Effortlessly.

You’re the reason I come home.”


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29 Comments

  1. danielle says

    Good stuff and so true– makes me think a quote from Emipire Records “music is the glue of the world, Mark. It’s what holds it all together. Without this, life would be meaningless.”

    • When you’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on a few of your favorite musicians in intimate settings like bars and theaters, appreciating a huge stadium definitely becomes more difficult.

  2. I really like Ron Pope, too! Especially “Fireflies,” the first song I knew by him.

    I also really hate people who are snobby about their taste in music. Seriously- like what you like and leave everyone else alone to like what they like. And for the love of God, if you can’t say something nice directly to an artist, don’t say anything at all. Kindergarten logic is right here.

    • Well said Katie. I don’t really like people who are snobby in general. If you think you’re so much better, than get out there and show the world your talents, instead of taking down others’ talents.

      Kindergarten logic is the simplest to understand, yet is so quickly forgotten. xo

  3. I love the feeling of my soul high on music. (Blissful) I’m not familiar with Ron Pope but I will for sure be checking him out! Any other suggested songs?

    • Getting lost in music is a beautiful feeling. If you have any music suggestions, feel free to send them my way. I always love music chatter. One of his more popular songs is “A Drop In The Ocean.” and I also really like If You Were A Stone:

      • So I love Trevor Hall, Brandi Carlile, Ray LaMontagne, Xavier Rudd, John Butler Trio, Avett Brothers…just some of my faves 🙂 I love singer/songwriter, bluegrass, soulfulness, and anything with a banjo! Thanks for pointing out Ron Pope, I think I’m going to dig him! xoxo

      • Ohh I love Ray Lamontagne! Ray and I go way back. I’ve never heard Trevor Hall. Excited to check him out! xo

  4. I had never heard of Ron Pope before, but I just listened to his song: OMG I’m overwhelmed, his voice, the music, the lyrics everything is just awesome! There’s so much soul and feelings in the song, thanks for the great recommendation! I guess you know more of this type of hidden jewels? I’d love to read more of your song suggestions 🙂

    • His voice is so lovely and he sings with so much conviction, I can’t imagine how anyone would only hear rhyming words.

      Of course I have TONS of song suggestions! If you’re looking for music similar to Ron’s, that acoustic soulfulness, check out Ed Sheeran! This is actually a Johnny cash cover, not his original work, but I still love it.

      • I agree 100%, he’s definetely not just rhyming words! Thank you Carley for another wonderful song. I knew Ed Sheeran before, but I had not heard this cover song yet. *fist bump* 😉

  5. Oh oh oh…. this is why I love your blog.

    I recently told my therapist that music has been basically my best friend since I was 15-16. I love how much you talk about it. I kinda feel like I know you. Haha that sounded kinda creepy… I just get the way you feel about music and rarely meet people who feel the same way I do.

    I was reading your conversation with Alexis Babini and I was so jealous. Not because I know who he is (I do) but because that sounds like the most fantastic conversation ever. Talking about love of music with a musician who is making it… beautiful.

    Funny thing is I actually haven’t listened to Ron Pope til this blog post… I think I’m going to have a little love affair with his music.

    You’re awesome! Keep writing! 🙂

    • No, YOU’RE awesome! All of you! Everyone who reads, appreciates, likes, and comments. You’re the reason I write! I’m so happy you connected with this piece.

      My conversation with Alexis was great. I definitely recommend checking out more of RP’s music! xo

  6. Caitlin says

    Beautiful song! Beautiful story! They say sense of smell is the most powerful memory trigger but I find that music is. I hear a certain song, chord, melody, lyric and it brings me right back to a certain point in my near or far past. I had never heard of Ron Pope before your blog post so thank you for introducing to me a new artist. Check out some of her songs, here’s one to get you started. Looking forward to your net post 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing your lovely story. I watched the video and really enjoyed his music as well 🙂 Taste in music is such a personal thing…I get that…but it seems hard to disparage a guy writing his own music, playing guitar, and singing his feelings so beautifully. I guess there will always be haters!

    • Exactly! I just think, in any case, to disparage somebody who is doing something creatively is so vapid. You can totally not like or enjoy something, but that doesn’t mean you have to bring them down. It’s just a waste of your time and theirs. Thanks for reading, Em! Must be getting close to you having to come home! Yikes!

  8. What a great story… both of them rolled into one! I’ve always felt the same way about singing, how private it is. So that’s a pretty special moment you describe, baring your soul like that through the simple act of singing.

    • It was definitely special, it was something so simple, but I remember lying there and singing out loud and being so comfortable, like I was hanging out with my best friend.

  9. Oh my goodness, this post gave me chills and made me tear up. I’m excited to listing to that song, but I had to comment and say thank you!!

    • Thanks Jaclyn! I just popped over to your blog and I loved it! I’ve been thinking of trying a toner lately, and I’m a natural/organic guru, so I’m glad to hear you like the C. Booth’s Tea Tree Toner!

  10. I hadn’t heard of Ron Pope before, but wow, what a beautiful song! Everything’s just so right. Thanks a million for the tip 🙂

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