I went looking for the weekend music last night. Found this. It brought tears to my eyes. So, even though I’ve posted other versions of it here in the past, the audio quality isn’t so good, he talks way too long before he starts the song, and I am posting too many country videos lately, I’m going with it.
This one is entirely more than the sum of its parts.
This song was written almost 30 years ago, maybe longer, and Robert Earl Keen, as far as I know, is still playing it.
I first heard it in a bar in Hattiesburg Mississippi, being played by this guy. He left for the Southwest as I was finishing up my graduate degree, years ago now. The last thing he said to me was “Gene’O, use the headphones.” He said it through a microphone that he was also singing through as I left the bar. And I understand why he said that. Advice to a newbie who was trying to learn to play an electric guitar, is what it was. This happened at a place called the Keg and Barrel, just so you know.
Steve has “left the building,” as we say in these parts, and I did not know it when the song brought tears to my eyes. I found out because I went looking for his website to do him a good turn on account of that memory and the kindness he gave me back in those days.
Steve had a sweet dog. Her name was Edie.
He was good about playing requests. He knew Randy Newman front and back, and that’s no mean feat, since Randy is a pianist and Steve was a guitarist. He introduced me to a lot of music I’d never heard before. I’m grateful to have known him, even if only casually, and for a short time. I have one of his CDs, and I treasure it
“Feelin’ Good Again” a song about hope, and renewed friendships, and joy. It’s a story of a man who’s been absent from his favorite bar for a long time. He goes there. He recognizes everyone and I think they recognize him. He decides to buy a round. Realizes he didn’t cash his paycheck before he came to town. But then, miraculously, he finds enough money in his pocket to actually buy the round, and a REALLY SPECIAL PERSON appears on the scene.
It’s a beautiful story, but life doesn’t work that way.
Except when it does. Life does actually work that way sometimes. Not very often, but now and then. I’ve experienced life working in that beautiful way more than once in my short life.
“Feelin’ Good Again” is surely a song about joy, hope, and possibilities.
But it’s also about memory. And loss. It might even be an ode to wishful thinking. That’s the epiphany I had, when I stumbled upon this video and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s such a happy song, this is easy to miss. It is is about loss as much as anything else.
Despite the brightness of the chord progressions, the friendliness of the lyrics, and the comfort of the story, this is a sad song.