Great Plains / The Stryker-Slagle Band
(Hit the play button in the bottom video before starting to read this blog)
In our nervous, narcisstic culture, nothing seems permanent. There is the Tweet of the day or the hour. Or the news about some celebrity. All quickly forgotten and replaced by the latest Tweet or news. The coming and going of cultural memes these days is a sign of the times. A sound of the times one might say. Heard in the nervous, jerky, unsure music of the moment.
Contrast the current cultural mess with a piece that writes a new, unique prescription for the nervous anxiety of modern culture. A prescription not found at CVS or Walgrens but in the music of the Stryker-Slagle Band and their incredible piece “Great Plains”from their Routes album.
Like a great slithering snake (python) in the grass. Like a great sailing ship of the past.Something grand, moving through the culture of its time. Yet obeying only its own rhythm and not the many others out there. Here, on “Great Plains,” a powerful, steady rhythm with the right mix of brass. For me, there is an image of those grand sailing ships of the past, powered by that grand, supernatural, powerhouse of nature that comes and goes called wind.
Like a grand ship powered by a grand wind across the Great Plains of America. This is what the piece is about in many ways. It attempts to show to the rest of the nation the steady, solid values of the Great Plains through a powerful beat and rhythm combined with a powerful theme music. It is music very different from the nervous sounds of music across the nation these days. This music moves at its own,elegant, pace, drifting through life in a grand manner rather than facing life with anxiety and fear and jagged genres and pieces of music. It listens to the directions of no one else. It alone controls its fate.
The hypnotic beat of the music reinforces the power of something grand within our culture. This “grand” is a great stabilizing force of tradition in an excited modern culture of newness. Modern culture has little sense or interest in the past. It is the future that draws their attention. As such, many minds are drawn to a type of future carnnival of barkers for various ideas. The past is not something the current millennial generation is all that interested in.
But here, in this elegant piece of music, the steadiness and stableness of the past is presented in somewhat the symbol of the Great Plains of America as the stablilizing force in the nation. Here, this great stabilizing force seems embodied in the below song. The piece seems to flow with the grand wind behind a grand, old, sailing ship. The grand masts, the incredible rigging. They were the giants of their era. Nothing could stop them. Nothing could stop their elegance.