April 15, 2012

Susie Brown and the JaneDear Girls


The modern world is amazing sometimes. Already young people are taking things for granted that were completely unimaginable when I was their age. One of the reasons that in their naivete they march on Wall Street and demand their student loans be forgiven is because they don't know of a world where Wall Street is so far away it might as well be in a foreign country and a bank loan is a bond more binding than a contract with the devil. The world has changed immensely over the course of my life, and the past decade has been the most tumultuous by far.

About a year ago, this video showed up on YouTube. It featured two young women who I'd never heard of before performing a wonderful country tune about growing up wild and free. I stumbled across it a couple weeks after it went live, liked it immensely, and posted it to Facebook. Since then I've posted it to Twitter and Facebook probably a dozen times. I can't help it. This is one of the most entertaining music videos I have ever seen. It is magical in ways that I'd come to believe the music industry had long forgotten. The old truck, the classical fifties-style clothes, the bluegrass sound, all work together in perfect harmony to carry a story of innocence, fun-loving flirtation, and clean country living.

Now in my day and age professional performers were like divine beings living on an astral plane unapproachable by the common man. I never liked it, but I accepted it because that was just the ways things were. So imagine my shock when I log onto Twitter this morning and find that Susie Brown, the lead singer in the video above, has subscribed to my Twitter feed! In the world where I grew up, that just plain did not happen. It was completely impossible to even imagine a country star of her caliber taking an interest in the random postings of a random fan like me. What an amazing world the internet has created!

Susie Brown's Twitter feed took me to her Facebook page, and her Facebook page took me to her personal YouTube channel. Along the way I learned she's been playing fiddle since she was four, she has mastered five chordophonic instruments, and her mother died of cancer when she was sixteen. Reading about her mother broke my heart. Cancer stories always do. But then I found this on her YouTube channel.

The music a person likes reveals much about that person and an honest performer reveals more about themselves as a person than they sometimes care to admit. John Denver, for example, spent his life an advocate for environmentalism. He also had a love of personal planes and owned several. The paradox of these two divergent issues is something his environmental activism tried to overlook, but it always struck me a bit odd when on the same album one song was talking about the oneness of all creation and the other was talking about flying into the backwoods of Alaska in his own plane. I still love his music though, and I probably always will.

In a similar fashion, when Susie Brown sings this old Judd's song, she's not singing to her grandparents or great-grandparents. Her voice and her body clearly show she is singing to and about her mother. I cannot imagine a greater testimony to a lost parent than to assign them the role of guardian angel. She and her mother must have been very close.

And in the end, that is the most amazing aspect of life in this modern world. We have achieved a level of social cohesion and genuine democracy that Karl Marx and his ilk could never imagine. This world, where a country star stumbles across an ordinary fan's daily life and likes it enough to follow, is far and away the most egalitarian civilization humanity has ever known. This post will be read by people in Finland, Russia, China, Germany, France, Holland, America, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, South Africa, Australia, and dozens of other countries. I know this for a fact because Blogger keeps track of page hits and updates me daily. And now all of those people are going to learn who Susie Brown is, who the JaneDear girls are, and how to follow their career on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

I don't know how many new fans this post will bring them, but I hope it's hundreds!


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