Tags: folk


Tribute to Dan Fogelberg: Souvenirs from a Scarecrow’s Dream, Part I

(Note: I have been meaning to finish and post this for 5 month now...I've been a dilatory boy)

Part I: Retrospective

"... Between the worlds of men and make-believe I can be found" - Scarecrow's Dream, 1977

    Sometimes, I believe that it is a great injustice when a person develops an irrefutable association with only a small and superficial portion of their true body of work, only skimming the surface for trinkets above a vast repository of nonpareil treasure. It is common for me to mention Dan Fogelberg in conversation and get one of two responses: "Who is that?" Or "Isn't he the guy who sang that Longer Than song?" At times, I am fortunate enough to hear: "didn't he sing Leader of the Band; Run for the Roses; or Same old Lang Syne?" Four songs, that is all--a catalog of musical and lyrical genius lie undiscovered, eclipsed by just four songs. Though they are excellent in their own right, they should not be the cornerstones that eulogize the relevance and memory of this brilliant man.

    Dan passed away December 16, 2007; like a pebble dropped in the sea, the response was only a small ripple of fleeting news, a paltry reaction to the loss of one of the great unsung troubadours of the 20th century. The singer-songwriter defined and epitomized the best of soft/folk-rock in the 1970s. He had a distinct, tranquil voice underpinned by subtle arrangements, mellifluous instrumentation, and poetic lyrics. His virtuosity shined with every lyrical verse and musical note he shared with the world; it is unfortunate that so few have ever stood in the light of his music. He was adept in crafting songs from a palette of musical styles, though most remember his folk inspired sound, he also excelled at classical, bluegrass, jazz and rock-n-roll--yes Fogelberg knew how to rock. He was eloquent and emotive with his lyrical expression and wrote about much more than just romantic love. Songs ranged in subject matter from tales of life, travels, deep loss, the environment, social commentary, and earthly spirituality. With 15 studio albums (with a posthumous 16th album on it's way), there is an aural cornucopia to internalize and savor; to ponder, remember, and derive exquisite delight.

This tribute will be posted in three different parts over the next few weeks. This first part is Retrospective, the second part is entitled Analysis, and the third and final part is Elegy, which is a poetic tribute to Dan's memory. In the interim, here is a list of just a few of the songs that I really adore, but these barely scratch the surface of my scope and appreciation for his music:

The River - (from Home Free, 1972)

As the Raven Flies - (from Souvenirs, 1974)

Better Change - (from Souvenirs, 1974)

The Long Way - (from Souvenirs, 1974)

The Last Nail - (from Captured Angel, 1975

Scarecrow's Dream - (from Nether Lands, 1977)

Lessons Learned - (from Nether Lands, 1977)

The Last to Know - (from Phoenix, 1979)

Beggar's Game - (from Phoenix, 1979)

Phoenix - (from Phoenix, 1979)

The Innocent Age - (from The Innocent Age, 1981)

In the Passage - (from The Innocent Age, 1981)

The Reach - (from The Innocent Age, 1981)

Empty Cages - (from The Innocent Age, 1981)

Tucson, Arizona (Gazette) - (from Windows and Walls, 1984)

Sutter's Mill - (from High Country Snows, 1985)

Lonely in Love - (from Exiles, 1987)

Forefathers - (from The Wild Places, 1990)

The Spirit Trail - (from The Wild Places, 1990)

Ever On - (from The Wild Places, 1990)

River of Souls - (from River of Souls, 1993)

The Minstrel - (from River of Souls, 1993)

A Voice for Peace - (from River of Souls, 1993)


Coming soon:

Part II: Analysis

Part III: Elegy

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