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At home with song

Keeping song alive inside the house. (Supplied photo by Chip Simple)

My father lives alone in a house that is much too large for him.

Fortunately, he has visitors from all over the world, many of whom are traveling musicians. At the peak of its existence the house became more of a public abode than a private one, garnering a reputation for being a twisted sex, booze, music and barbeque-fueled establishment.

It was awesome.

Someone once described it as “Timothy Leary meets the Adams Family” in a modern day, East Coast, version of the Chelsea Hotel.  But, as is only natural in our world, the peak hit its point and began to fall down to earth. The roof started caving in, the pipes would not stop bursting, and my father bid adieu to his youth- trading late nights for early ones. That is not to say the musicians stopped coming- they didn’t. But things turned different. It became quieter.

As necessary as it was for things to cool down, there is something disconcerting to me when I go home now. I sense what I can only liken to death. And so, what I do is sit at the piano, form a chord, put my foot on the sustain pedal, and let the sound fill the downstairs. In a way I feel it is my onus to keep song alive inside the house. I’ve also considered burning it down and letting my father collect the insurance money to pay his debts.

Whatever the case, I owe a lot to that house. It had an influence on which path I took—that of a songsmith (or, at least, an aspiring one). And it’s through song that I, and I think a lot of other people, can find solace.


Owen Steel performs at the Bus Stop Theatre on Oct. 20

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