For a middle aged woman like me, it doesn’t get much better than James Taylor singing American the Beautiful at the second inauguration of Barack Obama. It’s up there with chocolate and chardonnay, an afternoon on the Seine and under the covers with my lover.
The simple pleasures. Acoustic. Mellow. Sweet.
Oh, beautiful, for spacious skies
As he delivers that breathless line on the podium in Washington D.C., I feel the expanse of possibility
For amber waves of grain
And the comfort of the familiar
For purple mountain majesty
And the pride of this country, passing leadership peaceably
Above the fruited plain
And the blessings that abound
The name of the Beloved
God shed his grace on thee
This “noble experiment”
And crown thy good with brotherhood
In a place where tolerance thrives
From sea to shining sea.
James finished his tender rendition of America the Beautiful there, but in an interview with Charlie Rose just before the inauguration, he referenced the significance of another verse:
- America! America!
- God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
- Confirm thy soul in self-control,
- Thy liberty in law.
I feel a deep sense of satisfaction inside when a musician whose music has been ministering to me all my life lends his voice on behalf of that which is good and true and enduring.
“I really love this president,” James says. “I love what it says about America, that we were able to elect this man.”
Happy Valentines USA!
(Don’t forget: the State of the Union address, tomorrow night: 2/12/13 Lincoln’s birthday.)
Kelly Salasin, Februrary 2013