For those in America, Thursday marks Thanksgiving Day, usually a time of joining together with friends and family. For the second straight year, however, many of us remain apart, still isolating our way through this seemingly never-ending pandemic. Optimism earlier this year has turned into a resigned acknowledgement that we still have a long way to go. Early 2022 meetings in the UK and Europe that seemed a distinct possibility for in-person gatherings are looking increasingly doubtful.
As with last year, Thanksgiving will be a bittersweet holiday once again. There’s so much to be thankful for, starting with effective vaccines and new treatments, but we’re still not yet where we want to be nor with everyone we want to be with. This has been a traumatic and difficult period for so many, and we could all use a little relief. If you can, find some time to take care of yourself — you deserve it.
Below find an old favorite, Opelousas (Sweet Relief) from Maria McKee. McKee was the lead singer for a band called Lone Justice, one of the leaders as the Los Angeles punk rock scene morphed into something much greater, encompassing many different types of music, from X and the Go-Go’s to the Blasters, Los Lobos, and Dwight Yoakum, to The Bangles and The Dream Syndicate. Years later the term “Alt. Country” would be invented to describe the kind of music Lone Justice played, a mix of roots-rock, country, and gospel, but at the time we just lumped it all under the term “cowpunk“. Dolly Parton once described McKee as, “The greatest girl singer any band could ever have.”
The song here was written by Victoria Williams, and is from a benefit album titled Sweet Relief. In the early 1990s, Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her musician friends put the album together as a benefit to help pay her medical bills. Since then, the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund has become a support organization for musicians in need.
It strikes me that our non-American readers may be baffled by this post, but I’m not sure which is more confusing, the Thanksgiving holiday or the notion that in America, so many people go broke or die because they can’t afford to pay for the basic human right of medical care. As the man said, “So it goes…”
Regardless, Opelousas is a burst of joy, and for this holiday I wish you all find your own sweet relief. We’ll be back with new posts next week.