Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I picked up the latest Warren Zevon CD, The Wind, after I had heard a touching interview with his son on NPR. Zevon is best known for wacky hits like "Werewolves of London," and "Lawyers, Guns, and Money." The CD was composed and produced rapidly as Zevon's last project; doctors gave him approximately three months to live after diagnosing him with terminal cancer. This was more than three months ago, and Zevon is still here with us. I was intrigued by it not only from a personal, music-lovin' stance, but also from a professional one...I wanted to hear what a hospice patient would sing to me.

I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I was inspired, I was saddened, and by the end of the CD, I was drained-much like the feelings I feel when I visit the patient as he or she dies. From a hospice perspective, the CD is a metaphor for the dying person's journey. Zevon starts out by reviewing his life in such tracks as "My Dirty Life And Times," and "El Amor De Mi Vida." From there we hear him rally on "The Rest of The Night" ("Why stop now? Let's party for the rest of the night...You wanna go home? Why, honey? When? We may never get this chance again!") and you hear him fight a losing battle on sonngs with titles like "Rub Me Raw," "Numb As A Statue," and "Prison Grove."

But the two songs that hit on the gut level have to Zevon's cover of the Dylan megaclassic, "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," and a very tough-on-the-ears lament called "Please Stay" in which Zevon pleads to whomever is listening not to be left alone. This phrase has been uttered an infinite amount of times to a hospice nurse. To hear it set to music with a beautiful melody and Emmylou Harris on background vocals gives me chills.

In case you wanna know more about how Warren Zevon is doing these days, the liner notes provided a website. Also, do yourself a favor and pick up The Wind, as well as the other multitude of CDs Zevon has put out. Good stuff.

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