In 2020 – as the pandemic took a little summer break and polish officials allowed to organize small outdoor concerts, I went to Opole to my beloved Songwriters Festival. Two days of fun came to close with an outstanding concert of Sean Nicholas Savage who performed in a rather small tent during an enormous storm having only his backing tracks as a company. And even though the world seemed to fall apart for a moment, the gathered crowd couldn’t take their eyes and ears from Sean who owned the stage like he was born on it. Truly a magical performance. This week he’s coming back. This time with a band and visiting not only Opole, but also Warsaw and Poznań weeks before the premiere of his next album – “Shine”. Is there a better time to ask about his favourite music? I don’t think so!
Music that reminds you of home
Billy Bragg – A New England /Back To Basics/
When I was a kid, my dad played Billy Bragg a lot in the truck, and i always loved it. As I grew up, I inherited a few cassettes. The minimalism on the early albums, the political poetry and passionate one take performances left a big mark on me.
I was also born in England actually, although we moved back to Canada when i was very young, and i am exclusively a Canadian citizen.
Music that you chill to
Eric Serra – The Big Blue Overture /Le Grand Bleu Soundtrack/
Sometimes i listen to scores in my flat. I also listen to classical music a lot, but if i have a friend or two over, i might put on a score. Scores are narrative supportive and non invasive by design. I like how some of the melodic themes will return, and they’re usually without lyrics, which is appropriate when people are in conversation. “The Big Blue” is a great one, it’s laid back, but pretty uplifting and good all the way through. I might chill to this. Absolutely beautiful movie as well OMG.
Music that reminds you of your first love
The Stone Roses – (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister /The Stone Roses/
There was this summer when I was just twenty or so, i had my own room in a house I was renting and a job, and I was seeing someone I was really in love with. And I was sad too, but I felt like really free in a sense that I had grown up or something, although in reality I had much growing to do. This album, and this song in particular reminds me of waking up in the morning with someone I was in love with for the first time in my life. I’m sure we did actually listen to this together in bed in the morning a few times.
An album that you wish you had done
Alice Coltrane – Jagadishwar /Turiya Sings/
It’s not about the sound or something, although i think this is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard for certain. I wish that one day I may make music like this in terms of its spiritual process. The deep emotional and calming serenity of this music, it’s improvisational, basically channelled mantras, melodically totally free, and so human in their drama, so empathetic. I wish to one day reach a point of being able to have this relationship with music, with life. To go to my own version of this place that Alice Coltrane went to.
Music that convinced you to be a musician
The Smashing Pumpkins – Thirty-Three /Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness/
This would have been the first CD that I owned. I don’t remember ever deciding to become a musician, but I was really interested in creating things from the very beginning, and I listened to “Mellon Collie” religiously in my room. It’s an incredibly creative double album, with lyrics included. It took me all kinds of places I’d never been, and I think inspired me a great deal to explore on my own. The song “Thirty-Three” is one of my favourite songs ever.
An ear worm that comes back to you most often
Bullion – Blue Pedro /Blue Pedro/
I think this song and the video is just a master work. It’s too perfect. It’s got that spinning hyper active celtic circular melody. It pops into my head often these days when i’m shaking my leg or slapping my thighs in anticipation of life.
The most important album of your life
Artur Rubinstein – Chopin Prelude, no. 17, op. 28 in a flat /Chopin 24 preludes/
This is bar none, the most important piece of music in my life. I heard “Raindrops” or “Prelude, op 28, no. 15” when I was really young, as it was a demo on my cousins family room electric piano. I started listening actively to Chopin in about grade 9 and it changed me musically. It took me into another time, into the true time, into my dreams, into the tragedy of life, and the beauty, and most of all, this piece, it feels like my soul, it knows my soul better than I do, and I worship this music. Artur Rubinsteins version here is not perhaps my very favourite interpretation, but it is a solid record and has the other preludes on there that have great sentimental value to me, so this is the album I’ll recommend for hearing that.
Music that reminds you of the happiest moment in your life
John Williams – Welcome to Jurassic Park /Jurassic Park Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/
The way the world feels in the best Steven Spielberg films of this time, the music of John Williams, and especially this particular song “Welcome to Jurassic Park”, made me feel like I was on the adventure of a lifetime, and the thing is, I still feel like I am. I still listen to this music regularly too and I hope that I always will. There’s nothing else like it for me, it’s tied to a lot of times and feelings. When I think of happiness though, this is what comes to my mind.
The best album of 2022 so far
Fishbach – Dans un fou rire /Avec Les Yeux/
I cannot believe that this album came out this year. I do not understand french, though I have translated the words and read along this overflowing poetry. There is an emotional wisdom I feel is beautiful and comforting throughout the music of Fishbach. In the moods, and the performance, and in the lyrics. “Dans un fou rire”, the opening song, is a triumph.
If you’re somehow in Poland, go see Sean Nicholas Savage on:
photo: Arianna Molly