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Love’s Iterations

Pick a day, any day. Pick a day and look for the love in it. I chose Wednesday.img_1677

Wednesday night I was in a cool little club, with a cozy little crowd, on a bitterly cold night, grooving to a rocking hot performance, and the love count was piling up. Not just the love songs and devoted groupies, although there were plenty of those, what I was noticing was the other love stuff.

AJ Smith is a local boy making it in the Big Apple. He’d come to launch his latest EP. He’s doing what he loves. [ding!] 

We’ve all lost some major music icons in recent weeks, but for AJ, Glenn Frey was also a friend and mentor. With a voice that was tight with emotion — but oh, so sweet — AJ played the first song he’d ever taken to Glenn. He thanked Glenn. I imagine we all did. [ding!]

Road weary, perhaps weather weary as well, AJ’s voice was giving way. He’d pause, chat a bit, clear his throat, move down an octave. It was a tough break on a big night. From somewhere in the crowd, Mom appeared, first with water then with tea. [ding!]

Then a string broke and the improvisation began in earnest. It’s an AJ thing, this improvisation of lyrics and melodies mid-concert. Inventive, attentive, playful — it was clear he’d been very present in the room as he looped in the crowd, the time, the place. You could almost hear the yes, and… in his head. Doing what he loves, loving how he does it. [ding! ding!]

He switched to the electric guitar and amped it up. Way up. I noticed what looked like a fleck of blood on his strumming hand. He kept going. Soon there was blood on the strings, blood on the floor, blood on the keyboard beside him. He kept going. [ding!]  With a dramatic flourish he finished, blood-drenched hand triumphant in the air above him. From somewhere in the crowd, a young woman emerged, pulling a BandAid from her purse. [ding!]

Fingers and voice shredded, AJ took to the keyboard and delivered his final song, a lush and vibrant tribute to place and time. At the end of the concert there were the usual expressions of thanks and appreciation for the audience, the venue, family and friends. But, this time? This time they felt very, very real. [ding! ding! ding!]

Now I die for your love

So let me try to show that I am good enough 

To fight for your love

Please don’t make me die for your love

              — AJ Smith, Die for Your Love

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