By Lisa Burwell
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in Him. - Psalm 40:3
As I sit here and pen my note, I struggle to find my thoughts. We’re going to press tomorrow, and time is not my friend. It seems it isn’t anyone’s friend anymore. Technology makes us work faster and faster, giving us the sense that we’re all getting so much more done. Maybe we are getting more done, but we’re losing something in the mix: rest.
When I need to go into my writer’s zone, I sometimes need to crank some music to get there. Enter the sound track from the movie The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) starring Sean Penn and Timothy Hutton. The album opens with a song that sounds like a glorious choir singing in a cathedral, and then it kicks into high gear with my favorite song, “This Is Not America” by David Bowie and Pat Metheny. I’ve played that song over and over again for decades. It’s loud, and I love it! The mix of the late, great Bowie with jazz fusion icon Metheny is so damn good with its strong pulse, eerie rips, and everything in between. And, now that I think of it, art appears to be imitating life, as the premise of the movie is all about espionage and subterfuge. You get my drift. “This is not America, Shala la la la.”
David Bowie is one of the many great artists we’ve lost, but thankfully his music lives on. In this issue, Bowie shares the stage with Prince, John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, and Freddie Mercury, to name but a few, in managing editor Jordan Staggs’s tribute to the legends, “Memorializing Music Greats.”
I love all genres of music and respect musicians and songwriters to the nth degree. When I first saw Morgan James perform at Seagar’s at the Sandestin Hilton five years ago—the founder of Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Maestro Demetrius Fuller, had brought her to sunny Florida from NYC—I was mesmerized by her beauty and how gracious she was to my father, who came with me to meet her at dress rehearsal. I returned a few hours later for the show, and there she was: a siren with one of the most powerful voices I’d ever heard, standing under a lone spotlight. The ambience of the venue and Morgan’s aura channeled a 1940s jazz club, and I will never forget it. Since then, we’ve become friends and done all sorts of things together, including Morgan donning Christian Siriano gowns at the United Palace Theatre in Manhattan, where we shot a VIE cover with Kristin Chenoweth in October of 2015. (Kristin is another powerhouse and a class act!) Please read about Morgan’s upcoming From White to Blue tour—during which she’ll cover the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and more—in a new article by Tori Phelps.
Thank you to the country duo on our cover, Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, as they allow us to tell the story of their incredible journey and celebrate their new album in “Meant to Be” by Sallie W. Boyles. This is one of my favorite covers. I’ve been told I say that for almost every issue, but I really mean it this time! Bravo, Brian and Tyler!
The song I have in my heart this year is being written as I journey on my path, but it’s one filled with hope, excitement, and anticipation. No matter what comes my way, I will sing it as loudly as I can.