I could say that the journey I'm on began the moment I was born, or perhaps long before that, but I know I'm not on it alone. There's that crazy and ever persistent universe, a catalyst or two, and certainly in the mix is the music of Francis Dunnery.
Two nights ago I found myself on Staten Island, sitting in a candlelit living room in a house built in 1864, listening to Dunnery play his guitar. I told Francis that before I heard his album, The Gulley Flats Boys, I was under the impression I was a perfectly happy and contended person. But I was pulled to the music almost magnetically and played the CDs so often that they eventually wore out and had to be replaced. It was the beginning of an awakening, I was opening in ways that took me by surprise and in ways I didn't feel prepared for. I was compelled to step back in time and when I did I couldn't help but look forward. And when I looked forward I knew there was only one way for me to go, and that was up and out of the life I was living.
Eventually The Gulley Flats Boys made its way onto the shelf, taking its place like a favorite Beatles album that served me well. I'd listened to it ten thousand times but what more could it offer? Surely there were no surprises hidden there. But two nights ago in that big old house, Dunnery played the songs again, and while lightening bolts flashed across a black New York sky, the thunder called out in response as if orchestrated beforehand and timed to a tee.
Francis Dunnery is a master and a servant, and with each story he shared, with each song he sang, he handed out gifts. Thankfully, as I sat in the front, just off to the side, I received every one of them.
"I'm riding on the back of a giant bird. Bigger than you, bigger than me." ~Francis Dunnery