“How can someone find me if no one knows I’m lost?” – You Dreamer, Big Country
If Stuart Adamson – the former frontman of my favorite band Big Country – were still alive, today would be his 50th birthday. But he died alone in a hotel room 7 years ago, in an apparent suicide while on an alcoholic binge, in the wake of his 2nd divorce. It’s an unfortunate aspect of human nature that the most creative and talented among us are more often than not tortured souls. As Wikipedia puts it, “In many ways, Adamson was the sound of Big Country, supplying much of its distinctive guitar work, as well as being lead singer and main songwriter (both music and lyrics). In terms of being an instrumentalist, a vocalist, and a prolific songwriter, he is matched by very few contemporaries…”
I wrote a post about his guitar skills and songwriting a couple years ago, so I won’t repeat myself here. Instead I’ll link you to two remarkably different live versions of The Storm, one of my favorite Big Country songs. I love the epic sweep of the lyrics. They capture a compelling sense of grim determination in dark times. The scene of communal loss conjured up by the song is timeless – it’s a story that could have taken place a thousand years ago or yesterday. And the guitar work is pretty cool too (I remember my college roommate being flummoxed by all the chord changes as he tried to figure out how to play it).
The first is an acoustic version, and the second is an electric guitar version (note the second one doesn’t really get going until about two minutes in).