“I see us in the park/Strolling the summer days of imaginings in my head/
And words from our hearts/Told only to the wind felt even without being said…”
Of course, you know as well as I do that this is “Knocks Me Off My Feet” from the Songs in the Key of Life album. Jarrod got us with that one… and I mean GOT us. Now, I have always loved that song. It and “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” are my two favorite Stevie songs.
But it doesn’t matter whose song he is singing, when Jarrod gets the song, it becomes his own. It doesn’t matter if it is Stevie or Smokey, he takes the great original and works it his way. Even if it is a John Lennon song, Jarrod breathes his own life into it. Be it blues, funk, rock or gospel; everything he touches turns to soul.
Liv Warfield called him “the truth.” If truth is the unrelenting exposure of one’s heart, if truth is the bare bulb that elicits confession of heart-break, and if truth is proclamation of our place in the world, then indeed Jarrod Lawson is “the truth.” And I’m not lying.
But back to the Stevie Wonder song… After hearing J-Law (Jarrod) on that first night, and many nights to follow, singing “Knocks Me Off MY Feet” we were changed by his treatment. Instead of the song being about Stevie singing to his woman, it became about how I feel about my wife. In fact, when my wife and I listened to Songs in the Key of Life several days ago, we looked at each other and said, “Sorry, Stevie.” We concluded that Jarrod’s version was more about us and for us. “The Truth” had given us a better version.
As we talked about it, we both had the same impression that nothing would please Stevie Wonder more than to have one of his songs developed, improved, personalized, call it what you will, by a young master like Jarrod Lawson.
It was like Bob Dylan said about Jimi Hendrix’ version of “All Along the Watchtower.” Bob said, “I wish he had done them all. All my songs were his.” I would like to send Stevie a recording of The SoulMates’ performance and I can imagine his smile. He would call it a success.
As Jaybird always says, “We’re gonna join you for some cocktails then be back after a break.”
And so will I…
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