Kiss a sunset pig – why singer-songwriters dream about home
I’ve been wondering why so many singer-songwriters want to go home. Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King – these are just a few on the current rotation of notnicolajames who sing about home in one way or another.
You absolutely need to listen to wonderful Joni Mitchell, who wants to go home to “California”. The Canadian-born singer moved to the West coast of the U.S. early in her career, and every time she travels to Paris, Spain or Greece, she thinks about home.
Carole King even doubted she would ever make it home again. The singer-songwriter is originally from NYC but lived in various parts of the U.S. On her album Tapestry she hopes to be “Home Again” soon.
James Taylor sings about North Carolina (where he was born) without mentioning the word “home”, but the song has the same feel. If you listen to the live version of the song you can hear him explaining that he was in Spain when he wrote the song, and he was very homesick. Whenever he’s away from home, in his mind he’s going to Carolina, where he can feel the moonshine, see the sunshine. Carolina is like of friend of his.
Suicidal tendencies away from home
According to singer-songwriters, being away from home is so horrible it could make anyone feel suicidal:
Just life-on-the-road self-pity?
I can imagine many reasons for singing about home. Some surely have to do with traveling, missing friends and family. No one wants to be with strangers as Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel sing. Joni wants to “to see the folks I dig”. Carole King needs “someone to talk to”. So this would fall under the category homesick as we all know it. Listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound”:
For musicians there’s obviously the constant touring which makes you think of home, and, as the Guardian put it, expressing “life-on-the-road self-pity”.
Next: But is it just about being homesick? Isn’t home also about letting your guard down, and feeling accepted? Look out for my next post where I discuss if you can only really be yourself when you are at home.
(Header illustration generously provided by my artist friend Kripa Joshi.The picture is called “Transport for London”.)