Becky Buller’s new album, “Distance and Time” scheduled to be released late October, captures my melancholy feelings surrounding the months of autumn. The season represents immense change, light versus darkness and according to Chinese tradition, sadness as well as courage. It’s not an easy time of year for me, but “Distance and Time” makes the pain a little less overwhelming.
The chorus of “Don’t Look Back” is an excellent reminder. “Don’t look back. Don’t look back. Don’t look back. The road you’re traveling is a one-way track. Got to look to the future cause you can’t change the past. Make the most of what you’re living and don’t look back.” Seven years ago, my entire existence was altered. I struggled with the ‘should of,’ ‘could of,’ ‘would have’s,’ re-emphasized in Buller’s instrumental interlude, until finally realizing I had to move forward. I needed to come to terms that “We Let Each Other Go.” (Although his ‘letting go’ was much more extreme than any normal break-up.) The tenderness in Buller’s voice and her long, sustained notes illustrate the complicated emotions when grabbling with a failed partnership. Her fiddle gently tugging at my still broken heart. “We let each other go. Let each other live and love again. How I don’t know. We let each other go.” Our relationship started off strong, like they usually do. Unfortunately, his darkness, in the form of despair, overtook the goodness. “All I needed was distance and time. Further I can get away, more I can see we choose what was right.” The nod to the album’s title hangs heavy on my mind. I didn’t select the outcome, but it is accurate. Nevertheless, I can’t forget the grief that plagued me. I was left behind trying to make sense of something incomprehensible. All while it seemed “Life Gets Up and Gets Gone.” Buller fuels the overpowering sadness I couldn’t escape during that period with her high-pitched, fast paced, skillful playing. “Life gets up and gets gone. Racing on and over me.” I wondered how I would ever reclaim joy, returning to some resemblance of normalcy.
“We are stardust, we are golden and we got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Buller initiates Joni Mitchell’s song, “Woodstock” famously performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with resolute picking. There is no nonsense in her bluesy, invigorating version. Buller also brings flickers of Mitchell while adding her own radiant, rhythmic vocal patterns that run uninhibited up and down the scale. The tune’s lyrics compares the festival with the Garden of Eden, a place of innocence, peace and ultimate contentment. For me the song has always been incredibly uplifting. It symbolizes absolute delight and freedom, reflecting the emotions music as well as concerts have always inspired. A show was also what provided me the courage to reenter the world because, “we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
“I stuck my head out. I caught the raindrops. I drank the water. I felt my veins block. I am nearly sanctified. I’m nearly broken. I’m down the river. I’m near the open. I’m down the river to where I’m going.” Through “More Heart Less Attack” I forgave myself. I realized change is inevitable. I recognized both the good and bad. I cried more than I thought was possible. Eventually with newfound courage, I accepted the reality. Buller’s extraordinary album exposed with “Distance and Time;” I not only reinvented myself, but I really like who I have become.