This is a story that began long, long ago

Partly it’s because a day finally came when I could restack my woodpile and the “wealdy” subject of this song appealed to me. Partly it’s because it’s Easter time and the song touches on resurrection. Mainly it’s because it’s nice to listen to a new singer and song and instantly like them both – something that seems to happen less and less.  Pandora, that reliable venue for discovering new recording artists, came through once again.

And so here you have Elliott Park, whose father (Ernie Park) was an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders, and who was raised in Clyde, Texas (population 3,345). While in college he taught himself to play piano and began to write songs, naming Willie Nelson, Simon and Garfunkel, Roger Miller, the Eagles, and Glen Campbell as influences.

For the next ten years his music career proceeded less than apace … until, he was introduced to Nashville songwriter, Walt Aldridge, with whom he co-wrote “I Loved Her First.” Recorded by the band, Heartland it reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2006. Four years later he released “Flyboy,” his first album, which I downloaded as soon as the shed door was locked.

Now working on his second album, Park is the father of four and seems to have the rather endearing quality of regularly singing to/for/about his wife and kids. As one critic notes, “His lyrics draw you down a pleasant road – into an unpretentious world of honest smiles, open hearts, and a few tears along the way.”

Eclectic and fun, there are half a dozen songs on “Flyboy” that I could have put forth here, and I must concur with his five (!?) Amazon reviewers and 925 Facebook “likes.” As another critic puts it, “His music is a seamless blend of genres presented in an honest and endearing way. Elliott Park’s vocals are weathered and truthful as someone at the end of a pilgrimage. His lyrics are colorful and sometimes odd, but always approachable. His genre is life.”

Nice genre if you can get it.

The Soldier and the Oak

This is a story that began long, long ago

I was a young oak tree in dark Missouri soil

And like all other saplings I had dreams of growing

Strong and tall

But one day a rebel with a bullet in his chest

Hung his rifle on my limbs and laid to rest

And there beside me as the blood soaked to my roots

The soldier sang

A song of grace

The heavy rifle bowed me over to the ground

Two years I stayed this way until the rifle fell

And in this manner for a hundred years I grew

All my dreams

Not meant to be

And then one day two men came with a cross cut saw

They spoke of how my arch would hold a weight so strong

And I feared not the blade for such a worthy cause

And so I fell

I gladly fell

Three winter days aboard a northbound train

Three more beneath the hewer’s careful blade

And while he worked he praised my rich red grain

Perhaps it was the soldier’s blood that day

Now I’m the wooden arch that holds a mighty bell

Three stocks before me cracked but I shall never fail

Up in a tall cathedral high above my dreams

Of long ago

And on Sunday mornings when I hear that sweet refrain

I see the soldier’s face like it was yesterday

Calling angels down from heaven with that hymn he softly sang

Of God’s good grace

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