John Prine and Bonnie Raitt: Angel from Montgomery

Written by Amanda Lynn Bottoms

Mezzo-soprano

In category: Song of the Day

Published August 28, 2018

In times of joy, in times of chaos, in times of celebration and in times of sorrow, we thrust ourselves into the realm of music. A balm for the soul, music provides a solace that is irreplaceable. Cue my travel from Buffalo to Orient that proved to be a scene cut straight from Dante’s Inferno. Rather than completely going off the rails about a 8 hour commute turned into a 20+ hour nightmare, I decided to plug in my headphones and make the best of the situation with the help of Spotify.

For me, one of the great beauties of music lies in its memory association. Like a strong perfume, the right verse of a song can throw us so vivdly into the past that it becomes the present moment and we are shook to our core. As top 40 hits blared into my earbuds I tried to muster up a smile and ration my water but felt unendingly anxious until the opening bars of “Angel from Montgomery”.

I hadn’t had much interest or knowledge of this song beyond its artists and hearing it at random times, until this summer. Though it isn’t particularly profound, dodging attempts to make grand poetic gestures, and instead offering constant references to the simplicity of a girl just seeking a cowboy and a rodeo poster, therein lies the glory. “There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ’em there buzzing and I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.” The simplicity of this song, leaning back and accepting the moments of peace and quiet that this world offers, reminded me of my first trip to Orient in 2015 when it came up in the Cafe Corner playlist—a time when I needed a place to teach me who I was and how to embrace the small, simple pleasures, how to truly inhale the ocean and enjoy that guilty slice of pie—and suddenly my worries went away. I tapped the repeat button and allowed John Prine and Bonnie Raitt to heal my soul for the next hour as I zoomed off to my own slice of paradise and its angel—Orient and my dear Steve.

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Acclaimed by The New York Times as “excellent” with “smooth tone”, and “captivating” (Huffington Post), Greek-African American mezzo-soprano Amanda Lynn Bottoms is a rising Philadelphia based opera singer. She is a member of the Curtis Institute of Music 2017-2019 Opera Theater roster as a Professional Opera Studies Certificate candidate. Ms. Bottoms has performed with NYFOS on numerous occasions, including galas, Emerging Artist, After Hours and Mainstage series concerts.

Selected posts in the Song of the Day category

1 Comment

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    Dear Amanda, what a joy to read this post. This song was the very first one I ever learned to play on guitar and sing. Over the years it’s come to mean so much more to me, much as El Quijote means something different as one ages and reads the spaces between the lines. “To believe in this living…” Thanks for this sensitive post about a song and for posting one of the great duets of all time.

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