Part of this process we are all going through, usually categorized under the label “being human,“ consists of those moments when we take stock of the situation, look around, look up, look within, and admit certain things hurt like hell but we’d just as soon not talk about them with anyone. It’s not that we are totally averse to the notion of seeking advice and comfort from others. Rather, it is either not wishing to burden those already carrying their own burdens with further difficulties, or a sudden flash of self-awareness that other people, in fact, also hurt and they’re tired of listening to you whine all the time like you’re the only person who’s got issues. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; pity party, and you pity party alone.
There is a third possibility: you simply don’t want to talk about it, no matter how deep the pain, because discussing things is the emotional equivalent of tearing a bandage off very, very slowly just to prove there’s a wound underneath. You know it’s there. Whether the world sees it is immaterial. It’s real, and it’s not that spectacular. It hurts like it is, though.
Still, it’s good to find some kind of commiseration. There is solace in knowing that others know, or have known, what we’re going through. We might not want to talk about it, but we wouldn’t mind hearing from others who are willing to talk about it. We know we are not alone, but we’d still like some reassurance we’re not the only one hurting.
Enter Mike Roe.
Roe, be it with his band The 77s or solo, has carved a path in Christian rock for naked honesty trumping needless homilies. In addition to possessing guitar skills legitimately placing him alongside such blues and rock legends as Eric Clapton, Roe is an amazing songwriter in two distinct genres: shimmering guitar pop and earthy blues/rock. That he is not feted as rock royalty is near criminal, but Roe perseveres. And he talks about the things we’d often rather not: divorce, alienation, loved ones dying.
Lately Roe has carried a heavy burden, taking care of his father as he has steadily drawn closer to the end of his days on this earth. Like most every other Christian rocker from back in the day, Roe is anything but independently wealthy, and needing to focus on his dad’s needs instead of making a living with his music has taken a toll. Thus the title of this post: you help him by buying some downloads and perhaps a CD or two, Roe and company bless you with their musical and lyrical gifts.
Ah, but where to begin — for that matter, where to find out what Roe and the 77s sound like? I’ve assembled a suggested playlist covering some of Roe’s gritty and graceful highlights. Each song title links to the band’s Bandcamp page where you can listen and buy, with one exception that’s not presently available but will be later this year. I had written descriptions for some of the songs, but I’ve discarded them as unnecessary. Just listen. You’ll get it.
The playlist is also available on YouTube.