For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I am a big Led Zeppelin fan, although I love virtually all musical styles and genres.  But I have read about and listened to this band’s music since I was in my teens, gaining much enjoyment from them over the years and even learning from their music.  In fact, I have practiced guitar for going on five years, following the musical style of Jimmy Page, and I can, at present, play a few of their songs just like the original version, including their magnum opus “Stairway to Heaven.”  If you have heard their music, you’ll know what diversity, skill, and creativity they had.  They were an amazing culmination of talent, all virtuoso musicians while they were still young men.  Jimmy Page had been one of the lead guitarists in the Yardbirds who were very successful at the time, but he had too much talent and ambition to play second-fiddle to Jeff Beck.  So he formed his own supergroup where he could experiment with the many musical influences that he had gained over his life, much of it based in American “blues” music that he and the other band members had come to enjoy.  In fact, the soulful, plaintive sound of the blues formed the foundation for the music of many of the early rock and roll groups such as the Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

Blues, in its turn, was based in the musical traditions of slaves brought from Africa during a very regrettable period of American history.  Slavery certainly did not fit into the American ideal of freedom and equality for all, so it was inevitable that there would come a day of reckoning over the brutal, un-American institution.  In spite of the tremendous disadvantage that black people had early in our country’s history, however, they have made an undeniably tremendous impact on our culture in so many ways, but music constitutes one of the greatest influences that black people have had.  They laid the foundations for blues and jazz, which formed the foundation for many of our modern musical styles.  Of course there are other cultural traditions that influenced music in America.  The sounds of bluegrass and country have their roots in folk music from the motherlands of America’s early settlers, primarily Scotland and Ireland.  You can see and hear this musical influence strongly among the people living in the Appalachian mountain range in the southern United States which is where bluegrass and modern country music originated.  Music is so central to the Southern-American tradition and experience.

Music was also very important to many British youth growing up in the 50’s and 60’s (as it was for American youth), leading to the forming of so many great British bands.  In addition to learning from American blues in his youth , Page also studied various folk tunes that he had heard or learned in his younger years in England.  He pulled all those various influences together into an incredibly creative amalgamation of musical expression.  But he came about his skills the old fashioned way, putting in many yeoman’s hours in the studios, playing for other people’s musical projects.  This gave him such broad and deep experience in how the guitar can and should be played.  Moreover, he learned about the interplay of sound in the studio that led to many of his experiments on their albums about what could be done with music.  My first taste of this wonder-group was in my teens in suburban Georgia.  I still remember how amazed I was to hear this incredibly creative music, subsequently inspiring me and encouraging me at so many times in my life.  It is hard to underestimate the impact of music on people.  It is a gift from God, intended to bring us joy.  It is not “the devil’s music.”  Granted, there are some groups who push the envelope a bit far, putting violent, sexual, or Satanic lyrics into their music.  I will have nothing to do with these performers, but their shortcomings do not prohibit me from enjoying the multitude of other groups that produce good, uplifting, and worthwhile music.  God made music.  But like so many of the gifts that God gave us, they should be enjoyed within certain parameters so that they do not negatively influence our minds and our character development, nor do they disparage other people or God Himself. 

I pray that you are able to appreciate music and the many other gifts that God gave us so that you will live the abundant life that God intended for you.    

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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