Still recuperating on sleeplessness from days of travel, but I thought I’d share this little tidbit from our family reunion this weekend. I have a strong affection for all my cousins, but I’ve always felt an especially strong bond with a few in particular. One of them is Hunter Kofford, the 13-year-old sister of Cooper, who, as many of you readers know, was the young boy who passed away two weeks ago.
Hunter has been Lucy’s heroine almost since birth, when Lucy began listening to my mom’s album of children’s music. Hunter’s voice has been crystal-clear – with stunning placement – since she was tiny, and she sings lead on about eight of the songs. Lucy regards her as rock royalty.
Lucy and Hunter strike a pose last summer, September 2008
We always have a talent show at these reunions, and Hunter asked me to play guitar to Corinne Bailey Rae’s song Put Your Records On – of course I said sure, even though I’d only heard the song once before, while using the miter saw in the barn about two years ago. With five minutes until the show, we found an empty room and tried it. I definitely sounded like shit the first time through. Hunter even said it wasn’t a big deal, we didn’t have to do it, but there was NO WAY that I could possibly let her down. If you could have seen her face, and if you knew Hunter, and everything that has happened over the last few weeks… we had to pull it off.
After hearing the chords, I recognized them as the same funky E7 things I’d always loved. Then my brother Kent reminded me what the C#7 looks like when you’re not in a hurry, and that’s all we needed. With three minutes practice, we went downstairs and nailed it in front of a hundred family members.
I mean, it’s a little thing, getting a few chords right. But Hunter sang it so beautifully, this simple little jazz riff with a languid, open feeling. How can you sing these lines…
Three little birds sat on my window
And they told me I don’t need to worry.
Summer came like cinnamon so sweet,
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete
… a week after burying your little brother? I’m just glad I was there and could do something, a few sloppy changes on a 3/4ths-size guitar. You have to hand it to our family, while others face the music with tragedy, we’ve always faced tragedy with music. There isn’t a single life event that doesn’t come with a program, and I can’t imagine it any other way.
Kent recorded us doing the song, and managed to take out the sounds of ambient motor homes and squealing kids. He added some reverb, and voilà… you can listen to it here. Not bad for a couple of white kids sitting on a Barcalounger with a few minutes’ practice.