Human beings like to sum things up and seal them off. Keeping with tradition I am putting it out there for conjecture that we can sum up artwork into three basic categories, which may overlap, but most pieces can be found in at least one of them.
Expression… to reveal ourselves (if not cryptically).
Entertainment… to be tickled.
The search for meaning… to render clues to existence and our value therein.
Have I forgotten anything? Do comment and let me know, I tend to write these articles either after midnight or before 6am; sometimes without a proper head on my shoulders, so if I am way off, I need to hear about it. To inform could be another lasso, a beautiful hand-drafted map comes to mind, yet when artwork is involved my thought is that the pieces still gravitate quickly to one of the three categories.
Artwork seems predisposed to be quantified and, from my preamble, subject to classification; yet a suitable measuring device for artwork will always elude mankind. In each of us is a patron as well as a critic, and in all likelihood, our differing opinion and interpretation is what keeps this planet interesting.
In Vinegar Hill’s instance one can easily feel a search for meaning stirring about the melodies. But beyond that Johnny helps us to gauge our feelings a little. The measurement can not be divided into sub-units unfortunately, but it is certainly possible to note the sincerity of his presentation. I believe it is this attribute that tangibly raises hairs on the neck and gently moistens the tear ducts.
It is an honor to know Johnny Fields personally. His music is sincere because he is.
I dare not finish this article without mention of Johnny’s wife Elizabeth, who graces the works, openly pulling her bow across the strings and sprinkling magic dust all over the place. Her creative additions to the music, however sincere, render the piece once again quite unquantifiable. And rightly so.
In any event, I would like to present the following video that we might have a common frame of reference to continue the discussion. My friend Johnny Fields heads the folk/rock band Vinegar Hill out of Victoria, Canada. In the Name of the Father is the song title, which can be found on an album soon to be released by the band.