Some of my earliest memories of listening to music before the age of 10 are of oldies, doo wop, motown, and rock n’ roll from the 50’s and 60’s. The kind of stuff Cousin Brucie would play on 101.1 FM in New York in the 1980’s. By the time I was a teen and started buying my own albums, learning how to play the guitar, and going to see live shows the music that I connected too were bands like Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden.
Exploring the lineage of the Seattle scene and becoming introduced to bands like Mother Love Bone, and Temple of the Dog provided a treasure chest of audible and inspirational material for me. Amongst the many that have help shape my musical approach in my playing and writing, Chris Cornell is one of the artists who stands out the most to me.
While I have great respect for the music and musicians of Soundgarden, it’s some of Cornell’s work outside of the band which I admired most. Temple of the Dog is without a doubt one of my favorite records of all the time. The caliber of songwriting and combination of musicians captured a raw and special moment paying homage to their late friend and bandmate Andy Wood.
It was a handful of songs appearing on soundtracks in the 90’s, that to me embodied some of the best of Cornell’s talent. The song “Seasons” was featured in the movie, Singles from Cameron Crowe. This is Cornell stripped down. An acoustic guitar and his nostalgic and charismatic voice are all the drive this track.
“Sunshower,” is a song featured on the soundtrack to Great Expectations based on the classic Dicken’s novel. The album contains a variety of styles from the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band” to the Scott Weiland solo piece, “Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down.” But it’s Cornell’s masterful creation that provides a seamless backdrop drop to the story and cinematography.
I’m sure the song's meaning and lyrics lie in some story or truth from Cornell’s past. However, as I read back on them they paint a haunting foreshadow of Cornell’s untimely death and late life.
One of things I love best about songs is that when people or places have gone, they still have the ability to come back to life through the memories that bloom through words and music.
“I know all your graces someday will flower in the sweet Sunshower….”