Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Every Friday the Song of the Day podcast spotlights local musicians. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters is “Give Me Grace” by LoveLand on the self-released (digital only) album The Beautiful Truth.
LoveLand – Give Me Grace (MP3)
The Beautiful Truth was a labor of love and a vehicle for Seattle music veteran John Spalding (Ninety Pound Wuss, Raft of the Dead Monkeys) to capture the last 10 or so years of his life which included meeting and marrying his wife, Jody, playing music with people he loved, and fighting an un-winnable fight against lung cancer. His recent death has touched many in the music community and beyond and today’s song of the day write up will be in the words of those who knew and worked with John as well as those who are playing benefit concerts to raise money to help Jody and John’s family pay off their medical expenses.
As John struggled to finish this last album, several area musicians stepped in to contribute instrumentation, studio space, support, and talents behind the boards to help John complete this project. One such person was Matt Bayles, mixer, producer, and member of Minus the Bear:
First, thanks to all at KEXP for helping shine a light on John’s life and music. For me, this song is John’s commentary on the injustice of his illness. If you ask anyone (besides perhaps his wife and family) who spent time with him as he became more and more ill, he rarely, if ever, expressed anger or resentment at what he was dealing with. However in this song he expressed what all of us who cared about him felt, “I know I don’t deserve this, lord give me grace.”
–Matt Bayles (mixed & mastered The Beautiful Truth)
Andrea Zollo of Pretty Girls Make Graves was one of the artists who played on the album. She remembers “Give Me Grace” as being one of the last songs he worked on. Even when others were exhausted, John kept going late into the night despite being so winded he could barely speak.
It had gotten so late at night that I had to leave, and I left wondering how he would ever be able to sing with such little lung capacity left, let alone finally finish the song. But of course, with beautiful determination, he did. And when I heard it, that pain and physical struggle was nowhere to be heard. Only beauty, love, and peace.
Many are touched by this song and its gentle pleading for the strength to endure what lied ahead for him.
I love the song “Give Me Grace” in particular because it encompasses so much about his being. His ability to fight something so terrible as an aggressive cancer, the constant poisoning by chemotherapy, the deep pain of knowing he had to say goodbye to his wife and family, facing the terror of his imminent death coming closer and closer- all while maintaining a beautiful energy, graceful composure, a peaceful strength, mercy, forgiveness, encouraging words for others, and radiating a light and love so strong, it was undeniable. These opposing forces make him a true anomaly. Being dealt a hand so ugly and undeserving, yet no matter how angry or upset it could make him, never letting those emotions overtake him. “Love” was more than a mantra for John. He lived it with every inch of his being in the face of disaster. [He was] unable to heal his body, but healed the hearts of all of those around him. Un-fucking-believable.
“‘Give Me Grace” is a beautiful and touching song. His memory will definitely live on through the years,” writes Kerry Zettel (Das Llamas, See Me River). His current band See Me River is one of the many bands who have stepped up to play benefit shows to help John’s wife with their medical expenses. The recent benefit at The Showbox sold out and Minus the Bear, the Cave Singers, Rocky Votalato, and Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive To Death played to an enthusiastic audience that included John’s mom, dad, siblings and even his grandma.
“The Seattle music scene takes care of its peers. I am proud and fortunate to be part of it.”
There are a few more benefit concerts coming up:
Wednesday January 21st at Chop Suey (21+) with Damian Jurado, David Bazan, and See Me River on Sunday, January 25, at The Cha Cha Lounge (21+) with These Arms are Snakes, Elephant Rider, and Weekend, and on Saturday, January 31, at El Corazon (all ages) with MXPX, Amber Pacific, and On the Last Day.
For more information, visit LoveLand’s MySpace page or visit any Bank of America to donate to the John D. Spalding Medical Fund.
I just wanted you to know how thankful I am that KEXP has been so supportive of John’s music; I really wish that he could have lived long enough to hear his songs being played on the radio. Yesterday, Give Me Grace came on while I was driving, and I had to pull over to the side of the road to cry. I really miss him, and it was so nice to hear his voice and comforting to hear his words in the air. John was wise beyond his years and I feel really blessed to have been his friend. I think that his music and words and message will reach a lot of people, and for me it’s amazing to think that his music is a manifestation of his spirit living on in this world.
Photos of the John Spalding Memorial Show at Showbox at the Market on January 10 by Jim Bennett:
Minus The Bear
The Cave Singers
Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death