If asked, everyone says that they like music. Some however are utterly moved by it: touched with sorrow, driven by rage, shaken to sobs. This is how it affects me and many that I count as friends.

It is not all music that causes such feeling, but a slender fraction that varies with the listener. It is almost universally the music that is sung with emotion truly felt and almost never in the domain of pop. In music, as with so many other forms of artistic expression, that which most like is utterly distinct from that which is liked most.

For me, the passion is most keenly aroused by a particular type of singer-songwriter that surfaced in the nineteen sixties and has since been more scarce. I find that technical skill is mostly irrelevant and sometimes even counterproductive. Indeed, there is much beauty to be heard in the way that a voice breaks and fails when emotion overcomes it. Instead, the greatest assets are a tender, honest voice and a beautiful soul. In the pages to follow, I look briefly at a few with such souls and the shape they have cast upon my own.

Tom Rapp
Phil Ochs
Bob Dylan
David Kipp
Tom Paxton
Tim Buckley
Jeff Buckley
Nick Drake
Nick Cave
Archie Fisher
Leonard Cohen