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