February 14 went from clandestine handwritten expressions of love and desire to mass-produced greeting cards. For some, it is a day to spend with loved ones exchanging winged-cupid symbols or confectioneries. For others, it is a day when heartbreak and heartache resurfaces.
The truth: Love and desire have been a preoccupation for men throughout generations, inciting the great thinkers to probe into the recesses of these passions in hope to better understand their true nature. The ancient Greek philosophers were especially drawn to understanding love, for they saw their desire for wisdom as comparable to eroticism.
The questions concerning love and desire most likely go way passed antiquity perhaps appearing at the moment life began. So alluring is the subject that treatises on love appear throughout history sometimes uniting love and desire, other times separating the two. But philosophical contemplation and treaties are unpoetic and do not move most people most deeply.
Music -- on the other hand -- integrates the acts of loving and gives us a broad view, a deep view about our hearts and is apropos to the Valentine sentiment. And this may sound like an odd segue into country music, but the hallmark of country is living the good ol' life of the singer, including their explicit pleasures or vices. Most prominent hard country female singers like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette broke ground for other females to pursue their own paths. But the love song was/is never lost to a good ol' country singer. And this includes the cute, honest country voice of Heidi Howe whose addiction to loving the good and the bad are displayed on her new album.
The songs, which are complemented by mandolin, fiddle and guitar, are lyrically and vocally simplistic. Be Good starts off with "Kind of Crazy." The song reenforces the notion that there is that one soul out there in the universe that is just like you. And this union of two creates the third entity where all the crazy stuff seems to work. The message is large, for we all yearn for that special person with that same kind of crazy to share our lives.
But, sometimes when that special kind of somebody comes along, your heart may have figured out how to do without love. The second track, "Ruin Me," gracefully portrays that moment when someone breaks the wall down and dares you to love them. "Stand" gives a shout-out to June Carter and Johnny Cash for being that great love story that teaches one to let your man stand -- on his own.
The album's a good listen. Perhaps suited for that day when we are unwrapping chocolate hearts or reading sweet greeting cards or are still looking for that same kind of crazy.
You can listen to Heidi Howe's album Be Good on BandCamp.