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Cool, Freaky, True Judgement of Friend’s Song… Or, An Accidental Blind Taste

December 13, 2012
bradspurgeon

Emma Bergmann

Emma Bergmann

I had this really neat thing happen to me over a couple of weeks period, and I am just getting around to writing about it now on the blog. Emma Bergmann, a friend of mine whom I have met at open mics, and whose performances I have always enjoyed – in fact, we even performed together once or twice if my alcohol-tinged memory is not deceiving me – sent me a low quality mp3 recording of a song she had just written and recorded. The recording was not meant to be anything definitive, just a recording to see how the song sounded. The song was called, “I’ll Take the Long Way Home,” and I think maybe Emma wanted to hear what my reaction was to the lyrics and who knows….

Anyway, so I listened to the song, and I very much liked it. In fact, I wrote her a message that looked very much like some kind of love-struck, over-exaggerating guy on the make…. “ahhhhhhh that voice…. it makes me want to cry …. and fall in love….” (I translate my response that was actually written in French.) “It is a very beautiful song… and also, your accent is so perfect that you cannot even tell you are actually French….”

Now, given that Emma is a beautiful, striking actress in addition to singer, and given that she is a friend at the open mics, you and I myself, could imagine that I was really exaggerating. In fact, Emma could easily be excused if she had thought that same thing herself. I did then tell her that even my son – more her age than me – who was standing behind me asked me who this interesting sounding singer was. Proof of something great, right?

Still, who knows? I knew her personally, liked her, and always found her quite beautiful. Clouded emotional stuff was sure to be part of the judgment. So, fast forward a couple of weeks later when the song and Emma were far from my mind. I was listening to an Elliott Smith album I own on my iTunes, playing it over my computer in the living room, while eating breakfast in the kitchen, at around my usual breakfast hour of 3 PM. (Thank you open mics.) While I am eating and reading the morning newspaper, suddenly I hear the sublime voice of a woman singing from my iTunes. At the risk of my Special K going soggy, I had to get up out of my chair and go into the living room to find out who the singer was.

Here is the recording that Emma sent me: Emma Bergmann Sings

I knew it was on my iTunes and I went into the living room with the attitude: “Sure, of course I know who this famous singer is. I have listened to it pretty recently…it was either on one of those CD compilations of new music from Uncut, Mojo or the French magazine Rock & Folk, or maybe it was on another compilation CD I have. I know it is one of these amazing new singer songwriter women of the moment, breaking the indie charts and taking up ink space in the music mags….”

So I get into the living room, feeling really ashamed of myself that my memory is so useless on the names of some of the finest singers of the moment, and I look at the name and title on iTunes. Even then I say to myself, “Huh? Emma Bergmann…who is…SHIT!” I know Emma more by another part of her family name, and I was suddenly stunned to realize that this really cool, hip, sublime voice and sound was actually that of my friend Emma. Because I DID know her, and because I DID like her, when she had sent me the recording a couple of weeks earlier, my judgement was insecure, clouded, but nevertheless probably true. Just how true it was I could not realize until I’d forgotten about her and the song and had a kind of “blind taste” of the music. And at that point, I realized that Emma’s song and voice really were great; and from the kitchen to the living room, I had not even been surprised about the quality of the recording.

Maybe music critics should have “blind tastes” of even the established names – although in most cases they would probably recognize the vocals and sound better than I did Emma’s. Maybe if we’re all lucky, that state of affairs about Emma won’t last for long. Check out the recording she sent me yourself, that I have pasted in above, and see what you think. Of course, now YOU will be influenced by my glowing review!!! Personally, I see no problem doing what iTunes did, jumping from Elliott Smith to Emma Bergmann…

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