Jim Dawson - Brought Me Back from My MIA Status

It has been over three weeks since last I posted on this blog and before I get into the reason I'm back, I will explain why I've been MIA. The easy explanation is that I've been busy and not online as frequently as is my usual state of being. That's the easy answer. The not so easy answer harks back to early childhood, continuing right up to today, as per my therapy sessions with Diane would suggest. This is to say that when the child is in a position where he or she (generally this would be she) feels compelled to "mother" the parent, because the parent never got the "mothering" she needed, then the child grows up seeking the nurturing, that which is the birthright of every child, and getting from her parents the message that she is good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, that she is seen and heard and appreciated for who she is, nothing more, nothing less. So, the child, having never gotten her birthright, seeks this, but never feels she gets it. She is always looking for it in the eyes of those around her and she depends on their assessment of her. What she doesn't realize, until she finds someone like Diane to bring it to her attention and integrate it into her belief system, is that she will never find it until she herself learns to see and undertstand what she needed as a child and didn't get, then perhaps becomes angry, but ultimately forgives those who did not/could not give it to her. Only then can she learn to become the nurturing, loving, compassionate, rewarding, non-judgmental Mother to her own child, who still, at the rarefied age of (gulp!!!) 54, lives within her. Then, and only then, will she feel good enough and no longer need to seek seeing herself though the eyes of others.

So, what does all this have to do with why I am back and with Jim Dawson (and if you're reading this, you may be asking WHO IS Jim Dawson, but you know I will get there eventually)? I went to see Jim in concert tonight (more on this later) and the reminiscence of the evening, as well as what he expressed in his verbal ramblings between songs and the lyrics to the songs themselves, old and new, brought me to the following self-query and realization. Why do I feel that I have to write this blog for others to read and then when there is no one or very few someones, reading it, become disheartened and even insulted, questioning why other bloggers have readers and I don't, and concluding that my blog and what I have to say and the way I express it, is of little value and not appreciated. The realization that I don't occured to me. If I enjoy writing it and I like looking back on it as a journal of sorts and I get reinforced by my effort and I love looking at the pictures, as well as the words, all of which I do, then having readers would be like the icing on the cake, but readers or not, the substance of the cake is still there. Thus, I am here. I'm back!

So, who is Jim Dawson and why should you care? In 1975, I had just graduated with my Masters Degree in Speech Pathology from Wichita State University, in, obviously, Wichita, Kansas, the near exact center of these United States. New York City, it was not, but then having gone to Syracuse University undergraduate, I was ready, willing and enthusiastic to get away from all that was New York Metropolitan. This I found in Wichita. I found people who had never in their lives met a Jewish person and I loved it. I was the special guest at my own party (my favorite thing to be!) People were interested in me because of my differences and my background and this made me noticed and needless to say, I enjoyed that. I also appreciated the friendliness and hospitality and like they say, "down-homeness" of the Mid-West. Having said all that, after a year and a half of being the one and only person in the movie theater, watching The Way WE Were, catching the inuendos and identifiying with Barbara,rather than Robert, I realized I may be ready to return to the East Coast, which was a good thing, since my first job turned out to be in Providence, RI.

Of course I brought with me to RI, the angst of being an "adult" (24 years old to be exact)who still felt like a child and a "Professional" who not only still felt like a student, but wanted nothing more than to remain a student for the rest of her days. I'd been successful as a student and I was sure that I would never be that in the professional world (in fact, it was many, many years until I did feel that success, but that's another story for another time.) So, I trudged through that first year of my first professional job, pretending to be the "expert" and feeling like a fraud, living in a city that I really liked, Providence, near another city that I liked even more, Boston, but where the friends I'd managed to make at work, mostly all quit within that year. So, loneliness and insecurity, and well, knowing that I was not good enough, pervaded much of my time in RI. Music has always played a major role in my life and songs, as much as any scent, can bring me right back to another place and time. I can not remember how I came across him, but probably I heard Jim Dawson on the wonderful Boston radio station which played new singer/songwriters, even way back then. I went right out and purchased his LP called, Jim Dawson. Many of his lyrics "spoke to me", but none more than those in the song, "Until I Find Someone" (which he was good enough to play tonight, upon my request, even though he probably hadn't played it in ages and the lyrics were not all that familiar at this point and though it didn't hit the heights of the LP, it was very much appreciated by a "fan".) Perhaps at a later date, I will fetch my record and copy the lyrics off the back cover or the inside liner notes (remember how great it was to get albums with covers that were like pieces of art and were filled with information like lyrics and every instrument on every song and who played them and was large enough to hold like a book and as easy to read? Those were the days, my friend!) I had every intention to go to Boston to see Jim live, but like they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Still, that album made me a life long fan. Unfortunately, however, after I left Rhode Island in the Spring of 1977 to pursue my next adventure (Israel, where I studied and lived and worked for the next two years, and got engaged... but again, I digress), I lost touch with where Jim Dawson was or what he was doing and so it was for the next three decades.

Which brings us to Saturday, June 3, 2006 (though it is now well into Sunday, brevity not being my better suit.) About a year ago, thinking about my collection of LP albums, my mind meandered to Jim Dawson and I wondered what ever became of him. Being as internet savy as I am (achem!), I knew that the answer to my ponderings could be at my fingertips. So, I yahooed his name (yes, I am a Yahooer, not a Googler) and, voila!, I came upon the Jim Dawson Website. And, the rest, as they say, is history. Well, it's my own personal history anyway. I read the site and looked for an appearance and decided upon one that was to be at a place called, Miss Ellie's in the Village. I had every intention of going, but it was on a weeknight and in The City and the weather forecast was rain and I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I sent an email to Jim telling him of my dilemma (well, first I filled him in on my connection with him) and lo and behold he wrote me back and told me to come anyway, that I'd be comfortable and I wouldn't be sorry (I'm not sure he really said it like that, but you get the idea.) So, I intended to go, but again did not. But I did keep getting emails from his site informing me of upcoming gigs, which is how I found out about this one at the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church on Rt. 206 in Hillsborough, NJ. This time it was on a Sat. night and since hub had gone to play his all night poker game on Fri. night, I knew he'd be agreeable (more or less) to attend this with me. I also knew that it was the kind of music and event that would appeal more to my sensibilities than his, but I wanted a partner for the event and took advantage of the situation. And, am I ever glad that I did.

Jim Dawson's voice has, like a good wine, improved with age and over time. He is preparing to celebrate his 60th birthday this month. He has a strength in his voice that lends itself to the melodies and lyrics and yet he can purr the words when it calls for that. Only a handful of the songs he sang were familiar to me (afterall, I had only that one album), but I liked most of them as well as I did the ones on my album. I am not sure if he writes all of his songs. I know that he has covered songs by other artists in the past, so perhaps that is still the case. But many of the songs he sings are testaments to his life story, so those are obviously written by him. I assume he also writes the music. I enjoyed him most when he sang accompanied by one of his two guitars. On a few of the songs, he accompanied himself on the piano. He did one song, that I think is called, On and On, which was his contribution as an artist to the aftermath of 9/11. He explained before the song, how it had come to be written, how the horrors of being an abused child at the hands of his father got entangled with the horrors around the fall of the Twin Towers and how in therapy he became able to deal with it and finally to write a song about it. Like with so much of what Jim Dawson writes and sings, this resonated emphatically with me and I just let the tears flow.

So, in closure to this my Return Blog, I would like to recommend that if you are reading this, you take a look for yourself at who Jim Dawson is and where he will be playing and should the opportunity arise to see him in person, seize it. Jim also has CD's for sale on his website (I purchased two at the concert) and as he said, not one, but many times throughout the evening, he has a new CD that will be coming out, hopefully sometime soon.



Outside the Box said...

And what a welcome return it is!!!

I started to get worried that past few days. I'm quite relieved to see you're back at it.

Forgive me if I missed it in your post, but is there any chance for some pics from the concert?

And forgive me again for being just a bit selfish, but I have also missed you over at my blog. Please swing by when you can.

Avery said...

Sherril, I really appreciate and admire your honesty and bravery to write about your Mother - Daughter relationship - something I relate to - though the dynamics and details are naturally different. The non-nurturance part is similar, though I did have a kind hearted dad. Still you can't really replace a mother. I think one of the reasons I've worked so hard to attain academic degrees, professional accomplishments etc. was to compensate for feeling like less than nothing for so long while growing up. We are both lucky to have survived problems of the past without shutting down or falling into somatic problems, addictions or other messed up patterns that befall those who do not grow beyond that inner state of wounded self-rejecting child. For not everyone comes out of that awful shell. And ironically, if we (the generic we - all of us) will do the work of facing our wounded parts, the result can be so rewarding. I'm sure that your up-bringing has a lot to do with your becoming as wise and compassionate a person as you are, for example - tho it's a heck of way to get there. Also your willingness to grow means that the generational pattern of non-nurturance ends here. Hooray! You went to therapy - I did, too - and became a therapist to learn more and hopefully free a few souls other along the way. I will definitely check Jim Dawson out - Music was important in my freeing myself . I remember listening a lot to Laura Nyro (sp?) - who somehow gave me permission to be a young woman with (horrors, according to my conservative up-bringing) sexual feelings. As for your writing about being 54, stop bragging! You look great! Hope your husband wins at poker - he certainly won at life by marrying someone as intelligent and nice as you!

LG said...

molly= name attributable to a woman of independent mind, staunch moral character, rugged ingenuity and no lack of humor, fearlessness nor charm.
moose= a creature of immense power but of peaceful inclination moving, often unseen, through dense woodlands.
molly moose= remarkable lady, really.

Diane S. said...

Glad to see you posting again.

One of the things that I love about the internet is that it's made the esoteric accessible. When you have something with a small following, it's hard for any shop or store to justify keeping it in stock, but when the world is at your doorstep, all those people can join together and support the artist, the person, the thing that they love.

I'll have to give Jim a listen sometime. I'm glad you found something that meant so much to you.

Sherril said...

Robert, Diane, Avery and Linda,
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank You.

Avery - Ha! Bragging about being 54. Thank you too for sharing. Take a look at tonight's blog for the other side of the Mom-Daughter relationship.

Robert - Thanks for welcoming me back and I not only came back to your blog, but commented with a saga, I'm afraid.

Linda - Molly Moose thanks you from her Antlers to her toes.

Diane - You are right about the internet. It gives us a chance to rant, to express, to share and to be heard. If someone takes notice and gives her support, all the better. I will come around to your unopeneddoor soon.


James Manning said...


This is a great post. I've never heard of this guy but I will give him a listen.

Sherril said...

Thanks James for coming by and I hope you will be returning to your site for the sake of all, including you. To slightly alter the great words of James Carville, the highly regarded Democratic political operative from Louisiana's bayou country,"It's the THERAPY, stupid." That is the key word for me and my message for anyone who cares to listen.


Sherril said...

BTW, I have swung by your blog several times, but haven't seen you there. Where art thou?
As for pics from the Jim Dawson concert, I intended to bring my camera, but you know what they say about the best intentions. But if you can picture this....we are in a Presbyterian Church....maybe 15 or 20 rows of 10 or 12 seats across with an aisle in-between the same on the other side and large windows on either side, with a kind of sill on which one may sit (and there sat the Reverend or whatever SHE is called at this kind of church, during the second part of the program) In front is a relatively small raised, pulpit, dais, platform or "bimah" as we Jews would call it. And, alas, on this "bimah" was a red velvet curtain against the back wall, which if one didn't know any better, behind it would be the Ark, which would hold the Torah; but the lovely pulpit and velvet curtain notwithstanding, I believe it was purely decoration. ANYWAY, it was on this pulpit that Jim stood and later sat, in stocking feet, punctuating his songs with a movement, I suppose is particular to him, in which he forcefully raises one bent leg (always the left), stressing that note, beat, syllable or word. If you can imagine all that, you've got the picture!


Ricardo said...

Well count me as one who didn't get that right and was made to feel guilty about it by my aunts. My grandparents had to step in and raise me because my parents were idiots. Thank goodness for that. Anyway my aunts would often taunt me growing up that I was living on borrowed time and that my grandparents owed me nothing. How kind. Good post and I'll be sure to give Mr.Dawson a listen. Sounds like is music is coming from a very important place, the heart.