May can be a frustrating month on the Maine calendar. Far more frustrating than a snowy March, or a December that just won’t cool down sufficiently for mountain snowmakers. May 2016 weather-wise has been all over the place: gray and 40s for a week, followed by a few warm, sunny days that felt like sweet release from the grips of our wretched spring, then briefly right back into the wind-whipped misery of Miserable Maine May.
I took the “other” way into work this morning as I am occasionally wont to do: an extra mile but less overall stop-and-go often buys me an extra minute or two off my normal commute time. As I was flipping back and forth between the radio and my own tunes, a song came on that was perfect for the moment: “Although the Sun Is Shining” by Fleetwood Mac, from their 1969 album “Then Play On.” It was in the forties, a bit of sun was cutting through the clouds, but you barely noticed because a cold wind was blowing, making the mid-morning temperature feel as if it were in the thirties. Very un-May 16th like, if you ask, well, anybody.
“Although the Sun Is Shining” is written and sung by guitarist Danny Kirwan, described by many as the cool undercurrent to then-band leader Peter Green’s fiery intensity. Both were wonderfully expressive guitarists, with Kirwan always in the shadow of the legendary Green. Kirwan’s songs always had a tinge of melancholy to them, making him a pretty heavy hitter on my gray/rainy/miserable day playlists.
For a very brief time Kirwan was, by default, the de facto leader of Fleetwood Mac, following the departures of founder members Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer within a year. Kirwan essentially set the artistic tone for early 70s Mac albums like “Future Games” and “Bare Trees.” This role would prove to be too much for him, and he end up getting tossed from the band following a backstage guitar-smashing incident following a heated argument with early 70s member Bob Welch. He would record a few solo albums before drifting into a life heavily affected by mental illness. He is still alive, but no longer involved in music.
The rest of this week looks like it’s going to finally warm up again, thankfully. I love my sad bastard music, but sometimes you just want to crank Asia with the windows down and the sun out.
No, you really don’t. But sometimes you do.