Van Morrison, Spiritual Rock Star
Here I am gazing on the Web for extraordinary witnesses of enlightenment yet very popular in the entertainment realm, so that at least everybody that read newagenotebook.com could say “hey, I’ve seen or heard that person!” As my research focuses randomly on any performer from our time, some pages choose to cite the art of singer Van Morrison.
His work is thoughtful, often spiritual in nature, and combines elements of jazz , R&B , Celtic traditions, and stream-of-consciousness lyrics.
Van Morrison was born in Belfast , Northern Ireland , in 1935 and was named George Ivan Morrison. Better known as the Celtic sorcerer, Morrison began playing different instruments and composing songs in an Irish band during his teen years. His musical heritage was inevitable since h e was exposed to music from an early age with his father collecting American jazz albums and his mother being a singer.
Journalists have described Morrison as one of the most serious singers with high moral values, something that lacks in the music business. His lyrics and music are influenced on the works of poet and New Age prophet William Blake, Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac, J.D. Salinger, occult and spiritualist poet W.B. Yeats, Alice Bailey, and of many other religious visionaries. Those authors add mythic powers to Morrison’s singular musical vision and his articulation of emotional truths.
Astral Weeks was his first album after he moved to America . It gained good reviews from critics. Rolling Stone magazine once reported that a man claimed to see God while listening to this album under the influence of nitrous oxide . If you listen to the record you’ll notice that the artist uses a form of symbolism instead of current narrative. Very much like using spiritual images because they are stronger than words. And this work was released in the late 1960s, when a New Age consciousness was spreading in the U.S.
His idiosyncratic and spiritual musical path has lead him to create more than 30 albums, among them are Moondance, Tupelo Honey, A Period of Transition, Beautiful Vision, No Guru- No Method- No teacher, Irish Heartbeat, Avalon Sunset, Enlightenment, Days Like This, and The Healing Games.
On his official site, Alan Pert sums up Morrison’s spiritual exploring on the album Days Like This. “Morrison continues his lifelong exploration of the human psyche, offering up highly entertaining and danceable tunes about everything from love to manic depression. While all of Morrison’s albums from the early 1990’s had expressed a desire to go back to childhood and early adolescence when “everything made more sense” and he was most capable of experiencing the elusive “sense of wonder,” the memory in “Ancient Highway” is of being older, of feeling isolated and restless, of needing to leave home and childhood behind forever, and he is afraid of failure: “I keeping praying to my higher self, don’t let me down…”
Extract of the Ancient Highway
“ There’s a small cafe on the outskirts of town
I’ll be there when the sun goes down
Where the roadside bends
And it twists and turns
Every new generation
And I’ll be praying to my higher self
Don’t let me down, keep my feet on the ground
There’s a roadside jam playin’ on the edge of town
In a town called Paradise near the ancient highway
When the train whistle blows
All the sadness that Hank Williams knows
And the river flows
Call them pagan streams and it spins and turns
In a factory in a street called Bread in East Belfast
Where Georgie knows best
What it’s like to be Daniel in the lion’s den
Got so many friends only most of the time”
I picked Morrison’s music up because he is still creating innovative material and is not like others rock stars who recycle their greatest hits. “Great art incarnates truth, gives shape to beauty, and joins inner longing with outer form. Van Morrison has provided Christians and non-Christians alike a glimpse into the childlike vision ” according to the insights of Carl Olson.
More recently, Morrison had the opportunity to duet “Crazy Love” along with the late Ray Charles, on the 2004 Genius Loves Company album. Ray Charles was one of Morrison’s influences during his years in Northern Ireland .