If you’re an artist of some kind, you’ve probably experienced this before.
You encounter a piece of art and the first feeling it provokes is Awe (“This is amazing”), followed by Envy (“I wish I’d made that”), and then Inspiration (“I want to make something like that”).
Ideally this becomes a virtuous cycle, a continuous process of input and output that leads to artistic fulfillment. But I often find myself somewhere between Awe and Envy: impressed by the work and regretful it’s not mine, but not in a bitter way.
That’s what I often feel while listening to my favorite band, The Okee Dokee Brothers. I heard them described somewhere as the Pixar of kids music, which is apt: they pack an amazing amount of artistry, wisdom, life-giving stories into seemingly simple folk tunes that appeal to all ages.
Here are a few I wish I’d written myself.
“Seasons in a Day” from Songs for Singin’. Using the phases of a day as a synecdoche for the four seasons is a stroke of genius.
“Church of the Woods” from Songs for Singin’. A gorgeous secular hymn for nature lovers.
“Sister Moon and Brother Sun” from Saddle Up. A genesis story told through Americana and indigenous music.
“Thank You” from Songs for Singin’. A beautifully simple tune about gratitude that grows as it goes.