The Perfect Song: “1. Till I Gain Control Again – Van Morrison”

I’ve had a long love affair with songs and songwriters. Songwriters are just plain interesting. I’ve known lots of them in my time. I think my love of the art began when I was a baby.

When my family moved to Nashville, I was 8 months old. We stayed at the home of some friends for a few days until our house was ready to occupy. The friend was a man by the name of Eddie Miller. Eddie wrote a lot of songs that are considered to be classics….”Thanks A Lot”, “There She Goes” and the immortal “Release Me”. Eddie was a wonderful man and as a small child, I didn’t realize the impact his songs have made on millions of people and he died when I was 8 so I never really had the chance to question him about how he came up with the idea for this one or that one, like I later had the opportunity to with people like Roger Miller, Harlan Howard, Johnny Russell and a lot of other people.

I think the most perfect song ever written is Rodney Crowell’s “Til I Gain Control Again.” It’s everything a great song should be. Rodney took the not so original idea of trying to move on past a failed relationship and said it in a way unlike anybody has ever expressed it, which is the goal of every songwriter when they compose.

I was way familiar with it when in 1987 at a benefit at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville, a not-yet-famous Vince Gill performed it, just him and a guitar and it moved me in such a way that I had not been moved before and rarely since. The best way I can explain how it affected me is that it was like something physically got inside my body and touched me so profoundly that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It was powerful.

I was intrigued when I heard that Van Morrison had cut “Til I Gain Control” on his latest cd “Pay The Devil.” Somebody with such a distinctive voice and artistry HAD to just nail it….and he does not disappoint. Wish I could’ve been one of the lucky ones to hear him perform it at the Ryman this week. I have a feeling to hear him sing it live, probably would’ve affected me much like Vince Gill affected me with it in 1987.

Out on the road that lies before me now
There are some turns that I will spin
I only hope that you can hold me now
Til I can gain control again

Dang, Rodney…..