Pandemic-generated sadness may provide lyrical material, but it’s not necessarily paying a songwriter’s bills. For Joel Lindsey, a British-born Pittsburgh-based professional musician, there are almost two simultaneous tracks playing. Quarantined at home with his wife, Amy, and their 2-year-old son, Levi, Lindsey, in just 10 days, composed, recorded and filmed “The World Will Heal in Time,” a reflective, doleful number pairing lines like “This is the saddest spring the world has ever known” with “I can’t find a smile and watch the tulips grow.”
Unfortunately, at the same time his creativity is thriving, nearly all of Lindsey’s professional gigs have dried up due to cancellations and reschedulings.
The situation is “difficult,” but “I don’t want to feel sorry for myself,” he said. “I know that I’m not alone. We’re all in the same boat, whether you’re a musician or an artist or anything like that. So many people are suffering right now.”
As someone who makes his living from music, his earnings are derived in two ways, he explained: “A lot of my bread and butter was playing in bars, restaurants, casinos, country clubs, all those kinds of things, and all of that’s completely gone.”
There’s also Joel Lindsey Entertainment, a “multifaceted company” he and his wife founded that provides various services, including lighting, videography, a wedding officiant (Amy), a DJ, emcee, singer and/or guitar player (Joel) for private events.
“We normally do around 50 to 60 weddings a year,” he said, but apart from the “two or three” in January and February 2020, there’s been nothing.
“Every single day I’m dealing with another postponement or cancellation,” he said. “It’s pretty stressful. I’m just trying to figure out what I’m going to do next.”
Even so, Lindsey is optimistic about the future.
“Things are gonna get better, maybe not tomorrow, but we’ve all got to keep hope that the world is going to heal in time and is going to bounce back,” he said.
Such sentiment is evident in Lindsey’s newest single.
“The darkness stole our light and left us feeling numb/ The best thing that we can do is dream of the life to come/ ’cause the world will heal in time,” he sings.
Several factors led to Lindsey’s recent composition. For one, he’s at home these days, spending time on the phone largely with brides, handling cancellations and reschedulings, and not out performing private events. And secondly, a few weeks ago he saw his son plucking mint in the family’s yard.
That observation immediately gave rise to the line “This is the saddest spring,” because “for most people it’s an invigorating time. There’s something refreshing about seeing everything come back to life, seeing all the things in your backyard growing again — not just the pretty stuff, but the grass, and the weeds and the bushes and the leaves on the trees.” Yet all of the growth has been “juxtaposed with this awful thing that’s happening in the world right now.”
Noticing his son carefully tear mint leaves from a flourishing bush that the family planted one year earlier reminded Lindsey of the present state of childhood and parenting.
“These are the loneliest days the children have ever known. You can’t explain to them that we all have to be alone,” he sings.
“At that moment, just watching my son pulling up mint,” the idea for the song continued to sprout, and within a week and a half, Lindsey had composed the lyrics, recorded the song and with his wife, Amy, filmed a music video, he said. Such rapidity is “completely unheard of for me.”
With its message that nature will take its course and restore life in a future season, Lindsey, a former Southeast London denizen and current Congregation Beth Shalom member, hopes that his creative efforts are encouraging.
“I think people can share this song and realize that they’re not alone but we’re all experiencing the same feelings and emotions,” he said.
He stressed it’s not about furthering sadness.
“I didn’t want to exploit the situation and write something just to ride on people’s emotions. I wanted to give people something positive. And while the song may have a somber vibe, this is a somber time. When the chorus hits, hopefully you’ll realize that my aim is to shed some hope and bring people up rather than bring them down.”
As he longingly notes, “The world will heal in time.” PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at email@example.com.