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Let’s Discuss: The Music of Your Horse Life

Maria reflects after the passing of Chris Cornell.

Flickr/Anne Rowlison Martinez/CC

Chris Cornell passed away last week. He was the lead singer of Sound Garden, Audio Slave, was also with Temple of the Dog and had a good collection of solo albums. He was known for his piercing, soulful voice that had a range of nearly four octaves.

While most people are probably wondering why this is posted in Horse Nation, since his genre of music was mostly alternative/grunge rock, and horse people are perhaps known for listening to country, it’s because I grew up with his music. Some of you might not even know who he is (shoot, my boyfriend who is a Texan cowboy doesn’t even know who he is).

I was born in 1981 and started listening to Sound Garden in the mid ’90s when they were all over MTV. The Black Hole Sun video still is burned in my memory.

I didn’t have horses at the time, but I had a BIG collection of Breyer horses (second best thing for a city-dwelling adolescent). I would listen to these tunes as I admired my little collection of wanna-be real horses.

Fast forward a few years, early 20s, and I’m still rocking out to his songs (alone in the car because I sung horribly out of tune). I finally had a real horse and I would always listen to Sound Garden as I was driving to and from the barn in my little Ford Escort.

I remember on Sept 11th, 2001 after the fall of the twin towers, listening to “Fell on Black Days” while driving as quickly as possible to the barn to be comforted by my horse on that horrible day.

Then came Audio Slave, a combination of lead singer Chris Cornell and members of Rage Against the Machine. They had a great CD out, perfect for mucking stalls. And all of Chris Cornell’s lyrics made you think. (Even though I would have to read the lyrics that were posted in the CD case because sometimes I couldn’t decipher what the hell he was trying to say). He was a little bit of a mumbler for sure.

I moved across the country in 2006 from Baltimore, MD to Las Vegas, NV and his songs kept me from falling asleep behind the wheel while towing my horse. That was a long, boring drive. I think I wore out those CDs on that trek. But, his songs kept me going.

I was lucky enough to see him perform live about ten years ago, and I can honestly say he sounded good live as on the radio. I wouldn’t say I was a faithful follower of his, or did I want to be his groupie, but I can honestly say his music was with me throughout most of my life — something I could rely on, when I turned on the radio and I could sing along (even if out of tune).

We all have those certain musicians that make us smile every time they come on the radio. I knew who was behind that voice every time I heard it. It was like an old friend. Someone who could bring up memories that I forgot about.

But that is life, we all pass away — some sooner than others. He will be missed by millions, but his music and memory will live on and for that I’m thankful.

So, fellow readers of Horse Nation, what musician/band has influenced your horse life throughout the years? Weigh in with a comment.

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