26-Miles of Glory

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Around this time last year Peter Payack’s name was in the news but for all the wrong reasons. Like the typical Bostonian, Payack was exceptionally disturbed and confused by the bombings; however, things took a turn for the worse when he became linked to the incident because he was the wrestling coach of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the suspects of the bombing. This year, around the same time, his name has resurfaced in the news, however, this time it’s for a good cause. During the month of March, Payack contacted lead singer, Dave McWave, of Big D and the Kids Table in order to release a song for the Boston Marthon. Payack, a professor at the Berklee College of Music and 12-time Boston Marathon runner, contacted McWane, a former Berklee graduate in order to produce a song that “the city needs” entitled “26-Miles of Glory”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kza3vmuKSRA

After Payack contacted McWane, the group accompanied by the band’s 10 fellow musicians teamed up with Jay Mass, of Getaway Recording, in order to produce the song. Seeing as Big D is based out of Boston and 2 members of the band have participated in the Boston Marathon, Big D and the Kids Table was an excellent candidate for this song.

Although it would have gained more public attention if a big-ticket artists had produced the song, I definitely prefer the localized, humble feel to this song. As mentioned, the band is based out of Boston therefore the event had an emotional effect on the band that couldn’t have been expressed and written about in the same manner by more popular artists. Despite touring the world and releasing a plethora of successful records, McWane has never lost track of his routes and remains a humble, down to Earth individual that provides insight and perspective into his work.

On the band’s website, McWane remarked, “The song’s tempo was crafted to have the perfect runner’s pace. The lyrics are spoken from the inner thoughts of a female and male while they are participating in the Boston Marathon. The lyrics also follow the route of the Boston Marthon and pay homage to those who lost their lives, the wounded, and those who helped Patriot’s Day 2013. We hope [the band] hope 26-Miles of Glory will give the city of Boston and all those who run Marathons all over the world strength and pride”.

Boston proves to be unlike a majority of the cities in the United States, perhaps even across the world, and that aspect of the city is definitely captured in the song. Aside from outright mentioning it in the song, the lyrics and instrumentation of the tune truly capture the environment of the marathon and epitomize the slogan “Boston Strong”. The blaring horn-lines and accented voice of McWane capture the attitude of the city, as seen last year when David Ortiz swore on national television during a Red Sox game. Although McWane doesn’t use any profanity in the song, the listener still gets that feeling of unity and strength that was shared among citizens of Boston during this time last year.

While listening to the song the listener also gets encompassed by the lyrics as they essentially feel as though they are witnessing the race first-hand. Although I’ve never attended the Boston Marathon, or a marathon in general, the song provides a vivid vision of the race. The lyrics are personalized and moving as they set the stage for the event and establish the dedication and emotion of the runners, especially after last year’s incident.

It’s simply astonishing that after such a catastrophic event, a city, better yet a country, can recover after such a devastating event and come out stronger in the end. I think music proves to be a powerful tool in the fact that it can unify a group of people for a common cause and this song strives to do just that. Regardless of whether or not you listen to ska or even like the song, I hope you can appreciate the emotion and dedication hidden behind the lyrics of this song.

Images courtesy of bostonska.net and disocveringjustice.org