Well, yesterday was a pleasant change, not only did we get a new vocal performance from Grace, but word from her that she’d just completed two songs (in one night no less), and that two of Grace’s songs were featured in the $30 Million dollar budgeted Netflix computer animated movie “Next Gen”.

Okay, let’s start with Grace’s performance of the doozy that’s toppled many a veteran singer, “The Star Spangled Banner”. She performed it at the opening ceremony of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge that spans the Hudson River, connecting New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties. It was a big deal, opening a $3.9 Billion dollar project for the state and attended by New York governor Andrew Cuomo, former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, and other dignitaries of note.

Grace, to my ear, nailed it. The Star Spangled Banner, in my mind, is not only a test of a vocalist’s technical abilities, but one also to determine if they know of what they are singing. Grace, like most, only tackled the first stanza as is traditional for public ceremonies and events.

The song has quite a history, and is actually a poem by Francis Scott Key chronicling the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the “Battle of Baltimore” in the War of 1812. The music is from a British song written for the “Anacreontic Society” of London, a gentlemen’s club composed of amateur musicians.

The American national anthem is often criticized for being too violent and war-like… That’s because its sole focus is on a single battle of Americans defending themselves against a British attack. Its intent, at least the first stanza, isn’t to dwell on the viscera so much as the pride of having survived the night against would-be conquerors, and retaining the independence of the state. It’s a boastful song, but one that also recognizes loss and the cost of maintaining freedom. Its images are striking, but also mournful. It’s a very beautiful lyric, really, and Grace brought to it something she does to all of her covers: an understanding of that which she is singing about.

Her delivery was subdued, almost pained when necessary, and the soaring notes of “the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air” held more than a hint of fear behind them, as one who was there to witness the bombardment would feel (referring to Key). Grace also brought a palpable sense of sadness to the conclusion of the song, something which the founders of the country might express if they were to return to take stock of the country today; that its citizenry is as divided as ever, that the grand experiment hasn’t yet reached the pinnacle of their aspirations, that much work still remains to realize their lofty goals.

Grace also revealed, separately, though perhaps inspired by the events of the day, that she had completed the writing of two new songs. Her actual statement was “2 songs in one night girls! all thanks to my good ol bathroom floor”. Some have raised the question as to whether or not Grace was veiling a subtextual meaning behind saying “girls”. I don’t think so, because in the IG Livestream where Grace knocked our socks off with her new song “Maybe (This Could Be Something)” after coming up with the bridge she said, “That could be the bridge. Let’s write it down, shall we, boys?” It’s just a figure of speech. Can’t wait to hear them, Grace!

Finally, word began to spread that the new Netflix computer animated movie “Next Gen” featured not only Grace’s song “Clay”, but also “Clearly”. I haven’t watched the movie yet, trying to find time, but I can’t wait to see how the songs were used.

During this drought that was a nice, though brief, and unexpected downpour to keep us going.

Thanks Grace.

This article was first posted on VanderVault’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Yfl9ID8F0g&lc=UgzQ2XjE5W-ZUS3yOE14AaABAg