Music that saved my life

Symphonic orchestra. Head banging rock and roll. Religious revival. Cathartic therapy. Epic storytelling. Tribal rhythms.

I am not alone in this experience. A burly man tells Craig Minewa that he hasn’t cried this much in years. Deeply thanks him.

It’s hard to let that in, Craig tells me. Not just deflect the compliment or let it fly away.

You don’t know what it’s like for us in the audience, do you? I ask him. I wish I could tell him. Show him. How his music, his story, his willingness to be open and vulnerable and honest and raw – and at the same time hopeful and creative and holding out the light – transformative was the burly man’s word.

I discovered the music of Cloud Cult just a year ago, myself in a process of transformation that would lead me places I couldn’t predict. 

“When Water Comes to Life” is a simple song, opening with beautiful orchestration. The lyrics follow the cycle of life, the allegory of transformation.

“All you need to know, is you are born of water. You are made of water. You are living water.”

I was hooked. I went to the Cloud Cult website and promptly bought and downloaded all their music.

My words cannot do justice to the impact this band has had on my life. Emotions are high, and deep, and flowing freely. Potent stories and images, deja vu experiences – how does this man know my life so well, to sing music which talks to me? I am not alone in this experience.

At the end of their show at Burntwoodsstock I spent some time hanging out with Craig. A remarkably ordinary man. Kind, soft spoken, humble. Someone just making music because it is his true expression. Therein lies the secret of Cloud Cult’s magnetic draw.

Once a person connects with this music, with the epic stories, the healing moment, we are hooked. Fans will travel for miles – I did to see two shows back to back, as did a young couple from Bend.

“You’ll be Bright”

“All the things you love,
all the things that may hurt you,
all the things you shouldn’t do,
all the things you want to

They’re calling on you
Travel safely

Every first kiss
every crisis
every heartbreak
and every act of kindness

They’re calling on you
Travel safely”

I wanted to spend more time with Craig, and all the beautiful people in the band. To tell him more. To pick his brain. To hear about his family. Earthology Institute. The new baby due any moment. To be part of his life, the way his music had become part of mine.

But to let it all go was necessary. To get on my bike and ride away, off to the coast. To be alone again after such intensity. I’m finally accepting my need for solitude. Not without tears. Not without aching loneliness. I need these experiences too.

The band left on a side trip down the same coast, before flying back to the midwest. Travel safely, Craig Minewa and the members of Cloud Cult. And come back to Oregon, real soon.


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