Hard Times

Some years ago—when Ben, Jill, and I met up in Vancouver to perform some concerts—we began what has turned out to be a years-long project of recording a few covers. The project began, as Ordinary Time projects often do, with me (Peter) trying to squeeze as much music as I could out of our brief time together. So far we have recorded 5 songs in total. The first efforts (and best recorded bits) were done at the Space Studios in Vancouver with Jordaniel Benett manning the microphones. The rest of the audio was recorded in various rooms in homes and hotel rooms, using whatever gear I brought along with me.

Hard Times, the first song we are releasing from the group, (click here to listen) is an old American Folk tune (1858) written by Stephen Foster in. It has been covered many, many times since then by all manner of singers. This is due to the fact that It is, in my estimation, one of the simplest and most beautiful folk-hymns ever written. It speaks of the human condition and our longing for hope. It laments the forces that afflict the least fortunate of us, reminding us that even if we find ourselves among the fortunate, there are those who suffer nearby. Part of the genius of the song is that it does not judge—it does not direct us to help those who are suffering—yet if we have ears, we can hear.

While we recorded this song some time ago, and it felt appropriate then given the state of the world, it feels even more timely now. As we all navigate our way in this world it is a good reminder to give thought to those who are less fortunate than we are. This song is an invitation to empathize with those who suffer, and to also take the steps to seek how we can help those “frail forms fainting at the door”. Listening to this song it is hard not to consider how we might seek to serve—and even love—our neighbor on this journey that we are all on.

Peter, for Ordinary Time
13 November 2020


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