Million Year Mind

Peter Mayer

Blue Boat Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


One of the greatest usages of music is to reveal truth in and to the listener. The best singer/songwriters can hit you with a reality you never suspected existed, leaving you breathless.

Or—and this is the sneaky part—they can slowly insinuate a concept in your subconscious until you suddenly sit up in bed at 3am going “Damn!”

Peter Mayer is one of those. On the surface, he appears simple; a singer armed with a guitar (and remember, Guitars Kill Fascists). But the more you listen, the deeper you dive into just what he is saying and how. It isn’t easy and it isn’t clear, but in time you learn from music like my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Million Year Mind, Mayer’s most well-known album.

First off, this CD sounds good. The guitar sound is crisp and some random instrumental flourishes (accordion on “The Dark,” harmonica on “Charlie Porter”) flesh the sound out nicely. Most of the tracks are well put together, with stellar mixing and production. “Africa” particularly stands out, a thought-provoking mélange of djembes and choral voices with just a touch of effects-tweaked guitar.

But all that aside for a moment, I love this album because one of the songs on it changed my life. As a former Episcopalian and a current Neo-Pagan, my religious views are by necessity rather liberal and unitarian, and Mayer’s “Holy Now” is the single best song I’ve ever found to express my own spirituality.

“When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips.
Now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimmin’ in a sea of it.
It used to be a world half there,
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down.
Now I walk it with a reverent air,
’Cause ev’rything is holy now…”

The first time I heard “Holy Now,” I remember being overwhelmed that someone else got it. That meant something to me, in the best way music can.

Everything else on Million Year Mind is at least solid, and several tracks are outstanding. There is some wicked humor on “Brand New Harley,” a sweet love song on “Now Touch The Air Softly,” and the glorious exclamation point of “One More Circle.” Don’t sleep on “John’s Garden,” either; it’s the perfect Hallowe’en song, and therefore highly suitable for this time of year.

Peter Mayer is brilliant—poetic, talented, and must of all spiritual without being judgmental. Million Year Mind is something everyone should check out.

Rating: A

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