There is a moment, in the life of a great song, when the world gets to hear it for the first time. I've witnessed it a few times, and read about it too. Picture this: a songwriter (or an artist, in service of the song), with an instrument, and a microphone, and an audience. It could be a small room or an intimate club, or a circle of musical peers sitting cross-legged in the lobby of a hotel at 3 am in the morning, doing a little song-swap and guitar pull. Every audience everywhere has expectations ... but mostly, they've got hope. Hope they'll hear something truly special. Most of the time, that's all it is, hope.
And then it happens. The singer sings, the song lives, and whole room just gets breathless and quiet. "Holy Bleep" they're thinking. "Did you HEAR that?" For a roomful of people, the world just wobbled on its axis, just a tiny bit. Lives are altered.
There's the silence, after. It can feel like forever. Like the silence I've read about, the very first time after Billie Holiday sang "Strange Fruit" in a club in New York City. We can probably all point to songs that did that for us, and to us. It could be Sunday Morning Comin' Down, or The Song Remembers When, or The House That Built Me, or Where've You Been, or Atlantic Blue It could be He Stopped Lovin Her Today, or Jubilee, or Go Rest High On That Mountain. It could be Perfect, or Red Dirt Girl. Whatever great song did that to you, in the first moment of its flight, you will remember it. Great songs, all different genres, essentially the same. Pow.