From the Back Nine: When old men sing

  • Wednesday, August 7, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Even when I was young, I preferred the sound of a voice with some mileage in it. Rarely, young men could accomplish this through too much smoke or booze or too many protests marring their vocal chords. But mostly, it was the rasp of age, wisdom, and more than a little sorrow.

When I think of the love songs that have mattered the most in my life, they often have that sound. The sadder but wiser voice. The I’ve-done-some-looking-around-and-you’re-the-gold-at-the-end-of-my-rainbow sound.

• Joe Cocker, “You Are So Beautiful”

• Rod Stewart, “You’re in My Heart”

• Bob Seger, “We’ve Got Tonight”

• Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line”

• Willie Nelson, “You Don’t Know Me”

• Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You”

• Leonard Cohen, “Dance Me to the End of Love”

For those artists who’ve continued to record, I’ve continued to respond to their newer tracks with their older voices. Roy Orbison’s oldest “Pretty Woman” was his best pretty woman as far as I’m concerned. I think songs and the men who sing them are a part of my cellular structure and have aged along with me to something better than they once were. Youth has its upside, but experience lends its own magic to the meaning of things.

The men on the soundtrack of my life are mostly gone now. There are a few still capable of moving me to tears … Johnny Mathis with “The Twelfth of Never” which is a calendar date that is much closer for both of us these days. Raul Malo of the Mavericks singing “The Air that I Breathe” or damn near anything else. The imaginary sound I carry in my head of an old Jim Morrison if he were alive to “Light My Fire” today.

Of course, there are plenty of men from this century capable of twirling a girl’s skirts … I’m just not sure I’m still capable of having them twirled by these young pretenders.

Women deserve a hit list, too. Those magical voices proclaiming loves lost and found. Ronstadt, Raitt, Nicks, Slick, Franklin. Yes, the songbirds deserve their own list. Fortunately, there’s always another day on the Back Nine. Or you can compile your own lists and send them to me. I’d really like that.

Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors and author of the new historical novel Fog Coast Runaway, available on, at, or at local retailers. Contact her at or

More in Opinion

Think About It: Nonsensical

“Nonsensical” is the musical way of saying something is nonsense, ridiculous, absurd… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Brighter future for papermakers

In recent years, papermakers in Pacific Northwest have been losing ground. However,… Continue reading

Being Frank: Pollution-based economy cannot be sustained

On April 16, as the coronavirus attacked communities across Washington, the U.S.… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Coronavirus, work must coexist

By now it is apparent that, barring a miracle, a cure for… Continue reading

Water Matters: Raised consciousness

As a “non-essential,” mostly-office worker, I’ve been in a lot of Zoom… Continue reading

Guest column: Back to the wild, in a whole new outdoor recreation world

Exploring the outdoors feeds our souls and helps keep us healthy, when… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Unemployment payments provide necessary cushion for jobless Americans

America’s unemployment rate is suddenly approaching historic levels. Since the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

From the Back Nine: The Timekeeper

By Linda B. Myers For the Sequim Gazette I live with my… Continue reading

Think About It: The eyes have it

“Bertha? Is that you?” The question came from the person standing at… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Apples, potato keys to post coronavirus recovery

Our state is blessed with some of the most creative people and… Continue reading

Aging Successfully: Putting our affairs in order

This time of self-isolation is the perfect time to put our affairs… Continue reading

Think About It: Conflicting thoughts in small spaces

“In nursing (and medicine), the worst outcome is death.” This quote came… Continue reading