How far is Heaven? For a brief moment, lets dissect this grammy award winning song from the Los Lonely Boys. They are going to bring this and their anatomy of a great song to Rochester for Down By The Riverside on Sunday! 

I would be the first person to tell you that identifying a band with their ONE hit song is really not the best thing to do, because often, they have so many more deeper cuts that are more powerful and meaningful to the hardcore fans of that particular band. In this case, I have to claim this signature track from The Los Lonely Boys as one of their best. Look at the lyrics to this beautiful and brilliantly written and well crafted song:

 

Oh No!
Save me from this prison...
Lord - help me get away.
'Cause only you can save me now
From this misery.
I've been lost in - my own place and I'm gettin' weary.
How far is heaven?
And I know that I need to change my ways of livin'.
How far is heaven?
Lord can you tell me? I've been locked up way too long
In this crazy world. How far is heaven? I just keep on prayin' Lord
And just keep on livin'.
How far is heaven?
Yeah...Lord can you tell me?
How far is heaven?
'Cause I just got to know how far, yeah.
How far is heaven?
Yeah... Lord can you tell me?
Tu que estas en alto cielo, Echame tu bendiciòn
[translated from Spanish]
[You that's in a higher place - Send me down a blessing]
Cause I know there's a better place, than this place I'm livin'.
How far is heaven?
And I just got to have some faith, and just keep on givin'.
How far is heaven?
Yeah... Lord can you tell me?
'Cause I just gotta know how far, yeah.
How far is heaven?
Yeah... Lord can you tell me?
I just gotta know how far.
I just wanna know how far.
Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
The boys are brothers from Texas who formed a band that played together in Nashville in the '90s and are still going strong to this day, bringing their show to the center of Rochester on Sunday night. Their dad had a band with his brothers, so they were simply following in daddy's footsteps when they jammed together.  Willie Nelson had a huge part of the boys' launch, he even sat in on the recording of their first album, of which they recorded at Willie's studio. It was in 2005 that 'Heaven'  won the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Grammy Award. They not only played a beautiful song well, they also wrote the song, which I very much appreciate and understand how much of themselves they had to put out there for the world to see and pick apart.
Just what makes a great song? What is it that makes a song grammy-worthy? I am sure many people have their own ideas, all different, of what great music is, but here are my reason this song earned it's stripes in the history of music:
When you listen to it, it speaks to you. You identify with the story, the lyrics, on a deep level, you connect. How many people can say that they have experienced this emotion of being down on your knees wondering when you can go to heaven, not in a death wish kinda way, but in a, I just wish the world was a better place kind of way? It's a disappointment, perhaps, of the craziness of the planet, or it could be viewed on the other hand, as an excitement for where we are going next. How far away is it when we will get to that place where everything is beautiful and wonderful? How far is that perfection? We eagerly await the end to our suffering, yes this song has a strong spiritual foundation. I would bet at one time or another we have all been in this place, this place of questioning, thinking, wondering...
The background music matches the theme of the song. Am I the only one who listens to a piece of music and hears emotions in the very notes that are coming out of the guitar? Is it weird that I even can get a feeling or some communication from the beat of the drum that lays down the overall emotion that the artist is attempting to display? Does the bass speak its own language also? When the singer is singing the song, it is as if he is pouring out his very heart into his work of art, you can hear how much the words mean to him. This song has all of those qualities in my humble opinion.
Just think of the impact their labor of love has had all over the world. Billions upon billions of people have probably heard this song, played this song, perhaps heard it multiple times. It could mean different things to different people, as everyone that has heard it probably has their own understanding or memory attached to it. This brings me to another point I have to make as to why this is a great song, the intrigue. There is enough mystery in this song, with the vague details, nothing specific, no names or situations, just a general philosophical statement, questions, wondering that they have in here. The lyrics are decorated with some really stylish guitar layered into a wonderful conversation, that could be interpreted by the listener in several different directions.
Yes the Los Lonely Boys have other songs, but I'm personally looking forward to this one, and I'm sure many of us that will be there will be also!  The 'Swamp Kings' will be opening the show Sunday night at 7 p.m. & The Los Lonely Boys will headline.  The show is free to the public, you can bring your lawnchairs, and enjoy the beautiful summer evening behind the Mayo Civic Center with Tom Garrett & myself from Y105.