The first time I’d ever heard about Chris Garneau, I asked my friend to describe his music. My friend replied, “doves. He sounds like doves.” And although I wasn’t sure quite what to make of that, I looked him up, and listened, and realized that he was right. Doves.
And, tonight. Maybe it’s the location, the small wood barge/boat with its constant gentle bobbing and rocking on the East River, with the Manhattan skyline and its thousands of golden lights a backdrop outside the window of the stage, and the Brooklyn Bridge flanking the side window.
Maybe it’s Chris Garneau himself, soft spoken with an unassuming charm, a smile so sweet it jump starts the heart, his voice cooing lyrics that edge the sentimental, with with, and the broken stretches of each word and line laced with emotion and meaning.
Doves. In close knit nests huddled together, white breasts fluff with soft feathers and so much heart, a quivering delicate and so warm, so loving caress. Heads peaked like his piano, the cello and instrument, the quiet boat lacking with the drunken obnoxious, only with ears striving to catch every hint of desperate, romanticized loneliness in his words.
Maybe it’s the woman in front of me, and her full long blond hair bellowing behind her with each breath of the wind, each beat of the song. Maybe it’s the couple, wrapped in each other’s skin and arms and heads nestled together. Maybe it’s the music making the boat waver, and Chris’s so adorable off hand comments, “is the boat moving?” Yes.
Maybe it’s the most beautiful public crowd rendition of the happy birthday song I”d ever heard. Sang to Chris mom’s almost birthday with the piano and those grand strings the perfect accompaniment. And his voice.
Maybe it’s strictly that sensation, sudden awareness that I was alone, all alone, and as he sings of loss and love and pirates and words and girls and boys and the city and it doesn’t matter because I’m watching the sky darken behind in the window, as the waves move us back and forth, as I step outside and there the city before me, straight out of a postcard, and around me, cigarette smoke, foreign tongues, camera snapping away, I’m smiling and I’d trade nothing else for just, this.