I always enjoy a good story. I enjoy a good song as well, and I get both when a true poet who always shares his heart and his wisdom, PonDman Haalan, performs his ballads at the Ce Soir Music and Arts venue with sensitivity and insight. Nearly every song is a story about fractured, vulnerable people like ourselves, trying to connect with others and express their true feelings but often blocked through their own tragic flaws and limitations.
For example, in a song written by Buddy Mondlock, “Comin’ Down in the Rain,” PonD sings to us the story of an unnamed man in the wake of heartbreak, who “scattered thrown on the breeze/As he tried to forget/He lost all his heat/And his heart never will be the same . . . . /But he’ll only come down in the rain.”
The heartbreak is more explicit when he sings Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song “Something of a Heartbreak”:
She used to watch him from afar
She used to dream about him
And she’d wish upon a star
That one day he’d want her for his own . . . .
Something of a heartbreak
When she gives her heart to you
Likewise is the long-range impact of heartbreak in a touching song he sings by John Prine, “Angel from Montgomery,” in which the “old woman” herself reflects:
When I was a young girl
I had me a cowboy
He wasn’t much to look at
Just a free ramblin’ man
But that was a long time
And no matter how I tried
The years they just rolled by
Like a broken down dam
Equally vulnerable is “Suzanne,” as PonD sings in Leonard Cohen’s lyrics: “And you want to travel with her/And you want to travel blind/And you know that she will trust you/ For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.”
Often the heart provides its own barriers to its most deeply felt needs as in Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind, Love.” However, the distance between two hearts can be geographic as well as emotional, as is the case with PonD’s rendition of Hoyt Axton’s “Evangelina”:
There’s a great hot desert
Down in Mexicali.
And if you don’t have water
Boy, you’d better not go.
Tequila won’t get you
Across that desert
To Evangelina in old Mexico.
PonD sings to us about the self-doubts and regrets expressed in J.D. Souther’s “Faithless Love Like a River Flows”: ”Faithless love, where did I go wrong?/Too many stories, too many heartbreak songs/Where nobody’s right, nobody’s wrong.”
PonD also tells the moving story of Jerry Jeff Walker’s character “Mr. BoJangles” who “. . . danced for you, in worn out shoes./With silver hair a ragged shirt and baggy pants,/The old soft shoe.” When BoJangles’ dog passes, we grieve with him just as we grieve for the other characters sung about in the other songs in PonDman’s repertoire.
PonDman’s motto is “Sing the true song of your heart.” As fractured people in kinship with the characters in these songs ourselves, we feel PonDman Haalan sing the true songs of our hearts as well. We identify with each of the characters in these ballads as they come to life through his sweet and skillful renderings. PonD is about the real deal, and we always enjoy his singing, playing, and warm banter.
Come hear PonDman sing the true song of your heart when he performs at Ce Soir Music and Arts venue every other Wednesday starting July 11, at 2 pm SLT. It’s Americana at its best!