Kind and Gentle Soul (Dedicated to Elisha O'Bannon)

by Sara Riley Mattson

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100% of the release week proceeds from the song will go to Elisha O'Bannon's young twin sons, Luke and Liam.

I wrote this song a year ago for my friend Lori's mother's memorial service. Lori's mom was full of hope, grit and she lived her life in a way that inspired others to live their best lives. I was inspired to write this song just as my health was really tanking because of Valley Fever and biotoxin illness. It came down to the wire to record the vocals in order to have it to my friend in time to make the tribute video.

On the day I recorded the vocals, I had not been able to keep food down for two days. My lungs were exhausted from battling Valley Fever for months. Though I liked the song, I always felt I could do it better. I thought someday I might come back to it when my lungs and strength could do it justice.

This morning I am crushed to find out that my friend, Elisha O'Bannon, died in her sleep. If ever there is an example of, "Only the good die young," it is Elisha. Elisha was the big sister of my first real love, one of the greatest loves of my life, and I always looked up to her. She was the very embodiment of strength, love, and hope. Her family stands out in my mind as the very best that humanity has to offer the world.

Elisha was just like my friend's mom. Vivacious, loving, optimistic, kind and deeply good. I felt a strong pull to find this song this morning and realized that, perhaps, the recording is just as it should be. I recorded it in a place of physical emptiness and with very little breath in my lungs. Today I feel a similar hollowness and lack of breath because of this loss.

The recording is not slick. It was not mastered. It is, simply, the most amount of love I could pour out to my friend on the day I recorded it.

I would like to dedicate this song to Elisha, her husband, Ryan, her two beautiful sons, Luke and Liam, her brothers, John and Sean, her sister, Mary, and her mother, Lyn. I know they are surrounded in love and prayers today, but I would like to offer 100% of the proceeds of this song to helping them, financially, through this difficult time. My husband and I, personally, have contributed $50.

This song is my humble attempt to try to capture the way big and small seem to crash together in grieving for those I've lost. The music at end of the song is meant to represent letting go of the small to the bigger, greater, unknown.

lyrics

Long walks and long talks
Felt like I did the talking while you walked beside me
And if I'm strong, it's because you always helped me carry on

And I've thought for some time
There's no lovelier sight than when you'd smile
And the joy in your eyes
And your generous heart
So beautiful inside and out

A kind and gentle hearted soul
Is who we've all been so lucky to know
And I'm so glad I got to be your friend
But I can't pretend I'm not going to miss you

I've been looking back at photographs
So much love in your eyes when you looked at dad
You're singing and laughing
I can tell that you're happy

And I've thought for some time
There's no lovelier sight than when you'd smile
And the joy in your eyes
And your generous heart
So beautiful inside and out

A kind and gentle hearted soul
Is who we've all been so lucky to know
And I'm so glad I got to be your friend
But I can't pretend I'm not going to miss you

credits

released July 1, 2016

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about

Sara Riley Mattson Rapid City, South Dakota

I'm a lifelong musician. The daughter of a deep-thinking poet and a harmony-obsessed choral singer. I grew up on the music my parents grew up on...Beach Boys, Beatles, Carole King, Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, The Everly Brothers, and The Temptations. When you mix that with my classical piano and choral training I think you can hear where my style comes from. I like things that are fun and hard. ... more

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