The Catcher in the Rye

I’ve been haunted by a song recently. Okay, that is so cliché. But, it sounds bad to say it’s been bugging me. The song, “The Catcher in the Rye,” is on Bryan Steel’s debut CD, Of Roots & Restlessness. (You can hear 2 minutes of the song by clicking on “store” URL on his website.)

See, I’ve been playing this CD over and over again in my car, wanting to let the words sink in and stir up. And my mind hit a speed bump with this song, on the meaning of the title of Salinger’s book. I think I get a feel for what Steel is saying in this song, because I read the book (I think everyone my age had to in junior high), and I remember Holden Caufield. What I don’t remember is to what did the title of the book refer? So, I used the Internet.

First, I found that the book is still taught, at least in Long Island public schools. Elsewhere, I found the reference. In chapter 16, Holden hears a little boy singing, over and over again. “If a body catch a body coming through the rye.” This is a kid’s misquote of the Robert Burns Poem “Comin Thro’ the Rye,” which — no surprise, it’s the Internet — you can read and listen to here. There’s even an explanation of the reference in the book.

Okay, this has been way off course. Check out Bryan’s CD. It is a winner.

I just posted a review on the “store” site:
Haunting, real, troubling in a good sort of way.

Steel’s words leave me thoughtful and sometimes troubled. His music carries me along as I listen. Like a section of a really good book that I enjoy rereading, I find my hand going to the “replay” button. I think… “I wonder if he was thinking of this person when he wrote that?” And then, “But, it is me. How did he know?” Hey. It hurts. Hey. Don’t stop. I need it.

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