Novo Amor – Keep Me

First Friend

I started writing this blog about a year and a half ago. My intention has been to explore the emotions that I share with music. I want to understand the power of music and writing is a part of my process. When I write about the magic I find in music, it helps me to understand more of myself. I am writing my truth and by doing that I will leave a trail that describes the magic of music.

“Novo Amor’s” latest album, “Cannot Be, Whatsoever” has been an anthem for my life these last few weeks, such a beautiful reflection of magic.   “Keep Me” is the track that has walked with me through this acknowledgement of my first friend. You should listen to it while you read this…. You’ll see what I mean…

“Keep me honest, keep me kind
Keep me as your finish line
Keep me on fire”

Christmas is a holiday that I celebrate by expressing my gratitude. I know how quickly you can miss that chance to let someone know how important they are. This Christmas I am especially grateful for my first friend. She is the best of me and the one whose been there since then… she is my sister. My first friend understands how Christmas’ were back then and how they are for us now and everything in between. Regardless of what you believe about why we celebrate this day, take the time to appreciate the ones who have made you who you are. Some of them are the reason you persist today. My friend Robbi has pushed me, she has yelled at me and she loves me completely.  She keeps me honest and she has kept me kind…

“A dose, a moment to live in
I’m hoping it stays a while in the space you were in”

Robbi came home with my mom and dad after they went to Hood River in late April of 1964, which was cool because I was born in Oregon too. In a life that has wound around every kind of twist imaginable, I am better because Robbi is my first friend. We all have a story when it comes to our first friend, sometimes it is a cousin or maybe a neighbor, often it is a sibling. No matter the circumstance, that first friend sets the tone for every friend to follow. That meeting of ours, was fifty-seven years ago and we get closer every day. We have a wealth of moments that we have lived in, doses of the harsh reality of life shared together, the spaces I have shared with Robbi are defining for me. I am who I am in large part, because of my first friend.  

We forged this friendship on the cold barren plains of Conrad Montana, that’s where we lived when I first remember hanging out with my sister, I learned to ride a bike there, on a bike that you couldn’t peddle, and it had no brakes… I went down that hill and you were yelling about how crazy it was…. I crashed hard a few times, maybe a lot of times but I learned… We met horses together, we met adventure together and we grew up together. In everything I did, my sister was there, doing it just as well. At some point I realized that I was supposed to feel defeated or less than if my “sister” was as good or even better than me? But I have never felt that way, not once. She always pushed just as hard and anything that she saw me do, she tried to exceed. We learned a lot from each other through the simple act of pushing each other. My sister is bad ass, then and now, she is a warrior, and she keeps me on fire simply because of who she is.

“So keep me, keep me on fire
Keep me, keep me on fire
Keep me honest, keep me kind
Keep me as your finish line
Keep me on fire”

I remember the day we decided to run away, I was seven and you were four…. we packed our cardboard suitcase and grabbed that old acoustic guitar and headed out. Mom just smiled and said goodbye, we made it about two hundred yards before one of us had to go pee and we had to go back, but we made a memory that afternoon…just one of the thousands we have made together.

We moved from place to place, a couple of dozen or more before I was eighteen… but it has always been the two of us. The blacksmiths forge where we always got covered in soot, the 4H projects, the paper routes, yes you took the one with the dogs. No matter where we moved or the cycle of life we ran through, there has always been Robbi and Rusty. It was just the two of us when you met me on the doorstep to tell me that our mom had died that day… that was a day that threatened to ruin us completely, but it didn’t. Instead, we made our way forward, as meandering as that was, here we are today, and it is still Robbi and Rusty, closer than ever before. Robbi has kept me on fire… last week she told me I was brave.

“I froze, and I reckon I missed it
When all of the rain came down in the shape of everything”

Novo Amor caught me completely off guard with his magic, it reminded me why I love music.  There is an allure in the music of this song. His voice, the guitar, the strings, the structure, all of it. Within this beautiful, meandering song is a beautiful joy that I road through the magical moments I saved with my first friend. Something in his voice unlocked so many days and moments I spent with you sister; all the rain came down in the shape of everything we did together.

“Keep me honest, keep me kind
Keep me as your finish line”

Who is your first friend, have you told them just how important they are to you? In a year that has seen so much loss and pain, I find it helpful to draw upon the strengths we have in being tied to others. In my own case there have been so many times that the circumstances of the day tried to rip this friendship apart, but we have survived, and it is such a strength for me. Keep me on fire my beautiful sister, you are the best of everything I have ever seen, and I am most fortunate to have been born to be your brother. Keep me…

Listening, learning, and growing…

2 thoughts on “Novo Amor – Keep Me

  1. Brother. Thank you for the beautiful walk back through memories and the start of a lifelong friendship. You were my first friend and I am so proud of and grateful for the relationship we continue to share and grow. Just one correction…it’s Rusty and Robbi. You were first, my big brother!

    We have been through a lot, together and apart, but we’ve found our way to staying curious about the journey and leading with heart (still striving over here).

    I put so much effort into keeping up with you simply because I enjoyed your company :). You (and Dad) never made me feel I had to prove anything or that I did something well “for a girl.” I love you and your love of music. Merry Christmas and thank you for the gift of your friendship!



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