“Sixty is Just Alright”

It’s a good time to polish up friendships, love family, forgive, thank and bless.

So I turned sixty, and for some reason the people around me celebrated for a week.  I know with Ebola, the Ukraine, ISIS  and Israel causing the end-of-the-worlders to crank out their book my firthday isn’t a big deal globally, but it has been to me.

Sixty is alright for sure.

Over the last five years I have laid to rest a close friend, a father-in-law (who was a second father to me) and a mentor and colleague I have known for 21 years and was my predecessor.  The Shadow has been around lately.  I have grandchildren.  There is likely more life behind than before me years-wise.  You know—morbidity hangs around.  Joints ache a little more.

You’ve poured a lot of concrete by sixty.  Decisions, patterns, character, and events harden into tracks out of which it’s hard to escape.  On the other hand, those same tracks give a certain comfort and stability to life.  It’s hard to break them up.

The upside has surprised me, though.  A certain amount of “I just don’t care about that anymore.”  I don’t care very much at all what others think about what I think.  I don’t need to correct them all the time.  I have dragged all my failings and weaknesses and contradictions along with me.  The point at sixty is to simply admit them.  The notion that “I’m going to get rid of that someday” doesn’t come around often.  You learn to live with it.

Taking care of my relationships matters more.  Family, my late father-in-law said last August at the beach, our last hurrah before his final slide, is hands down the best part of life.  I agree.  It’s a good time to polish up friendships, love family, forgive, thank and bless.  You pretty well know you won’t change the world.  You see bright young leaders coming along to take up the world and it is good to start letting them.  I am so proud of my family, I love them and they know it.   There’s still a lot of good work ahead, though, revising, editing, writing books that have been sitting in the computer, songs to write, giving what you have to the next generation to consider.

Sixty in theology is the prime of life.  You actually start to know some things.  Life experience is rich and full.  A few months ago I did decide to shed pounds and get into shape—didn’t want to go into the next decade old and tired and with high blood pressure, and I’ve taken up walking again with a vengeance and shed a lot of weight.  I feel good.  Musically, I’m in a great place.  I’m past 100 songs written, learned a lot, don’t have any delusions about my craft or goals.  I love playing with one friend or by myself as much as performing—maybe more.  I love writing.  The strands are coming together.

So I posted the other day, after I got the third birthday cake of the week, this: “Sixty is just alright with me.”  It is.  Feel

Younger, faster, more sure, dumber me.
Younger, faster, more sure, dumber me.

old if you want to, but that’s about other people, or some of that stuff you dragged here with you.  “Is” is all there ever is.  I want to stay there more often instead of “was” or “what if?’

I decided to compile a playlist for myself called SIXTY.  It turned out to be 120 songs, 2 per year.  These songs represent my musical, spiritual and personal journey.  Some are meaningful as a marker of something, or a time of my life.  Some were a turning point musically, others an influence.  These people have populated my soul journey—Shades Mountain Air, Kate Campbell, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and a lot of relatively unknown names.  The list would be different every year of my life, so there’s nothing much to read into it.

So far, so good.  I feel grateful.  I’m letting go of some dreams that weren’t mine to begin with.  I’m asking, “What is here for me?”  So, xixty is just alright with me.

Hope yours is good for you.  Hey, if you’re curious, I’ve attached my SIXTY songlist.  No hymns–could have done 120 of those alone.  No classical.  Again, another list of 120.  Some of my songs are on here, as are Shades Mountain Air.  It’s my list.  Hope you like it.  If not, well, you have a delete button and you know what to do with it.


SIXTY    song-album-artist

1 Arizona 4:19            Driving With You Meg Tennant
2 Ave Maria 5:02        Slade Stomp Beppe Gambetta     LISTEN CLICK HERE   
3 Awakening 3:56       Once In A Red Moon Secret Garden
4 Away Down the River [#] 5:43       A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection Alison Krauss
5 Baby It’s Allright 3:03          If You Could Read My Mind Gordon Lightfoot
6 Bad Moon Rising 2:22         Chronicle, Vol. 1 Creedence Clearwater Revival

7 Bad Road 3:27 13    Ozark Mountain Daredevils

8 Be Still and Know 7:52       Invitation to Silence Lynda Poston-Smith
9 Birmingham 2:21      The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 2 [… Randy Newman
10 Black Sky 3:08       Ozark Mountain Daredevils Ozark Mountain Daredevils
11 Blessed 5:49          Blessed Lucinda Williams
12 Bluegrass Breakdown (Live) 3:33             Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby: Cluck … Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby
13 Broken Places 4:54            Second Skin Ashley Cleveland
14 Carolina In The Pines 3:58            Blue Sky-Night Thunder Michael Martin Murphey
15 Celtic Set 3:23       Best of Kamp Kaufman CD 2 Various
16 Cold Frosty Morning 3:28 Acoustic Rising Emory Lester/Mark Johnson
17 Cold Old Middle 4:01       Live At Moonlight On the Mountain Shades Mountain Air
18 Come Together 4:20           Abbey Road The Beatles
19 Come, Ye Disconsolate 4:33         Grace Before Sleep Baylor University A Cappella Chorus
20 Consolation 4:39    Timeless Michael Dulin
21 Darling Corey (Live) 7:56             Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby: Cluck … Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby
22 Delmus Jackson 3:53         Moonpie Dreams Kate Campbell
23 Dill Pickle Rag 1:26          Foundation: Doc Watson Guitar Instru… Doc Watson
24 Dublin Blues 4:19              Dublin Blues Guy Clark
25 Earthbound 4:25     Fate’s Right Hand Rodney Crowell
26 Elk River Blues 3:33         The Littlest Birds The Littlest Birds
27 Epitaph Including March For No Reaso… 8:48     In The Court Of The Crimson King King Crimson
28 Every Breath You Take 4:14          Synchronicity The Police
29 Father, Mother 5:16 Legacy           Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band
30 Fields Of Gold 3:42           Ten Summoner’s Tales Sting
31 Fire and Rain 3:26                         Greatest Hits James Taylor
32 Gadget Daddy 2:21            Intrepid Jim Hurst
33 Galveston Flood 3:29        Tony Rice Plays And Sings Bluegrass Tony Rice
34 Ghost Train 1:57    Delusion Of Banjer Bad Livers
35 The Gift Of Mercy 5:11     Laugh For A Million Years Pat Terry
36 God Believes In You 2:25             Everything Matters Pierce Pettis
37 Harvest Moon 5:05            Harvest Moon Neil Young
38 Have You Seen Her 5:11   1970 Chilites
39 Daddy Never Said    permanent world of pretend   Gary Furr
40 Hurt 3:39    American IV: The Man Comes Around Johnny Cash
41 I Am A Town 5:07             Come On Come On Mary Chapin Carpenter
42 I’m Looking Through You 2:26                   Rubber Soul The Beatles
43 Im So Lonesome I Could Cry 4:36             Gary and Dad
44 Jackson 3:43          Car Wheels on a Gravel Road Lucinda Williams
45 Jesus and Mama 3:23         Confederate Railroad Confederate Railroad
46 Joyful Medley 3:31            Live At Moonlight On the Mountain Shades Mountain Air
47 Kindness 2:42        Turning Point David Wilcox
48 Lady Be Good 3:00            The Best of Django Reinhardt Django Reinhardt
49 Lay Lady Lay 3:20 Dylan Bob Dylan
50 Layla (40th Anniversary / 2010 Remaste… 7:04               Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs [… Derek & The Dominos
51 Let’s Stay Together 3:21     Al Green
52 Lonely People 2:30            The Complete Greatest Hits America
53 Losing You 2:44     The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 2 [… Randy Newman
54 Love Is A Rose 2:47          Greatest Hits Linda Ronstadt
55 Make You Feel My Love 3:33       Dylan Bob Dylan
56 Meditation 7:52      Meditation Lynda Poston-Smith
57 Moonlight Waltz 3:38        Jethro Burns with Tiny Moore Jethro Burns with Tiny Moore
58 The Moon’s s Harsh Mistress 3:05             Judith Judy Collins
59 The More Things Change 3:56       Shooting Straight In The Dark Mary Chapin Carpenter
60 A Mother’s Love 3:40        Follow The River Michael Dulin
61 My Last Days on Earth 4:39           The Music of Bill Monroe Disc 4 Bill Monroe
62 My Sweet Lady 4:25          Poems, Prayers & Promises John Denver
63 The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down … 3:33               The Band The The Band
64 No One Knows My Name 3:16      Soul Journey Gillian Welch
65 North Carolina Breakdown 2:52    Banjo Talkin’ Cathy Fink
66 The Old Crossroads 2:44   Skaggs and Rice Ricky Skaggs
67 Old Dan’s Records 3:04     Gord’s Gold Gordon Lightfoot
68 Old Train 2:19       Creators Of Urban Bluegrass The Seldom Scene
69 Only Love Can Break Your Heart 3:09      After The Gold Rush Neil Young
70 Orange Blossom Special 5:25        Live At Moonlight On the Mountain Shades Mountain Air
71 Overload of Bad News Blues 5:41            Overload of Bad News Blues Jon Jassy, Jim Dooley
72 Overload of Bad News Blues 4:51            Live At Moonlight On the Mountain Shades Mountain Air
73 Paperback Writer 2:19       Past Masters, Vol. 2 The Beatles
74 Pitkin County Turnaround 2:26      The Crow: New Songs For the Five-Stri… Steve Martin
75 Polly 4:25 Through The Morning, Through The Ni… Dillard & Clark
76 Ramblin’ Man 4:50             Allman Brothers Allman Brothers
77 Red Eyes On A Mad Dog 2:44       The Family The Del McCoury Band
78 Redwood Hill 2:52            Summer Side Of Life Gordon Lightfoot
79 The Rights of Man / Ya Fama 6:09            Throw Down Your Heart – Africa Sessio… Béla Fleck
80 River Crossing 1:22           True Grit Carter Burwell
81 The Road Not Taken 7:07              Scenes From the Southside Bruce Hornsby & the Range
82 Roxburghe House 2:56       Arbroath Suite Unplugged Laura Mcghee
83 Sally Goodin 8:31              Unit Of Measure Tony Rice Unit
84 Salt Creek 3:51      Tony Rice Guitar Tony Rice
85 Scotland 1:55         The Music of Bill Monroe Disc 2 Bill Monroe
86 Simple Twist Of Fate 4:18             Blood On The Tracks Bob Dylan
87 Sneaking up on Boo Radley 5:16               Spirit Trail Disc 1 Bruce Hornsby
88 Someplace Green 3:57       Laugh For A Million Years Pat Terry
89 The Song Remembers When 3:56 All the Way On Hugh Prestwood
90 The Soul’s Desire 3:46       Live At Moonlight On the Mountain Shades Mountain Air
91 Standin’ on the Rock 3:54               Ozark Mountain Daredevils Ozark Mountain Daredevils
92 Standing in the Doorway 7:43        Time Out of Mind Bob Dylan
93 The Suit 4:24          All the Way On Hugh Prestwood
94 Sunlight Moon 4:20            Spirit Trail Disc 2 Bruce Hornsby
95 Sweet Georgia Brown 3:09           Souvenirs Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli
96 Sweet Georgia Brown 1:59           Doc & Dawg Doc Watson & David Grisman
97 Sweet Home Alabama 4:43           All Time Greatest Hits Lynyrd Skynyrd
98 Take Me Home To The Sweet Sunny So… 2:53                The Early Years A J.E. Mainer
99 Take Me Home, Country Roads 3:10         Poems, Prayers & Promises John Denver
100 Talk About Suffering 3:29            Gary Allison Furr
101 Tangled Up In Blue 5:43              Blood On The Tracks Bob Dylan
102 This Old Guitar 5:33        Prairie Wind Neil Young
103 This Shirt 3:51     State of the Heart Mary Chapin Carpenter
104 The Tide Will Rise 3:55 Harbor Lights Bruce Hornsby
105 Time To Go Inward 5:23             Fate’s Right Hand Rodney Crowell
106 Up On Cripple Creek (Alternate Take) (… 4:55 The Band The The Band
107 Wagon Wheels 7:03         What It Is Gary Allison Furr
108 Wake Up 5:35      Funeral Arcade Fire
109 Walls 3:41           The Mystery Tommy Emmanuel
110 Waterbound 2:53              Time Again Dirk Powell
111 Watermelon 3:17              Overload of Bad News Blues Gary Furr
112 Wheel Hoss 2:22              The Music of Bill Monroe Disc 2 Bill Monroe
113 Whenever You Come Around 4:19          When Love Finds You Vince Gill
114 White-Wheeled Limousine 5:28               Hot House Bruce Hornsby
115 Wildfire 4:49       Blue Sky-Night Thunder Michael Martin Murphey
116 Words Fail 3:52               Live At Moonlight On the Mountain Shades Mountain Air
117 Your’re No Good 3:45     Greatest Hits Linda Ronstadt
118 You’ve Got a Friend 4:33             Greatest Hits James Taylor
119 10 Degrees & Getting Colder 2:42          Summer Side Of Life Gordon Lightfoot
120 #19 (Album Version) 4:15           Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II Aphex Twin

Published by

Gary Furr

Gary is a musician, writer and Christian minister living in Alabama.

4 thoughts on ““Sixty is Just Alright””

  1. Hey Gary, Great post and I loved your list of songs. I counted over 40 that I either have or have had. Everyone would have a different list, but two of my favorites not on your list were Hey Jude by the Beatles and Rainy Day Women by Bob Dylan. Two performer omissions that I would include in my list would be songs by Van Morrison and Cowboy Junkies. (I recall that Philip was also a Van Morrison fan.)

  2. Great reflections at 60 – I’ll soon be there myself. Love the idea of a playlist! I enjoyed looking over the songs you picked. Several of them I said, “Yeah, I was there, too!” Wonderful way to look back.

  3. Happy Belated Birthday and welcome to the ranks. Should of known you are a Gordon Lightnfoot fan. One of my favs from back in the day.
    Loved the post and your reflections.

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