I recorded the song “That’ll Do” when I was part of a vocal quartet called At The Movies many years ago with fellow singers Nina Vansuch and Michael Ricca plus singer/pianist/arranger Brian Patton.
All the songs we performed were related in some way to the film industry.
If you are curious, you can click here for a link to the CD we made together called Reel One.
“That’ll Do” appeared in a movie called Babe: Pig In The City — which was a sequel to the movie Babe.
Both of them featured extraordinarily well-trained animal actors plus a few human actors who illuminate heart-breaking lessons about ostracism and community, betrayal and faith, love and loss.
“That’ll Do” was written by Randy Newman — who has crafted songs and soundtracks for a bunch of movies including the Pixar Toy Story series.
And it was originally sung by Peter Gabriel — who is also a great songwriter as well as a globally-engaged rock musician.
I love the wisdom of this song.
It feels like an antidote to many of the forces wreaking havoc on our cultural, political, and environmental landscapes these days.
How easy it can be to overlook the gentle power of kindness…
In an age of instant gratification, how reassuring to be reminded of the value of perseverance.
My mind immediately connects the concepts of steadiness and balance with boats — canoes, kayaks, row boats, and sail boats.
One doesn’t want to tip too far to the right OR to the left — unless one wants to capsize.
And one has to communicate and cooperate with any other beings (human, dog, cat — yes, our family even took our cats sailing with us on occasion) on the vessel, or else everyone aboard runs the risk of capsizing.
Space exploration notwithstanding, for the foreseeable future planet earth is our shared vessel, our shared home, our shared ark.
And some of us (almost all HUMAN beings) are making choices each and every day that are tipping ALL of us closer and closer to some epic/epoch capsizings.
What choices could each of us make differently which might lead us back in the direction of balance?
How might we live more simply?
How might we consume fewer shared resources?
“That’ll Do” reminds me somehow of social justice, too — of folks who are brave enough to show up and engage in non-violent social protests.
I am pretty sure steadiness is a hallmark of non-violent protest.
As is kindness.
I also appreciate that “That’ll Do” doesn’t espouse perfection as a goal.
The next blog post I write, or music class I lead, or song I create doesn’t have to be perfect.
I do not need to be cowed into inactivity by the powerful illusion of perfection.
Finally, “That’ll Do” reminds me of the humble — yet powerful — concepts of “enough” and “gratitude.”
I am grateful for the extraordinary blessings of today — such as the hundreds of people who work to bring food to my table, water to my faucets, power to my electrical devices, and peace to my neighborhood.
What I have right now is more than enough!
I am grateful to Michael Ricca, Nina Vansuch and Brian Patton for the hundreds of hours we spent rehearsing, performing, and eating home-cooked dinners together.
I am grateful to Randy Newman for writing so many terrific songs, and to Peter Gabriel for putting his heart into the original recording of this song, and to the extraordinary cast and crew of the Babe movies.
I am also grateful to Pixabay for most of the images in this blog post.
And I am grateful to you for reading and listening to another blog post.
Let’s show up with a kind and steady heart… and see what happens.
You have a lovely Voice Will. I never knew Gabriel (big fan) sang this song. Beautiful sentiments Yor M8 P
Thank you for listening, Paul! I am not sure how Peter came to sing “That’ll Do” as part of the second BABE movie, but it was a great marriage of his voice and his heart and Randy’s song…
Your words soothe my heart. I need to hear this wisdom and kindness again and again.
Thank you, Will.
You are welcome, dear man. We ALL need to be reminded of this wisdom and kindness again and again. I hope YOU are getting some down time in Truro (aka heaven on earth) this summer.
Another lovely post and song, Will.
THANK YOU for returning to read and listen, merrildsmith. I appreciate you making time to do this when you could be writing more beautiful and thought-provoking poems!
You’re very welcome, Will. 🙂
I just love your words, Will, and all that you say. Your message of patience and kindness is expressed in the best of ways. Of course music is at the core, as it should be. And your song is beautiful. Thank you so much! 🙂
Thanks, Jennie!!! I have been reading your recent posts avidly as I prepare to return to my music classroom next month. Hurrah for patience and kindness!!!
You are welcome, Will! Yes, hurrah for patience and kindness. 😀
Thank you Will for your kind and beautiful words. 🙏
You are very welcome! I have a sense that kindness might be something that many/most of us can strive to embody at least once or twice each day. It could be as simple as letting someone cut into one’s lane of traffic on the highway…
You’re a wise man, Will McMillan . . . .
I aspire to wisdom, KerryCan. Not sure if I ever achieve it… I think we human beings often teach want we most want to learn. THANK YOU for reading and listening to yet another post!
This is so very wonderful. I’m sending a link to Ceresa, my second cousin I was telling you about. She is 36 and not only in law enforcement, but has a really good singing voice. She will appreciate the beautiful clarity and perfect pitch of yours.
Your thoughts on gratitude are spot on, as well. Having a “Kind and Steady Heart” is definitely the cure for what ails us all in this polarized nation. However, most of us who were around in the ’60s and early ’70s remember an even more tumultuous time. The bombardment of daily televised Vietnam War, added to the revolution of equality and quest for basic civil rights, was in its time more unsettling than today’s issues.
My incurable optimism tells me it won’t be long until we find unity once more. The pendulum swings but at times finds time to rest.
PS: I am glad that you have incurable optimism!!!!
This was lovely, Will, as usual. It’s good to be reminded that there are sane people like you around. And to remember the polarization of the Vietnam War and that we somehow survived.
God has given you so many gifts. Thank you for sharing your talents the way you do. The world is a better place with you in it, Will.
Thank you, Phyllis!!! Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I breath in your kind words…
Very nicely done!
Thank you for making time to read and listen. I have had some computer challenges in past months and also have not been inspired to write any new blog posts. But maybe, now that spring is returning in New England, some new blog posts will push up through the ground and flower as well…
So gorgeous, crisp yet warm. Goes straight to the heart. Bravo, Will!
Thanks, Michael. Randy Newman has written so many lovely songs…
Thank you, Will!This was just what Ineeded today! The song was beautiful (written and performed – kudos to all!) and the commentary more so! I love you, Will, and I’m grateful people like you exist in the world!
Hi Will! Just checking in to see how you’re doing. I miss your posts. 🙂
Very sweet of you to touch base, Jennie!!! My blogging life has been fallow for many months… and I am not sure exactly why. I’ve been hosting my mom a lot (she lives in CT and has come to Boston many times in 2019 for eye/ear consultations and one cataract operation at MA Eye & Ear) and that seems to absorb a fair amount of my emotional bandwidth. I have also been at sixes and sevens about my original songs — whether to put out a simple piano/vocal CD featuring a bunch of them, or to devote my time (and limited financial resources) to fleshing one song out with additional instruments so that it more closely resembles a song which one might hear on pop/folk radio? I head to the Cape this weekend to start camping for two weeks in Truro right near the beach where many Great White sharks have been spotted in recent years/months/days. I hope to write a bunch of new songs during this blessed off-the-grid time with birds and pine trees and insects and flowers and blueberry bushes and squirrels for company. Maybe that will jumpstart my desire to blog… Thank you for touching base. I truly appreciate your inquiry!!!
Just checking in to say Hi, Will. Hope all is well. Are you still teaching music?
Hi, Jenny: Yes. I led Music Together classes this summer and will resume the second week of September. I have written ten new songs…but still have no clear idea what I am going to do with them… I hope you are finding ways to recharge your personal batteries before another school year begins! It is very kind of you to touch base with me!!!
Good to hear your news, Will. I’m glad you’re teaching and writing music. Will you write on your blog? All is fine here. My school has moved for a year while the current building is being renovated. It was a major endeavor. Teachers are tired, but it will be wonderful when the children return next week. Best to you!
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Thank you again, Will.This is balm for the heart.Justin
You are very, very welcome, Justin! A delicious and peaceful and music-filled Thanksgiving to you!
Okay, there are about 115 of them. Get to work chop chop 😅
I have my work cut out for me because your blog posts inspire many comments!
Haha, let’s see how you fare