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“Well this winter’s been long. It’s gone on and on. And my family is still reeling from my brother being gone. But my love for you is an old folk song

To rest my head upon.”  —“Highway Mountain Line”

Loss. It is impossible to go through life without experiencing it. Found, by Taylor Kopp, explores the darkness of loss and the beauty of grieving. Taylor Kopp is a folk musician from Oregon who lost a family member too soon, and it became a turning point in his life.

“When my brother died in 2015, I realized I couldn’t waste any more time. I saw with this intense clarity that I needed to focus on what’s real. For me that’s music, and being in the woods, and human connection.” Found becomes the vessel that Taylor Kopp uses to grieve, and he invites us to join the journey. Through his music, he extends his hand of friendship as we walk our own journeys as well. Traveling together suddenly feels less lonely knowing we are connected through life’s joys and sorrows.

Many songs on Found are intimately connected to the loss of Taylor Kopp’s brother. He explains that songs like “A Dream I Had” and “High Desert Nights” “were a literal part of my grieving process and continue to be every time I play and sing them.” He goes on to admit that these two songs were the hardest to write and record. Other songs on Found include vivid metaphors that describe the mixture of emotions found in grief.

Kopp empathizes with others around him. “Hometown Kid” explores the struggles of an alcoholic realizing big parts of life he has lost. “Shields of Mahogany” unpack the lives of traveling musicians, full of joyous moments but at the cost of stability. “California” captures common questions of grief. “Is this all that there is to the life that we get? I refuse to believe it to be.”

The music itself transforms Kopp from stranger to friend. His voice is soft and courageous as he shares parts of his journey. The warm acoustic guitar accompanies most tracks and allows there to be gaps for reflection. Time is given to sit together without the need to speak. When we are ready, Kopp shares more. And when words are no longer adequate to communicate the depth of feeling, like on “The Dream I Had,” the saxophone takes over. Musical space is given for us to absorb the depth of what we are hearing.

Christians often struggle to understand how to journey through loss. Yet one of the first words Jesus taught his disciples was the mysterious beatitude: “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matt. 5:4, NLT). Found illustrates how humans can grieve together well.  Start by being honest and courageous about one’s own loss and then extend a hand of friendship to strangers who also have lost. The journey is much more bearable together. (INDEPENDENT)

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