At it again, Edo Peled’s Electric Ego has pulled my heart strings once more in this, my favourite of all his tracks, By My Side. I’ve had the incredible privilege of singing this song by his side every couple of weeks at my open mic at The Black Irish in downtown Toronto while he hammers away on our not-so-well-tuned, honky tonk upright, but in spite of the off keys, Peled never fails to break my heart in the most fulfilling way; there is nothing quite so like being next to this man when he passionately plays, sweetly sings, and belts his heart out for all to see. Everyone attuned to that kind of musical feeling, I think, experiences at least a sliver of the heartbreak he himself has written about here.
Hearing the polished version of this song threw me a bit at first, I have to admit. Much more subdued, and without the harmony I imposed on him after hearing the song a few times live, and with a slight lyric change, Edo carries the track in an ethereal way that I’ve never quite heard from him before. Lost, and lonely, scared but searching; battered, but not quite broken, he soars upon a darkening cloud; still buoyant, but inching closer and closer to the fall.
Caught up in fading memories, unable to rest peacefully without her “by [his] side”, all he can hope is to at least conjure up dreams of the love he lost, or find a new life in the heart of another, but the conflict of dwelling on the love lost, and the idea of finding that love elsewhere leads to the crux of the song that “it’s all so wrong”. Any hopeless romantic will instantly understand the quandary of pining for the love you had, knowing that loneliness may be wiser, but searching for that same love in someone new because, “you can’t get back to be alone”.
Musically, this song is beautifully simple with Peled’s (in tune) piano keeping pace, as the wonderful cello work of Natasha Jaffe weeps so gorgeously, and heart-wrenchingly all over; one of my most favourite instruments, pulling even harder on those strings in my heart.
Though there is nothing quite like the live performance, do check this track out HERE because it is more than worth it, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll stumble into a bar and be as lucky as I to have had Edo Peled playing By My Side.