The music world lost a true legend with the passing of Neil Peart last month. The drummer for Canadian rockers Rush had touched many people with his skills of perfection behind the kit, including Sgt. 1st Class Tim Whalen of the United States Army Band, also known as Pershing’s Own. The group is the major musical organization of the United States Army, founded in 1922.
According to Loudersound, the military musician, accompanied by his fellow bandmates, were moved to cover Rush’s “Time Stand Still” from the band’s 12th album, Hold Your Fire, released in 1987. The track is the first song that Peart wrote for that album. The drummer was the primary lyricist for most of the songs recorded by the band.
For Sgt. 1st Class Whalen, the lyrics of “Time Stand Still” have a special sense of humanity for him. The singer told Loudersound that he understands the song to be about life going too fast, whether people can control that or not, coupled with a wish to hold on to things for just a while longer.
“This is such a universal message, whether it be children growing up too fast, a loved one dying, or a soldier leaving home wondering if they’ll ever see their family again.”
Sgt. 1st Class Whalen is accompanied by Master Sgt. Dan Roberts on piano and Master Sgt. Holly Watters on viola. Sgt. 1st Class Chris Rettig is also on vocals with Sgt. 1st Class Zack Pride on upright bass. Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Evans and Staff Sgt. Patrick Lin are on violin, with Staff Sgt. Aaron Ludwig on Cello.
Ultimate Classic Rock observed that this orchestration provided a subtle reworking of the song, one that’s quite poignant in its absence of percussion. Roberts’ piano gently kicks off the song as Whalen’s vocals harmonize with Rettig’s at times, the song swelling to an emotional crescendo.
The original tune carries a more upbeat tempo, as bassist Geddy Lee locks into an infectious groove with Peart’s drums. When it was written, the band was suffering from a sense of isolation on the road and the sentiments of the song reflect that feeling of inertia felt by missing loved ones.
As The Inquisitr reported in January of this year, Peart passed away from brain cancer, which he’d been silently battling for the last three years. As well as drumming, Peart wrote seven non-fiction books. The drummer spent the last remaining years of his life living in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, Carrie Nuttall, and his daughter, Olivia.