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The Power of Music   Print

by Leigh Weimers
San Jose Mercury News
May 18, 1998

The grinding car crash almost four years ago left one person dead and Scotts Valley artist Michael Cramer in a deep coma with serious brain injuries. "The doctors said he had only a 5% chance of recovery," recalls Cramer's mother Jody. But her son was a big Joni Mitchell fan--he'd collected all the singer's CDs and videos-- so Jody brought a boom box into the hospital room and played Mitchell's music constantly. "We had to have some way to reach him." she explains. After two months, Michael began to regain consciousness, a flickering eyelid here, a finger twitch there. Eventually, he was able to scribble a note--"I love Joni Mitchell"-- but it took 22 more months of hospitalization before enough of his aculties had returned to allow him to return home.

Now 26 and painting again, he'll be in his wheelchair in the front row Tuesday night at the SJ Arena when Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison perform. Efforts have been made to let Mitchell know that he will be there. "He'd like to give her a painting in thanks," Jody says. "She might not realize the effect that music can have sometimes." Perhaps she does now.

 

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