I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

April 17, 2013 - 10:25 p.m.

Great Music from A to A with a diversion to J and a few other letters

I'm exhausted so I'll be brief even though I have a lot to write about. Last night I had a special night of music, a double header at Joe's pub; two for the price of well two. First up was Anas Mitchell. even when I'm trying to be brief and have so much music to write about I have to start with a tale of Horvendile in Anxietyland. A few weeks ago Erika asked me if I were going. I said of course. She hadn't bought her ticket yet and I told her to wait while I looked up where my seat was so that perhaps we could sit together. Joe's Pub uses the will call system for tickets bought online. I figured there would be an email confirmation from them telling me where my seat was. I checked my emails and couldn't find it. I did all kinds of searches. "Anas Mitchell." "Joe's Pub", "Ticket," "confirmation." all proved fruitless. Erika just bought her ticket and I started worrying that I hadn't bought my ticket like I thought I had. I said to myself that I better call them the next day and find out. But once the anxiety started it built. I couldn't call the next day, or the next, or the day after that. In fact I never called. Yesterday was the day of the show and I didn't know if I had a ticket. I arranged to meet Erika at Starbucks before the show. I got there early and went to Joe's pub and tried to nonchalantly pick up my ticket though I was anxious that I didn't have a ticket. I gave my last name, the guy at the window looked through the box of tickets and quickly found a ticket, He said, "Nash?" I said "Yes!" and he gave it to me. I was so relieved. I went to look at where I was sitting. I saw the name on the ticket, "Adam Nash." it wasn't my ticket! I could have just taken it but I couldn't do that. I went back to the window and told them it wasn't my ticket. He looked in the box, there was no ticket there. then he fiddled with a computer. He asked my name. And guess what, I was on the computer and he printed out the ticket. I had no reason to be nervous. I really had bought the ticket the day they went on sale. I went to meet Erika and had a very nice time with her. Then we went back to Joe's Pub and she picked up her ticket. We were sitting in the same area, the front of the dais but not together. I decided to sit with her till someone came to sit in the seat next to her. A woman came very quickly but she was alone. We traded seats, she ended up with my better seat but I got to sit with Erika. That was well worth it.

The opening act was Robert Sarazin Blake. That's a memorable name and I knew that I knew him but didn't know from where. I just did some research on my blog. I first met him on Election Day 2008. I went down to Philly to work for Obama. He walked by even though he's from Washington. We chatted, I found out he was a musician, he found out about the Budgiedome, and he gave me a CD. You can read about that here, Age of Obama

Then I ran into him again last year when Carey visited and we went to see Rachel Ries. He was on the Bill with her. Rachel has worked with Anas . Here's that story You're a Mean Old Daddy But I LIke You Fine

It turns out that Robert introduced Anas to Jefferson. Somewhere in there Mike and Ruthy were intermediaries. it's a very small world.

The show was the CD release for Jefferson and Anas's "Child Ballads." That is not ballads for children but a 5 volume set of ballads collected by Francis James Child in the 19th Century. I've known about project from the very start. I was there the first time Anas saw Jefferson perform right here in Brooklyn. She had hired him to play guitar, found out he was a singer songerwriter and had him open for her. She had no idea what he was like and sat with me during his set and was very impressed by him. So was I, and that was the seed of their collaboration. Next time I saw them, not long thereafter they told me about recording the ballads.

Most people think of Anas as a brilliant songwriter. She's is. She's so brilliant that it has overshadowed her talent as a performer. This proves that she's star caliber even when she doesn't write. She and Jefferson have tremendous chemistry and perform as a unit. It isn't two people who happen to play with each other. The show was amazing. I know at the end of the year I'll consider it one of the best. I am sure it will be one of my top albums of the year. I'm listening now; pure genius. Erika appreciated it exactly as I do. That made it even better It was a perfect show.

After the show Erika and I went out to talk to Anas and Jefferson and buy the album. Erika went home and I stayed to go to the second show, Amy Speace with The Sea The Sea. Between the shows I met some friends who were in the audience for Anas. There was Jeff and Karen who stayed for Amy and and and OK I'm incredibly sleep deprived and can't for the life of me remember who. Im pretty sure a few were great musicians too. If it was you let me know. Don't be insulted. I'm an idiot. We all know that. Oh I should mention that I also knew the fiddler that played with Anas and Jefferson, Stephanie Coleman. I just met her in the last few months when I saw her at two different shows, one at the Museum of American Folk Art and the other at Jalopy. I thought that would trigger my memory I wouldn't. All I have is the emotional memory of liking the person or was it people very much on both a personal and artistic level.

I do know I also ran into Gene & Isabel. I knew they'd be there for the late show. The Sea the Sea has played their house. They were with Chuck E. Costa from the duo. I was comped for that show and was sitting with Natalia Zuckerman. I know her but not as well as Gene and Isabel, as the seat next to them was open I joined them. It was exactly the same seat I had for Anas . And who sat in front of us? Chicks with dip, Catherine, Carolann, and Honor. It really is a small world. So once again I found myself sitting with my closest friends in the audience. Once again there was a fantastic show. Chuck and Mira only did three songs but then they became part of Amy's band. I first met Chuck when he opened for Amy at the Hurdy Gurdy on Amy's birthday maybe 5 years ago. It isn't a small world, it's a microscopic one. It's going to get smaller. Amy's is actually a double album, How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat. The first song she sang was a cover, Stark as Stone. Who wrote it? Honor! I knew about that well before the album was recorded, Amy told me then I discussed it with Honor. Everyone I know, knows everyone else I know. Guess what, judging by what I heard at the show How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat will be a favorite album of the year too. About 5 years ago I made list of 5 singer/songwriters that hadn't been discovered, that played only small venues, that I thought were truly exceptional and that in a just world would make it big. Two of them were Anas and Amy. I was delighted that they now were both playing a larger more prestigious venue. I was kvelling.

After the show I should have raced home, I had to get up at 4 AM today but of course I didn't. I had to buy Amy's CD and I talked to Eliot who was in the audience, Mira, Amy, and the Chicks. Carolann had to kick, me out and send me on my way home. I walked to the subway with Eliot. I didn't get home to close to one. I didn't fall asleep till after 2. I was up before 4. I got about an hour and a half sleep. But I had an easy day today. I volunteered at WfUV for 12 hours. I am not going to even touch that. I'll write more about it tomorrow.

I wish I could write more about the music last night. I haven't given it justice. I was in awe. I can't believe that I know such amazingly talented people. This isn't a matter of being good. These aren't the best CDs of people I know. These are the best CDs by anyone. There is nobody I hear on WFUV or see at Festivals that is any better than they are. OK maybe Richard Thompson is better but that's about it. Most of what I hear on WFUV can't hold a candle to them. I was in pain today but it was worth it and I would do it again in a second. I just regret that I'm not seeing Anas and Jefferson again tonight. They are doing a second show at Joe's pub.

Now I want to get to sleep. I'll go as soon as the album is over. I'll listen to Amy tomorrow.

WooHoo, I remember who the musicians I met after the Anais show are, Jean Rohe and Ilusha Tsinadze. I also forgot that Kathryn sat at the table with the chicks. Whew.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile April 17, 2013
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