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
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
March 23, 2017 - 10:06 p.m.
I didn't write yesterday. Sorry about that. I could have but I didn't get enough sleep which led to me taking a nap, and I wanted to watch The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow and I was going out. and never had time for it. I'm making up for it by starting writing at 9:08. That would be great except it's PM. I spent most of my day traveling. I'll tell the tale of that tomorrow. Now I have to write about yesterday which is right in my wheelhouse, music and friend.
Ages ago Kevin asked me if I wanted to see Aoife O'Donovan and Julian Lage & Chris "Critter" Eldridge in Connecticut on March 22. I of course said yes. I am even on the way so he could pick me up. I took the bus over to the mainland to make it easier but that's no big deal. So off we drove to Fairfield CT; It's only 45 minutes away. Considering that we drove over two hours to see Crooked Still, Aoife's old band, in Hudson NY, this was nothing.
I often lament that my friends don't go to see Aoife. Kevin is the most obvious exception. There are others. He's one of the great people to road trip with. We were talking economics and said, "You are my only friend that I can expect to know what basis points are. Anyone else out there? I do know two others but one lives very far away and never see and the other I don't see as often.
We ended up making good time and got there early. I didn't expect to see anyone I knew there. Even in New York I don't expect to see anyone I knew, certainly not in CT. We walk in the door and who is the first one I see? Lucas. Aoife has played at his house. He's Amy's son, it's The House of Love. I knew he liked the performers of course, Critter has played at his house too. Not sure about Julian. But he lives in Brooklyn, that's quite a bit more than twice as far as where I live. I was surprised that Lucas and Kevin didn't know each other. Almost all my musical overlap with one is with the other too. They are on a first name basis with so many of the same people. Kevin's been to the House of Love. I always say it's a small world and comment on people knowing each other. In this case the world is bigger than it should be. I only knew two people but they make up in quality what they lacked in quantity. Kevin knew two more people there, his parents. That was not pre-arranged. They bought the tickets separately.
Now for the music. I can describe it in one word that sums it all up, "Wow!" First Aoife did a set, then Julian & Critter, then they did a set all together. That took it to a new height. They all know each other. I know Critter through Kristin who I know through Aoife. It's a tight group. But they don't play together. They didn't practice much for this either, they are just such great musicians that they can collaborate on the fly. I'm jealous of all musical talent but especially that one.
I'm guessing more of My Gentle Readers know Aoife, at least by name. Of course, some of you are thinking A-Oh-fe? No, it's the Irish form of Eve. Thing Eva but with the unvoiced f instead of a voiced v. The Irish spell weird just to be difficult. Aoife is a singer, a great singer. She now plays guitar but in the early days of Crooked Still she didn't play when performing. That doesn't mean she didn't play an instrument. She played her voice, and that's how it should be thought of. When someone says, singers aren't musicians they highlight their own ignorance, not a lack of talent of singers. It's so much more than having a pretty voice. You've heard me do that rant before.
Critter and Julian are both virtuosi on the acoustic guitar. Half their pieces are instrumental and half are songs, with singing. They take turns playing lead and rhythm often switching back and forth on the same piece. I almost wrote "same song." I've heard people say that it's not a song if it's an instrumental. I have heard conservatory musicians say it. I heard Critter say it last night. But I still want to call it a song. Is Tequila a song? Does that one word change it? Are any musicians still talking to me? Good thing Aoife and Critter aren't on Facebook. Julian might be but I don't know him personally so he's not my Facebook friend so he won't read this either.
Hey it's March so I can say it. This was a special show. An unusually high percentage of the shows I've been to this year have been special. After the show, I asked Lucas if he ever gets angry that everyone doesn't appreciate how great what we just heard was. Why don't I see more of my friends when I see these people? Why aren't they playing larger venues? Maybe now that they are semi-regulars on Prairie Home Companion they will. Remember I said you might not know Critter by name? You'll know his main band, the Punch Brothers. This summer there is going to be a can't miss tour of the Punch Brothers with I'm with Her. The latter is the trio of Aoife, Sarah Jarosz, and Sara Watkins. I call them Aoife and the Sarai. You don't have to give me that look when I engage in my love of special plurals. It's a strange love but haven't we learned by now to not judge people based on the object of their affection?
Sadly, the only New York area show is during Falcon Ridge so I can't go. Kevin can't make it either. Maybe another show will be scheduled.
Now I have to watch, Arrow. Right after I make chocolate pop tarts. Yeah, there's food again.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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