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 02, 2017 - 11:44 a.m.
Remember how I said that I wouldn't get over to WFUV to see drop CDs off for John Platt. I was right. See, I know my limitations. I will make it today. I can feel the groove.
I didn't do that but I did succeed in making dinner early enough so I could eat at home before going out to see Rebecca Loebe. She just released a new album, Blink. The show was at 10:00 and I got there at 9:30. I was not surprised to find Deni talking to Gene and Damon. I knew they would be there. This is really odd; Isabel was there too and I never talked to her. How did that happen? Isabel I owe you hugs.
I did the merch so I went down with Rebecca and Luke Jackson; she's touring with him. It was the last show of the night in Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 so I set up merch downstairs instead of upstairs like usual. That works out so much better. People don't have to search for me.
I set up the merch as they sound checked. Boy they are easy. They are both one person with a guitar and it took no time at all. They had a new sound person, Katie; Gordon is gone. That's sad. I liked having a namesake there.
Luke was up first. He had an English accent a bit different than I've heard. I asked him "Specifically, where are you from?" It's Canterbury. I resisted saying, "You must have a tale to tell." He and Becca first met at Folk Alliance and got close when they were both at a songwriting retreat in a castle on the east coast of England. One part of that might not be the truth but it's what Becca said.
Now comes the part where I must explain that I'm a tough audience. Sure, he's friends with Rebecca but that doesn't mean he's good. When artists play together it's sometimes because they like each other has people. Sometimes musicians will think another musician is good because they mastered some technical skill. My expectations are always mediocrity. Musicians are mundane until proven special. One song in I leaned over to Rebecca and said, "He's great!" She kvelled over him with that validation that comes with a friend seeing what you see. I rarely discuss a singer's voice as a reason to like them. I never say it about a male singer. Evolution has something to do with that. Luke has voice that is the exception to the rule. Of course, that is not enough to keep me interested. He can sing, that is quite different from having a beautiful voice. Many of his songs are of types that more closely associate with men with gravely voices, that cognitive dissonance adds to the appeal. The exception was his cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water; that's the kind of song you associate with that kind of singing. He can play the guitar. He can write songs. There's variety to his songs. He has funny patter. He hits everything on the check list. Keep an eye out for him next time he crosses the pond.
Rebecca joined him on a song then she stayed on the stage and he left. She did every song on Blink in order. I love album release shows like that. She explained the genesis of the songs, I love that. She didn't explain what the songs are about, musicians should never do that. If the song doesn't tell you that then it isn't finished.
Rebecca is great enough to get all of us out there at 10 PM on a weekday. The weekday isn't an issue for me but the time is as the bus to City Island stops running. But I couldn't miss a chance to see her. Just seeing her on stage makes me happy. She is insanely talented and is delightful. I could talk about her voice or songwriting but I can put it all together in one observation. I can give her songs my total attention for the length of the songs. There are some musicians, some successful musicians that can't hold my attention for 30 seconds.
This album was more personal than previous work, her Blood on the Tracks so to speak. I must admit, there was one song I didn't focus on the entire time. The genesis story is that she wrote it while having an argument on whether to make scrambled or fried eggs. That got me lost in planning today's breakfast. I just got lost there again. OK I'm back.
I sold more merch than I expected as most of the people there had preordered the CD. Once I heard him I knew sell some by Luke. I was disappointed that I didn't sell any coloring books, I said coloring books. The songbook to accompany Blink has an illustration for each song that you color in. It also has a download card so you get the album. How can people resist that?
After the show, I did my new tradition of walking to Bleecker Street to catch the train home. I had to stop at the bank and there's a new branch of TD right on the way. That is the way things are supposed to work.
I had to take a cab home and I spotted the cab driver I'm friendly with. I should ask his name. He even remembers where I live. I know his life history, born in Jamaica, move to Canada, then down to here. He's an old-fashioned New York talkative cab driver. I love it.
OK. I have places to go and things to do today. I'm going to WFUV and I'm meeting Marti for dinner and theater. There are benefits to having a friend who is a theater reviewer. No matter how good the play is I'll have a good time hanging out with Marti. I win.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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