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
September 10, 2014 - 1:54 p.m.
I often give health reports now I'm giving mental health reports. I was listless yesterday but the wheel of fire was not quite so dominating my psyche. I am improving but hit a weird rough spot when I got to the Second Ave station where I get off to go to Rockwood Music Hall. I had a mild version of the low heartbeat anxiety attacks when this first started. When that happens my heart doesn't race. It does the opposite the rate won't increase when I need it to when I'm physically exerting myself. When it was very bad I couldn't run at all, couldn't climb stairs, and sometimes couldn't even walk without difficulty. Yesterday I could walk and I even made it up the stairs but it took an effort. I'm in pretty good shape. I don't think twice about the ill at Falcon Ridge. Normally I don't feel the stops coming out of the subway. And of course it's non-linear, I had anxiety about the attack. In fact I'm getting anxious now writing about it. OK I took a break and I'm getting back to writing.
None of that stopped me from getting to Rockwood early. If I'm not there before doors opened I'm not happy. I don't even know why as my seat is reserved. Well it gives me some times to schmooze with musicians.
So I schmoozed with Jenai. I have been looking forward to the title of this entry since I met Jenai and she told me how to pronounce her name, JEN-eye rhymes with Jedi and I said I'd used 'Return of the Jenai" next time I saw her. But when she got On Your Radar I switched it to this show. As I was writing this I froze on Jenai's last name. When someone is named Jenai you don't need to use her last name. So even though I knew it I had a crisis in faith and wasn't confident I was right. I had to look it up.
when doors opened I was joined by Fred at my table. I was going to be joined by Sharon but there was some confusion and was at first joined by nobody then Karen. The confusion was because the show sold out! but people couldn't get in who should have been able to. Those who came late were out of luck. Mya texted me that she was on the way and I had to tell her about the sellout. I talked to John but there was nothing we could do. This was about fire laws and legal limits.
Not that I didn't know half the audience. I often do and so mamy were Jenai's friends and we run in the same circles. Some I didn't see till after the show. I totally missed Honor and Kay. Oh I didn't mention that Gidge was there. I told him he could put flyers for the Jonathan Byrd show at his house on Thursday. What you didn't know you could see Jonathan Byrd at a house concert in Jersey City tomorrow? well you can. email SpiralSoundConcert@gmail.com. Tell him I sent you and you get absolutely nothing. And that my friends is how you do product placement.
The show had an unusual format, instead of three separate acts Jenai and Eugene went on together with the same band. I know Chris Marshak was on the drums but I'm blanking on the name of the keyboard player.
That nameless keyboard player has two Grammies. Know why I forgot his name? Right because I'm an idiot.
Jenai and Eugene fit together. In the intro to one song Eugene mentioned Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell as influences and Jenai comes from the same place. Jenai's tend to the upbeat and spiritual while Eugene does a non-comic take on the Lord's of Liechtenstein's favorite theme, "all girls are mean to me." OK that's more his schtick about the songs than the songs. They are lush and romantic. He sang one in Italian and all songs in Italian sound lush and romantic. If you sang a song about taking out the garbage in Italian it would sound lush and romantic.
Harpeth Rising comes from a totally different place, and I don't mean Nashville. I mean musically. They all studied classical music at the University of Indiana. As John pointed out Rebecca did not study classical banjo, her instrument was viola. That's what I played in middle school orchestra. She's my people! As I've said before one of my sweet spots is conservatory musicians that play Americana. They were one of my two biggest finds at NERFA. But at NERFA it was a short set. would they hold up? They started off ad realized right away they would not be as good as at NERFA. No they were better. Not a little better, a lot. they took it up a notch. I might think it was just the conditions but the new songs they played were their best so they are just on a steep growth curve.
John asked them what they do and they didn't answer and said to just listen. Yet I'm supposed to describe it now? You know I don't get paid to do this. But you know I have to, it's a compulsion. They have Americana sensibility and classical technique and virtuosity. They do an instrumental theme and variations on House of the Rising Sun. When they sing their harmonies are not 1-3-5 and they throw the kitchen sink at it including counterpoint. Yet it comes off with the simplicity of an Appalachian ballad.
l to r: Rebecca, Jordana, Maria. and John
You can't tell but in the last pic Jordana is playing percussion on Maria's cello with wooden I believe slotted spoons.
The show had a bit of a late start and ran late. Then I hung out with my tribe. Finally Karen and I walked to the subway together. Too bad we then headed to different platforms. I had to make stops at the bank and Pathmark on the way home. It was so late when I got back than instead of cooking like I had planned I went to Popeye's.
I have no plans for today and that could be bad for my mental health. I'm slowly getting better but I'm afraid of that obsessive depression. Of course I'm writing this so late the day will be short. it's almost 2:00 and I haven't eaten breakfast. I think it's matzoh brei today.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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