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
April 01, 2012 - 11:42 a.m.
I like it cold in my apartment but this morning it is freezing. I already have the hoodie on do I need something over that? I think so. I'll be back. That's better. It is usually so warm that I have turned off two of the three radiators and keep a window open. When the wind and sun are just wrong it gets too chilly. The windows are closed of course. Now that I'm warm enough to write I guess I should.
Yesterday Carey and I did our own tribute to Joni Mitchell on Turntable.fm. I was inspired of course by the Chicks with Dip celebration of Blue's 40th Anniversary concert and CD. That made it easy for me to find songs to play. In my mind Carey is a Chick waiting to happen. They just have to meet. During the course of playing I discovered that I had never before introduced her to the glory of Dave Van Ronk's cover of Both Sides Now. How did I neglect that? Have you heard it? Dave's voice is the antithesis of Joni's but they come from similar places musically, that same balance of folk and jazz. His gravelly rendition breaks my heart. He was my entry drug to folk and will always have a special place in my heart.
The only reason Carey could play was that she was sick and couldn't go to choir. I'm going to actually see her on Tuesday because she's flying in to Jersey for a funeral. I'm socially benefitting from her misfortune. Does that make me some sort of moral vampire?
I somehow managed to make dinner while we played. That wasn't easy and was not a total success. I made my potato/bacon/garlic soup with Taylor Ham substituted for the bacon. There was too much broth and not enough potato and it is a bit too light for a main course. I usually use that as my potato course. I made garlic cheese bread too. I was going to make chicken today but I have left over beef broth I have to used before it goes bad so might make the plantain/sausage soup tonight. Now that's a full meal. I have to figure out when I opened the broth to see if I can wait on that.
I cut the timing close and was burned when I just missed the train when I got to the station and then had to wait forever for one of the transfers. It takes me three trains get there. I missed the beginning of Monty's set. That kind of thing hardly ever happens to me. I'm compulsively early. It's all Carey's fault. Curse you
I can't decided if the woman sitting on the bench next to me when I was waiting for the long transfer was flirting with me. I was reading the Times but I noticed that she kept looking at me. Finally I made eye contact and she started talking. I was the standard, "which train you waiting for and how long have you waited?" I told her that every other train but the one we were waiting for and went back to my reading but she kept talking so I put down the paper and talked. Sounds like flirting but she was a very attractive woman half my age and I find it hard to believe. If I stayed on the train for more than one stop maybe I'd have figured it out.
There was a strange crowd at the venue. Usually there are lots of college students, it is on the Columbia U campus. That's especially true when Anthony da Costa plays. I know he wasn't on the bill but that Billy Corona guy looks just like him and even covered some of Anthony's songs. Funny thing, you never see Anthony and Billy in the same room. I wonder .. Is Anthony really Superman? Last night I wasn't much older than the median age and I don't think there were any teens.
I first heard of Monty at NERFA 2010. I didn't hear him play or talk to him but he was pointed out to me as someone I should know when he got on an elevator. I squirreled that information into my brain. I think it stayed because of his name. Doesn't it sound like the name of film noir gumshoe? He'd actually be great in that role with his real personality and looks. He was a cop and he has the hat for it.
How do I describe Monty's music? I'm tempted to say raw but then you wouldn't think of it as being polished. It give the feeling of a direct conduit to his mind and heart. That's better. He doesn't temper or prettify his ideas but the music is beautiful. I was thinking about him for reasons totally unrelated to music recently. His politics is far more conservative than most of my people I know and of course far more conservative than the vast majority of people in the folk world. We tend to be hippie freaks. I was thinking about this because I've been talking to people how you can't judge people morally from their politics. Even it what they say makes you want to throw things when they talk about issues when you talk to them about people you find they actually share many of your values. Now everywhere there are miserable people that fit your stereotypes, but not everyone. There's an edition of Wise Madness about this waiting to be written. And that help me think about Monty's music. He's a lot like Woody Guthrie with mirror image ideology.
During the break I talked to Monty, John, a friend in the audience, Anthony, who hosted the evening (Till Billy came on and he mysteriously disappeared), A.J. Roach, and Laura Dunn. This performers were clearly musician's musicians. This was my third time seeing Laura in a week. I'm not complaining about that.
I first saw The Sea The Sea at the Budgiedome song circle last summer. Chuck E. Costa and Mira Stanley had just started singing together then so I caught them at their genesis. I saw them next at NERFA where I might still have counted them as a discovery. They were certainly one of the top acts that I saw there. I found myself transfixed every time I'd pass them in halls rehearsing. I have never heard two voices that blended better together. I asked them last night which came first discovering that they liked each other or that their voices fit perfectly. Not that it matters because when I write the screenplay of the film about it I'm going with what should be the truth, not what actually happened. They were each walking by themselves singing the same song. When they got to where they could hear each other it slowly hit them that they were harmonizing with each other. From there in nature's course was fixed.
I loved them before but I they've kicked it up a notch. I was wondering if I was just discovering the subtleties or if they've been working hard on the music and growing. It's the latter though my guess is that it is partly the former. I was so blown away by their sound that I'm sure I missed some of their musicianship. They aren't just two people that sound pretty together. They have substance. Of course how could I not love a band that takes its name from Xenophon.
I've seen the Corona Brothers many times but this was my first time seeing Billy without Chilly. He and his band showed off their country songs. Where does somebody from Westchester find this inside of him? I love it. Cowboys Don't Cry should be a country megahit.
Interesting timing as I was writing this Anthony was interviewed by John Platt. That slowed down my writing quite a bit. Now of course Anthony and Billy are two different people but let's make believe they are the same for a bit. When you hear Anthony perform or be interviewed or just talk to him you get the feeling that ideas are bubbling up inside him and he's playing air traffic controller and letting some out in the world. He could have five careers at once if he could figure out how to work the timing. You can sometimes see the ideas careening around his head before they come out.
After the show I was able to get a ride home from John. That saves me a hour and made my life so much simpler. I also got to enjoy John's company. It was a win win situation..
It's time to eat. I don't seem to be doing much today so tomorrow I'll be writing about ideas.
Unnamed Melody - March 30, 2017
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