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 23, 2012 - 8:40 p.m.
I'm going to make a short entry. If I don't I won't have a record of all my live music for posterity and that would clearly be a tragedy.
The last concert I wrote up was On Your Radar on April 10. What's happened since then? On Thursday April 12 I went to Music on 4 to see Friction Farm and Anna Dagmar. This was Music on 4's fourth anniversary show and as is so often the case there I'm both a friend and the fan of the musicians. Let's have a true test of my memory and see who I can remember was in the audience. Was there anyone other than Richard and Su? That might be it. If you were there and I'm forgetting you for a change let me know. I won't feel stupid as that was over a week ago.
Anna was up first. Anna is one of those ubiquitous musicians that I don't see as much as I ought to as I always can say, "If I miss her now I can see her again soon." There's a strange negative feedback going on. Anna's music is hard to write about which is part of what I like about her. Thinking about that might make it easier to write about, more negative feedback. Her hallmark is her virtuosity on the piano. She doesn't play to accompany the singing. The focus is at least as much on the instrument. Which isn't to say that she can't sing. But lots of people can sing, not nearly as many can play the piano the way she does.
What's her genre? I always think jazz but then how come I think of some of her songs as "that jazzy song?" Often the jazz is below the surface and sometimes it comes out in full force. I knew that she conservatory training and was trying to figure out where it came from. The Jazz made me think Berklee but there is too much classical. The classical is make me think Julliard but there is too much jazz. It's Eastman. When I think music schools I think Boston and New York and Rochester is off to the side so slips my mind. Whatever it is I love the blend of her influences. There is also folk, pop, rock and Broadway. Some of her songs could have been written by Cole Porter. Like Amy Speace you never sit there thinking, "I love the music but all the songs sound alike." She follows the muse where it takes her. One thing that stuck me was how perfect she'd be perfect for Cast Party at Birdland, the open mic for the Broadway, cabaret, folk didgeridoo community. She has no trouble coming up with songs that aren't ballads and I want to hear her on that Grand Piano. I talked to her afterward and she's played there and we made plans to make plans to go together. I of course don't play myself and non musicians friends have trouble going to a show that starts at 10PM on Mondays so I look to go with musicians.
Friction Farm used to be ubiquitous NY musicians but now they live in South America. OK South Carolina. If I'm calling the DC suburbs of Virginia the Deep South, South Carolina must be at least Central America. Maybe Yucatan. Whatever it is Christine and Aiden live too far away and I don't see her them often enough. I miss them as friends and musicians. They have new songs. They have new stories. I'm falling behind.
On Saturday I went with Melissa to see Chris Smither and Eliza Gilkyson at the Common Ground in Dobb's Ferry. I of course did the Merch. There was an SRO crowd! That was great to see.
Eliza is one of those musicians that I can see has talent but that doesn't make the connection with me. I listen, can hear what other people like but not feel it. It isn't that I don't like her. I enjoy the music but it doesn't excite me.
Chris on the other hand hits the spot. He is from New Orleans so much that you might think he's putting you on. His voice is swampy and filled with the Big Easy's unique blend of cultures. Which isn't to say that everything about his is a cliché. If you did you'd be surprised to hear him talking and singing in praise of Charles Darwin and Evolution. "Evolution isn't something you believe or disbelieve in; you know about it or you don't." His music is the blues, no matter what it starts off as that is how it ends. But it isn't one note blues. There's sad blues, happy blues, tragic blues, and oddball blues. I'd love to hear him work with Pat Wictor. They'd have a blast exploring the bluesiverse.
I took a whole week off from music till Saturday when I went to hear Deni Bonet at the Living Room on Saturday. Deni will of course always make me happy. The only problem was I didn't have time to hang out with her after the show. In fact I had to leave a bit early and missed a new song. Now that was tragic. I find that I sing Deni songs in conversation. So many of her titles just lend themselves to it; Too Much Fun, Bigger is Always Better and It's All Good just find their way into my brain.
I haven't been able to go to most of the WFUV pledge drive from the Rabbit Hole but I went this weekend. I needed to be me. I needed the normalcy. I needed to feel good about myself. There is no place better for that. Things were busy and I got to feel needed. I got to see my friends. There were too many to name. I'll mention Kathy because she's graduating so this is her last drive as a student employee there. She promised she'll be back as a volunteer so I didn't cry.
I finally had good timing and got a ride back to Queens from Lori and Joe! That saved me an hour and a trip in the rain and I got more great company.
OK now I have to go. Hopefully I won't be in the rabbit hole that much longer.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Follow on Feedly