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
February 15, 2018 - 3:24 p.m.
I'm pressed for time now so I'm doing something unwise. I'm listening to Shiver, the brand-new album byCarolann Solebello, that I just got in the mail while writing about Rachael and Vilray, who I saw last night. That means I can't give the CD the attention it deserves, and I'll be distracted while I write; the problem is I don't have the willpower to put off listening and I have to finish this before I go out tonight. Where am I going? To see Carolann's CD Release show at First Acoustics. I also have a ton of photos to edit. It doesn't help that my digestive system didn't let me sleep well last night so I slept away much of the morning.
I always pronounce Vilray's name wrong, it rhymes with "kill me." Rachael is Rachel Price of Lake Street Dive, her name rhymes with Spatial Mice. I know you knew that; I just wanted you to think of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You know you did.
The show was at House of Love Concerts aka Amy's House in Red Hook Brooklyn. It's not easy to get to from City Island but the musicians are so good and the vibe so inviting that I find my going there often. When Rachael and Vilray played Rockwood 3 they sold out in a nonce, here I get to see them in the comfort of friend's living room. I'm usually the first one there, I must leave a big cushion to make sure I arrive on time. Yesterday I was there 3 minutes after doors and the room was already half full. I could have still gotten my usual seat, the easy chair, but I brought my real camera, so I sat up front. I'm lucky that many people don't like to sit so close.
I usually know people at the House of Love, I didn't last night. The only friend there was Sloane Wainwright, who I had never seen there before, for the very good reason that she had never been there before. She traveled further than me. I found her an appropriate guest; she doesn't sound like Rachael, but both their voices are instantly recognizable and there's something in the timbre that's similar. I wish I had a better musical vocabulary, I can't put in words what the similarity is. To me it's tactile, I want to say silky or velvety, but neither is right. Warm maple syrup? Maybe.
Rachael and Vilray's music invokes the crooners from the 1930s as does their equipment; Vilray's guitar amp is from 1932. The way he put it was that the guy that built the amp didn't know who Hitler was. They used the same kind of microphone that Sinatra used when singing in Tommy Dorsey's band. The speaker for the vocals was modern … by comparison. It was from the 1950s.
Before this I had seen them do just a few songs at Jalopy. That was enough to get my hooked. They do some covers but primarily originals by Vilray. His songwriting reminded me of David Cantor and the duo's sound of Dave's True Story. That is high praise indeed. Like Dave he can write beautiful sounding songs dripping with irony. They are evil in the best possible way. One of Vilray's heroes is Cole Porter, that seems natural. Vilray, David, and of course Cole, are masters of using exactly the right word. He also plays a mean guitar. He was electric on most of them, with three on a steel resonator that is the same as that used by one of my friends, but I don't know which. It isn't easy not having a brain. I haven't said much about Rachael because I assume that everyone knows her musical chops through Lake Street Dive. I spoke of her voice, but the voice is not the main thing for a singer. It's like judging a violinist by the quality of her instrument. Rachael is a great singer because of the way she can play her voice. Carolann's CD is over and I'm listening to Rachael and Vilray now. Not that it helps me describe what I'm hearing. Let's just say that she's pouring that warm maple syrup onto the foam of a latte and making a beautiful patter. Have I mixed too many metaphors?
Let me throw in a little social anxiety. People think of me as outgoing, as an extrovert. I think of myself that way, but I know it's only because I'm keeping the shy introvert prisoner. There are times that he gets out and gets some exercise. As I said I didn't know many people there. I forced myself to talk to strangers. Somehow, I hardly talked to Rachael, who I at least know a little. I finally let the introvert take control and I took my seat while the preshow socializing was still going on. I played on my phone and talked to Django. Django is Amy's dog. It's a rare party where the one I'm most comfortable with is not the dog, if there's one there. Django is an old friend, we had a pleasant conversation. Our chosen languages are petting and tail wagging. We understand each other.
I did talk to Vilray about Dave Cantor after the show. I wanted to know if he was familiar with him and if he wasn't, to make sure that he gives Dave's True Story a listen. I wanted to say goodbye to Amy and Sloane, but it was crowded, and I didn't want to fight it, so I did what I rarely do, left while the party was going strong. That's important from there so I get home at a reasonable hour. I had a 20-minute wait for the City Island Bus, so I didn't get home till a little after midnight.
Now I should shower and head back to Brooklyn for more great music. Today I'll know half the audience if not more. Good thing, Coco and Bruce don't have a dog. I'm not going to get around to my pictures. That's not good. I'll be neglecting John Platt's On Your Radar's Instagram. Maybe I can work something out on my phone.
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
I'm With Aoife and the Sara(h)s - February 21, 2018
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