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
October 05, 2015 - 8:05 p.m.
I didn't warn you but it's the WFUV pledge drive so updating will be sporadic. I also don't have a lot of time so they might also be short.
Yesterday Fred and I headed north to hear Liam Robinson and Jean Rohe aka Robinson and Rohe. Yes it sounds like a law firm: been injured in an accident due to a faulty product call Robinson and Rohe. They were playing at Peter and Paula's house aka River Spirit House Concerts. My little adventure before that was getting my phone fixed. I thought my charging cords were broken but it was actually the charging port. It was a rush job but they guy fixed it minutes before Fred arrived. We used it to navigate to Hastings-on-Hudson train station. Peter asked us to pick up another concert goer there. We timed it well.
We were one of the early arrivals at the house and got seats in the front row then headed to the pot luck dinner. My favorites were the spicy Moroccan Chicken and the hot dog corn bread. Yes it was corn bread with pieces of hot dog in it. You are now either jealous or disgusted. Jealous is the correct response.
You should also be jealous because you didn't hear Robinson and Rohe. They just keep getting better and better. This is the fourth configuration I've seen Jean play in, originally it was the trio, which played world music. Then it was the big band End of the World show which played what they play, nothing else quite like it. It's a big band. Then there was Jean solo. And now there is Robinson and Rohe which actually predates all of the others but I had never see it. Unlike the others this is a true collaboration. They for the most part wrote the songs together and are equal partners in the performance. Liam manages to carry his half despite playing the two most maligned instruments, do I have to tell you which two? Just think for a moment. That's right, accordion and banjo. If they were like the who or Jimmy Hendrix and could afford to destroy instruments at the end of shows Liam could demonstrate perfect pitch by tossing the accordion in the dumpster and having it land on the banjo.
Photo courtesy of Fred Volkert
From as soon as I heard the End of the World Show songs I have compared Jean to Anaïs Mitchell. It was originally because they were two women who I met when they were quite young who blew me away with their genius, and yes that's the word I want. I then realized there's more of a bond. They both wrote songs with a mythic point of view.
I was happy when Liam and Jean started talking about Anaïs. They had both separately seen run-throughs of the theatrical production of Hadestown which is now being readied for its New York premiere.
Some people will find the comparison of Jean and Anaïs odd as their voices are so different. Jean has a crystal clear bel canto voice while Anaïs's is more idiosyncratic. But that's not where the unity lies, it's in the songwriting and world view, and quality.
Anaïs is obvious as she wrote a folk opera based on the myth of Orpheus. Jean's writing, except for Umbrella which takes place at the time of Noah, is not as literally mythic the viewpoint is that of the gods as surely as Anaïs or Dave Carter.
Her writing with Liam is quite different. It feels and sounds like traditional English folk songs even when played on the banjo, and even when they do an actual Appalachian folk song. Of course the roots of Appalachian folk music is the British Isles. Fred and I independently described the songwriting as gentle. It is music that brings the listener peace.
There is also more of a hint of similarity to Simon and Garfunkel with Liam doing Paul and Jean, Art. They should do a song, Mrs. Simon
Today I went to WFUV and discovered a problem with my phone. It doesn't change orientation when you turn the phone, it is struck in portrait mode; my guess is that he disturbed the orientation sensor when he switched out the charging port. I brought it back today after volunteering but the guy that fixed it wasn't there. I'm going to have to live with it till Wednesday when I'll have a chance to bring it in again.
OK now I have prepare the music I'm going to play on the radio tomorrow. Yes I was supposed to finish that on Saturday.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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