Friday, November 28, 2008

No Justification For This Craziness –

The entire concept of stores promoting early morning opening "door-busters" to "shoppers" who wait for hours in parking lots and then stampede like a herd of panicked cattle on the day after Thanksgiving, has been repugnant to me for years. It points to the epitome of crassness that people can exhibit in the name of holiday shopping. That an innocent maintenance worker from a temporary agency could be trampled and killed by people smashing in the Wal-Mart door, is unconscionable and disgusting. Apparently, it will take far more than a failing economy to halt these crazed shoppers and the stores that feed their frenzy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Curtain Call --

A recent evening spent at Songwriters Recording Studio with William (Sandy) Garrett in Knoxville, reminded me not only of how talented this studio owner-engineer-musician-artist is, but also how fortunate I am to have him as a friend.

Probably everyone who knows me or has been reading my blog for a period of time, is aware that my life, path, and health took some unanticipated turns with the events of this past summer. And, just for the record, I’m doing everything I can to regain/attain balance in all those life departments. One of the constants in my life – music – greatly helped carry me through those difficult weeks; I wrote a spiritual-styled blues called "Give Me A Warm Shoulder To Lean On" two days after the shootings and a rhythmic, uplifting latinesque song called "I Feel Like Singing Again", during September. Surprising me completely, a ballad called "Make (Time For) Love" drifted into my mind early this month. This newest is a techy song with intriguing and challenging modulations, patterns, and passages; in fact, learning and memorizing the arrangement took some real effort, though it was a labor of love.

So, at Songwriters, I recorded the three tunes named above, along with a song I’d composed during early July, called "Rainy Day Blues". RDB is an 8-bar blues that speaks to the supreme joy I (and, I’m sure, others) felt here in East Tennessee when rain would appear on the drought-scorched summer horizon. Though out of season right now, the song deserves to be heard and will be on hand for summer of 2009!

Anyway, when I went to the studio this time, I really felt more than a bit unsteady, as I’d not done any singing and playing anywhere except in my home studio, since the shootings; also, except for my students, none of my non-church friends had even seen me in the interim (though we’d talked on the phone and via e-mail). But all went well and I’m really proud of the project, which turned out beautifully.

In all, I did five songs, including a public domain tune I love called "Rose Room" (written by two gentlemen in 1917). I decided to put the songs on a CD and call it "Curtain Call", since that phrase loosely translates to mean the bow at the end of a performance, which acknowledges audience applause and brings that delicious moment of connection. The Curtain Call concept flew into my head when I got home from the studio that evening. By nature, the term suggests brevity (only five songs are on the CD but they are extraordinary) with a savored and fleeting quality. Curtain Call will be available soon by contacting me directly (I won’t be putting it in stores). Similarly, my earlier CD "Is She Calling You?" can also be burned-to-order; I have a limited quantity of my earlier CDs, "Wild Lady" and "Solo Flight". Please call or e-mail me at (865) 522-0204,, if you would like to own any of these.

Nature's Lid --

That’s what the descent from Autumn into Winter seems to be, to me. I often think in terms of analogy and images. Imagine now (this will sound kind of wild) that we inhabitants of this hemisphere are in some sort of a vessel or dish on which the lidded top has been moved aside for many months; now, some giant hand is sliding the lid back over us, allowing light to only enter in sidewards, at an angle. We can call it S.A.D. We can call it "closed lid syndrome"! But it is here, folks, cold and sort of claustrophobic. From a lyrical perspective, it’s cozy and kind of nice to find creature comfort in the warmth (be it ever so expensive) of our homes. Venturing outdoors on a cold, blustery day can be stimulating or unpleasant, but Nature is always there for us to observe and appreciate. Each day, as the hands of the clock turn, we are reminded of how persistently and stealthily the lid closes over our horizon, finally covering us in the cloak of winter’s night. Just as mysteriously and wonderfully, the lid will begin to be lifted ... the giant hand will titillate us with widening angles of light at just around the date when we are feeling desperate for it to do so. The cadence of time moves along.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Thrilling And Inspiring Event!

"It truly was remarkable to me, more than anything else, to watch the world celebrating with us and welcoming us back into the global community's embrace. It was like 'ding dong, the witch is dead' all over again. I never felt so good about my vote as I did this time. I knew I'd really participated in a very historically significant event." Those are the words of my friend, Sanman, a person I consider to be most wise.

Election night numbers felt like a miracle unfolding – at long-last, the eight-year pall was lifting and hope was becoming a reality; and then came that wonderful, defining moment when Obama was declared the president-elect! What an inspiring way to, at last, unite all Americans ... with pride and honor! It feels good.

There is an incredibly huge cauldron full of Bushist wrong-doing that now needs to be tackled, dumped out, fixed, renovated, reversed, cleansed, healed. The reeling and sinking economy, the chasm between the rich and the poor, the fractured health care "system", the ill-conceived war, the pulverized environment, the jobs that need to be brought back to the U.S.; all these are in the emergency zone, crying out for help. Obama has the intelligence, courage, leadership, and ethics to meet the challenge. It is monumental in size and scope. He deserves and needs the full support of each and all of us. Think about it. I am thinking about it. I’m very thankful our country now has a chance to save itself. Thanksgiving has, for me, renewed significance this year!