Steve Layman posted this cartoon last week. It activated an immediate reaction. I laughed. Then said: “TRUE.” Then said “THAT’S ME.” Then psychoanalysis rolled in like a thick soupy fog in the Bay Area. And hangs low and hovers on the “why.” And went on lingering on the 11-hour ride to pick-up Eric from college. Didn’t we just take this emotional empty nester ride a few months back? Time. Whoosh.
Related Posts: Ben Howard – Only Love
Stefano Barone was born in Naples, Italy, in 1978, and started playing when he was very young, studying piano at first but choosing guitar at last. From blues to pop to rock, in Naples he cut through different musical experiences, until he moved to Rome in 2001 and decided to dedicate himself fully to solo acoustic guitar. (Source: Lastfm.com)
It’s hard to imagine how I could not have heard of Mario Biondi prior to tripping into this video on Nia‘s blog. BIG voice on his rendition of this classic tune (Close to Me) which was composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and originally recorded by The Carpenters in 1970.
Mario Biondi, 42, is a jazz-soul vocalist born in the Sicilian city of Catania in Italy. He was born of artistic stock. His great grandfather was a respected painter, his grandmother a singer, and his father a popular songwriter. Biondi sang throughout his childhood, first performing in public at age 12 in church, and soon singing in public squares before hundreds of people. From there he competed in the Festival della Canzone Siciliana, taking third place. Biondi’s musical pursuits earned him the opportunity to perform alongside such Italian vocal greats as Califano, Bongusto, and Fiorello, as well as American legend Ray Charles. As word of his talent and skill got out, Biondi found himself collaborating with groups like the Change, Mario Brothers, and Funky Company on recordings and tours. Given his powerful and unique voice, it was not long before Biondi was encouraged to pursue a solo career. Featuring material inspired by American R&B artists like Lou Rawls, Luther Vandross, and Donny Hathaway, Biondi’s debut record was released in 2006. (Link to album can be found here.)
4 minutes. 36 songs. Something for everyone. And I mean everyone. From Beethoven to Hammerstein to Johnny Cash to Aretha to Queen to Gaga to Psy. Evolution of music from 11th century to today. Curious about the song list? Here it is: [Read more...]
I lift my head from my reading.
To watch. To listen. To inhale.
High winds from the northwest swaying the tall pines. The gusts rustling the branches. The tree tops whistling. The sweet smell of tree resin drifting over the fence from the neighbor’s pruning. It was yesterday, Sunday afternoon. I was lounging in the backyard. Licking my wounds from my long run. Tucked under a comforter…seeking protection against chilling 20 mph winds. I put Knausgaard down and start thumbing through blog posts. ”Wind” synchronicity switches on.
First Thomas Merton: “No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.”
Then Cat Stevens with “The Wind“: “…listen to the wind…To the wind of my soul…Where I’ll end up well I think, Only God really knows…”
During his last school break, my Eric hooked me on the AMC Series The Walking Dead. (A wonderful, uplifting and nurturing series on humanity. Sarcasm dripping.) This song, “Lead Me Home” by Jamie N. Commons, premiered on the show. Commons, 23, is a singer-songwriter who was born in Bristol, England. He relocated with his family to Chicago at the age of six where he was immersed in Chicago Blues. He returned back to the UK at 16. Raspy like Tom Waits – gothic like Nick Cave…amazing young talent. His new album, Rumble & Sway, was released last month.
Ry Cuming, 23, is a singer-songwriter born in the small coastal Australian town of Angourie. Growing up on a beach in Australia, he spent most of his days surfing and listening to his father’s vinyl collection. He quickly developed a love for a number of different styles of music from Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder to Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. His career took shape as an 18 year-old traveler in Costa Rica. One fateful afternoon while playing in the hallway of a hotel, Ry met a young film producer who would later become his manager. Cuming won two of Australia’s Dolphin Awards in 2004 for Best Pop Song and Best New Artist. (Sources: Wiki & JamBase.com)
You’re My Alter Ego / Nothing Else Matters
↓ click for audio
Melissa Forbes is a Australian musician, performer, educator and researcher. She was originally trained in jazz and improvisation. She has also studied contemporary vocal pedagogy extensively, and hopes to complete a PhD in the area. She is Associate Lecturer in Voice at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, Australia, where she leads a merry band of young vocalists in their quest to reach their fullest potential through singing. Melissa also has her own private studio, The Contemporary Voice Studio. Melissa released her album No More Mondays to critical and popular acclaim. (Source: Melissa Forbes Website)
Shut down PC.
Stuff my briefcase with weekend reading. I Smile.
Another form of Exercise in futility.
I won’t get to it.
Slump into car. Spent.
4-day week. Felt like six.
Pre Good Friday weekend traffic backed up on 95.
Stealing glances at blackberry.
Flicking through iTunes list.
Land on Mellencamp. John Mellencamp.
Hurts So Good.
When I was a young boy
Said put away those young boy ways
Now that I’m gettin’ older
So much older
I love all those young boy days
Memories flood. Awed.
How? How a mere few bars can take you back.
To a moment. In 1982. A technicolor and edited version. [Read more...]
Michael Bublé and 15-year old Sam. Sam sings a few bars. Bublé’s reaction? Sam’s facial expressions? Priceless.
And if you haven’t had enough of Bublé (one of Burnaby, B.C. Canada’s favorite sons) and “Feeling Good”, here’s the full version…
It’s an Amazing Grace feeling-kind-of-morning. Here’s Rodney Britt and friends with 53-second clip, which I wished kept going and going.
And from a simple, spiritual, soulful version – - we move to the soul stirring pipes. Amazing Grace hits a crescendo after 4:00 minutes. [Read more...]
William Fitzsimmons (born 1978) “is an American singer-songwriter, based in Illinois, perhaps best known for his songs “Passion Play” and “Please Don’t Go”, which aired during ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Fitzsimmons was born the youngest child of two blind parents. He is said to have developed his multiple instrument abilities from his mother and father, both of whom were recreational musicians. He was taught the piano and trombone during elementary school, and began teaching himself guitar while in junior high school. He is also proficient at the banjo, melodica, ukulele, and mandolin. William’s career in music came only after completing a Master’s Degree in counseling at Geneva College, and working as a mental health therapist. Fitzsimmons’ writing often includes reference to personal and family subject matter. His 2006 effort, Goodnight, is said to have been based largely on his parents’ divorce during his adolescence, and his 2008 work, The Sparrow And The Crow, was written entirely about and following his own divorce.”
Find iTunes link here.
You are a college student. You go to see Billy Joel perform on campus. He was a childhood idol. You also happen to play the piano. You raise your hand during the Q&A section. He calls on you. You ask if you can play your favorite song with him. He agrees. The rest is history. As this student describes it: “The greatest moment of my life.” Sit back and enjoy…this is something special.
Thank you Lori @ Donna & Diablo for sharing this wonderful clip. (LOVED IT!)
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. Thank you to the Irish who have given us William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, C.S. Lewis, Frank McCourt, Bono along with millions of good and kind people. And, of course, Riverdance. Here’s a 2-minute clip of one of my favorite performances. (Can’t seem to get enough of this…)
Related Post: Sandy Sue @ A Mind Divided: Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Be sure to watch Enya’s music video titled Deora Ar Mo Chroi.
cab·in fe·ver: Irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms results from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.
32F yesterday with chilling winds. Spring can show up any time so we can frolic around like Dairy Cows in Holland. I’ve been around cows. I’ve never seen this before. Here’s 30 seconds of happy (very) wrapped in U2′s “It’s a Beautiful Day.”
Thursday. He was running late for lunch. My college roommate. Just like him to be late. My mind whirring back to college…
Short (very) and stocky build. Permanently attired in University of Minnesota Gopher sweatpants and an oversized sweat shirt with hoody. Everything hung large. Everything rumpled. “Unkempt, having an untidy or disheveled appearance.” Webster’s should have added his name. He was the magnetic center – the beating heart – of every college party. Quarter-bounce champ into Pabst Blue Ribbon at the Alibi. Ringleader for late night games of Hearts. Out late. (Very) Up late. (Very) Blessed with a quick wit and quicker on the ice. Selected easiest path to graduation: Art. Sculpture. Sociology. Physical Education. And even this was a struggle. Yet, he was never late for hockey practice. Vote never taken, but most likely to end up next to the curb.
He walked in. Hair salt and peppered grey. Blazer. Blue open collar shirt. Tropical skin tone. (He’s got it together.)
One word. Beautiful.
If I could stay just for a minute more
Then I could say all the things I’ve been saving up for
Never enough time in the day & moments like this
come a moment too late
And, there’s so many things that I don’t understand
And I’m standing in line with my open hand
Waiting for some explanation
Something to hold onto
And the minutes of the day turn to hours of the week
And time’s slippin’ away & we don’t hardly speak
And I’m feeling so lost deep in my soul…
Ben Howard, 25, an award winning singer-songwriter who was born in West London. He was raised by musical parents who exposed him to their favorite records from singer-songwriter artists from the 1960s and 1970s at an early age, like Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Simon Garfunkel, by which he was strongly influenced.
ITV.com: Ben Howard has won best British male and best breakthrough act at the Brit Awards. As he collected his first award, he said: “I’m not very good at speeches. I’m not very good at dancing.” He also thanked his mother, saying, “She’s rung a lot of old friends to ask them to vote for this.”
Country isn’t down my power alley…but this song is smooth. New Zealand punching above its weight class this week – first my Uggs and now Keith Urban.
Source: Thank you Sundaug
Here’s my Wolf Pack. Our Zeke on the left. Anya, the neighbor’s dog on the right. Zeke, a pure bred Hungarian bird hunting Vizsla. Anya, a rescue mix with herding in her DNA.
Zeke was acquired five years ago for hundreds (many) of dollars. (The King’s list of demands in dog selection included a sporting/running breed. It didn’t include acquiring someone else’s problems.) Anya was acquired from a shelter with no cash outlay. (*Hold this thought on dog profile differences.)
Trail running (and all running outside) has largely been suspended this winter season. Weekend exercise has taken the form of intermittent stabs on the elliptical machine in the attic…remote control in the right cup holder and water bottle in the left. Air temperature constant at 67F. No snow. No slush. No uneven surfaces. (And No Running Posts. Zero inspiration running on an elliptical.)
Weather warming this weekend. It was time to GET OUTSIDE. So, I prep. Ugg’s on. Strap Garmin on wrist. Grab iPhone. Earphones. Doggie treats. Two Dog leashes. Dog tags. Poop bags. Car keys. And stuff it all into a fanny pack. (Black manly style fanny pack.) Put on down coat. Pull on hat. (38F. Hat not needed but run will be arduous. No need to display thinning/receding and matted hair.) Jam running gloves in pocket. Grab Driver’s license and wallet and head out the door. (With the exception of dry food, ropes, crampons and ice axes, I’d be ready for climb up McKinley. Heavy load for a trail run in snow. Pulse quickens and I haven’t even left the car.) [Read more...]
Out the door. 6:30am.
Driving to a team meeting in Manhattan.
Freezing rain. Tap tap tapping on hood of car.
Passenger side wiper banging on an ice chunk. Curse. In a hurry. Again.
Fwap. Fwap. Tap. Tap. Fwap. (You could stop and clear it pal. You could. Or you could keep watching and listening to this show. Show plays on.)
I fan through playlist.
Dreary day. Fog. Rain. Icy conditions.
Feels like, looks like, Detroit. I rifle through playlist hunting for Bob Seger.
And, land on “Against the Wind“
Traffic slowing. Yellow caution lights frenetically flashing.
Salt truck scattering its melting magic on I-95.
I turn my attention to the lyrics.
↓ click for audio (Bob Seger – “Against the Wind”)
It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago…
We were young and strong, we were runnin’
Against the Wind
Running. To get on travel teams. To get grades. To get out of high school. To get the girl. (No one would have me!) To get to college. To get to adulthood. To get. To acquire. To, To, To, something else… [Read more...]
This clip was something special.
+ Chamonix, France.
+ Fresh and deep powder. “Peaceful easy feeling” here.
+ Unbelievable camera work. Spectacular mountainscape and sun shots.
+ Hypnotic music and vocals. Tune titled “Lofticries” by Montreal band Purity Ring.
Stick with this to the end. Wonderful clip for our Saturday morning work-out inspiration.
Now I’ve been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun…
(Music Starts at 0:50 seconds…go ahead…see if you can keep your foot from tapping…)
“A pair of backpackers, trail names of North Star and Shutterbug, quit their day jobs in 2012, and took 165 days to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, from Mexico to Canada, all 2,660 miles of it. And each day, they snapped off a photo of their tent.” The foot-tapping music is “Old Pine” by Ben Howard.
Bottom line: LOVED IT.
Good Sunday morning.
Source: Grindtv. ”North Star” is Anna Sofranko, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Shutterbug is a professional photographer and a native of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Both are dedicated backpackers who this year will be hiking the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast and the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. You can find their blog @ Wandering the Wild.
We saw Harry Chapin perform this song, Taxi, in one of his last live performances. This timeless ballad continues to feed my post-Zen-glow of San Francisco…
It was raining hard in ‘Frisco,
I needed one more fare to make my night…
Melissa “Missy” Morrison Higgins, 30, is an Australian singer-songwriter, musician and actress. She learned to play classical piano from age six but realized she wanted to be a singer at about 12 when she appeared in a Primary School production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Hoping for more freedom, she urged her parents to send her to a boarding school attended by her siblings. There she took up the piano again, this time playing jazz. She was introverted and found that piano practice helped her cope with living at boarding school.
This Saturday Morning Work-out inspiration clip is inspiring, has beautiful cinematography and is paired with wonderful music (“Where the Heart Is” by Marijn van der Meer). Tommy Carroll, who has been blind since the age of two (cancer of the retinas was diagnosed late), has been skating since the age of 10. This young man has a graceful, peaceful way about him…and is wise beyond his years.
Where the Heart is? Tommy Carroll.
Now I wouldn’t consider myself a groupie (and that would depend on the definition of groupie)…but I’m a fan. A Large One. ”Running on Empty.” The Pretender.” ”Stay Just a Little Bit Longer.” ”Here Come Those Tears Again. “You’re A Friend.” “Rosie.” And I can go on and on, yet…Yet, somehow, I’ve never heard this song. Shaking my head in wonder. How’s that possible?
And if you’re a purist, here’s Jackson Browne’s acoustic version of the same song (and a far superior version in my opinion) to ease you into the weekend:
↓ click for audio (Jackson Browne: Sky Blue and Black)
I’m sorry I missed it…An excerpt of the review from the NY Times: “Anyone who liked swings as a child — and that should include quite a few of us — will probably feel a surprisingly visceral attraction to Ann Hamilton’s installation “the event of a thread” at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City…The swings are there for us, to swing on. The piece has other components, about which more in a minute, but if people are not using the swings, “the event of a thread” does not fully exist. When they are in action, the immense, diaphanous white curtain, made of a lightweight silk twill, rises and dips, and the air is stirred, causing further billowing and fluttering. And in the middle of it all, the curtain, which resembles a low-cost indoor version of Christo and Jean-Claude’s 1972 land art piece “Valley Curtain,” was doing its silent, discombobulated dance. In addition, if you paused in your swinging, you could feel the rest of the interconnected system pulse and gyrate, a momentary demonstration — at once silly and profound — that we are, indeed, all connected.”
Here’s a short and wonderful video clip that makes it all come alive…
Related Posts: Be sure to check out Olivia’s terrific post on the same event at Your Effect on Me Is Incredible
Julia Lezhneva, 23, is a Russian soprano and opera singer. She was born on Sakhalin Island into a family of geophysicists. She has travelled the world at a young age performing at concerts, competitions and festivals at some of the world’s greatest venues. I’m not an opera fan but this young lady is inspiring. She has found her calling. She has achieved Mastery and Excellence at a very young age. The joy in her face, her words and her music lights up the room. This CBS-like “Sunday Morning” clip leaves me invigorated about the generations coming behind us. Bravo Julia. You are something special.
And if you are interested in hearing more from Julia Lezhneva, here’s a 2-minute excerpt from Handel’s ”Saeviat tellus inter rigores”.
Sources: Thank you Rob @ The Hammock Papers for posting this clip and pointing me to Lezhneva. Be sure to check out his blog for similar inspiring posts. It’s a daily stop for me.
Nataly Dawn is a singer-songwriter who started off in L.A., moved to France at the age of ten, spent a few years in Belgium and then scurried on back to California to pursue an education in art and French literature. She also formed the band Pomplamoose with her boyfriend Jack Conte – and the duo has acquired a wide following. Love her unique voice. Her debut album comes out next month.
A globetrotting surfer seeking to catch waves in the frigid seas of Antarctica instead encountered a welcoming committee of penguins. He didn’t catch a wave in the Antarctic waters, but he didn’t much care, calling his unforgettable penguin encounter “very special.”
It’s about being out there having an intimate relationship with nature. At the very first, they were afraid of me…but then, they came around and played with me. They were really nice, really nice…It has been unreal.
Jamynne Bowles’ English bulldog is deaf but is groovin’ squarely on beat to the melody. His pal, on the other hands, just ain’t feelin’ it.
Adam Ben Ezra plays “Can’t Stop Running.”
And love his dog “Chief.”
Thank you Sandy for sharing.
David Gray drove me into the office this morning with “January Rain“…One of the sound tracks from the movie Serendipity. Gray and this tune are both long time favorites. And yes, it was raining on a misty, dreary January morning…yet, I find it impossible not to be inspired by this music.
A woman walks in the Musée du Louvre, alone.
The museum is completely empty.
We follow this young woman in her dreamlike journey through the different rooms of the museum, between amazement and beauty, art and poetry.
I’ve never been to the Louvre. Or to Paris. (I know. I know. You’ve tiring of this rant.)
I’d like to take this walk to end a long week (and esp. when the museum is completely empty).
Wonderful two minute clip. And paired with sweet, dreamlike-fitting music by Sigur Ros.
- Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration: One Minute For All-Black’s…
- Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration: The Color Run
- It Takes Only 1 Minute to Find Inspiration for Your Saturday Morning Work-Out
- Saturday Morning Wake-Up Work Out Call With AC-DC
The Aunt Martha Band was formed in 2008 and is led by Tim Noyes (guitar/lead vocals), Brian Kim (violin/bass), and Garrett Leahy (drums). All three members are originally from the greater Boston area. The “band draws comparisons to the always moving and incredible Ray Lamontagne, Tim’s soulful yet gritty vocals are wise beyond their years. If you didn’t know the boys were in their twenties, you’d think these tunes were written by men who had already lived a full life and then some.“
Thank you ColdDeadHeart for pointing me to another great band.
Ray Bethell, ~85 years old, is a professional kite flyer from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He never picked up a kite until he was 50. He is self-taught. He contracted a rare virus in his early 60s that left him completely deaf. He has travelled and performed worldwide and has won many kite flying competitions. In this video, he performs a kite ballet with three kites to Flower Duet from Lakme by Delibes. I can manage to get one kite up on a windy day. This man, performs magic. What an inspiration. Volume up.
Ray Bethell was the subject of a documentary short film titled “Good Stuff” which won first place at the 2005 TriBeca Film Festival in New York City. This film, which I’ve included below, is well worth a watch and listen as well.
Good Sunday Morning…
Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and song and laughter?
Why am I afraid to live, I who love life
and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of earth and sea and sky?
Why am I afraid to love, I who love?
Why am I afraid, I who am not afraid?
Why must I pretend to scorn in order to pity?
Why must I hide myself in self-contempt in order to understand?
Why must I be so ashamed of my strength, so proud of my weakness?
Why must I live in a cage like a criminal, defying and hating, I who love peace and friendship?
Why was I born without a skin? Oh God, that I must wear armor in order to touch or be touched.”
~ Eugene O’Neill, The Great God Brown and Other Plays
Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953), was an American playwright who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature ”for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy.” His plays involve characters who inhabit the fringes of society, engaging in depraved behavior, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. O’Neill wrote only one comedy (Ah, Wilderness!): all his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism.
I wondered how it was possible that this Van Morrison track slipped from my playlists – and then I glanced at length of track (11+ minutes) and I understood. I was in too much of a hurry. 11 minutes was an eternity. Today, I didn’t want this tune to end.
“Listen to the Lion” has been said to rank amongst Morrison’s greatest work. During the 11-minute voyage, first recorded in 1969, he sings, shouts, improvises lines, delays and omits them, until he symbolically re-creates the sound of an unleashed lion within himself. It remains a considerable achievement.
I’ve played this tune on a loop for 3 days. Here’s my new favorite Van Morrison song…enjoy!*
*Note: The video is a bit “disconnected” – live performance would have been preferred…
More Van Morrison Related Posts: