I’m sure I’m going to pay in the next life.

Richards thinks about how it all started, when he was just a kid dreaming of getting out of his London suburb. “I had no idea I was a songwriter,” he says. “I wasn’t sitting down and trying to be Gershwin. I can’t read a note of music. It’s all in the ears and from the heart—that’s all it is. I can’t believe I pulled it off, really.

“I’ve been so lucky, I don’t believe it,” he continues. “I’m sure I’m going to pay in the next life. Hell is really going to be hell for me. I don’t know why I’ve been given all this. You couldn’t dream it up, man, you couldn’t write it.”

And soon, back to work. More shows to play, more songs to chase. The Rolling Stones must go on, for the generation that grew up with them and the generations that don’t know a world without them.

“Now, there’s the air that you breathe, there’s the water you drink, and there’s the f—ing Rolling Stones,” says Richards. “We’ve been here forever—that’s the weirdest thing, ‘Oh, they’ve always been there.’ Wait till they’re gone, pal.”

~ Alan Light, from The Wisdom of Keith Richards (wsj.com, February 28, 2018)

Nuit Blanche

Thank you Nan Heldenbrand Morrissette for sharing “Nuit Blanche” (Sleepless night) by the Tarkovsky Quartet.

Fleetwood Mac and “Dreams” – A thing of beauty is a joy forever

It has been 40 years (40 years!) since the release of Fleetwood Mac’s masterpiece 1977 album, “Rumours.”  This is a deconstruction of the hit song “Dreams” from the album.  I think it is safe to say that 40 years from now, we’ll still be listening to Fleetwood Mac.  And as John Keats wrote, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

James Blake sings a cover of Don McLean’s “Vincent” which was filmed and recorded live at Conway Studios in Los Angeles in December, 2017.

TGIF: Perfect Symphony

Sunday Evening

Jóhann Jóhannsson, 48, performs “The Drowned World” with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble in this clip.  He was born and raised in Reykjavík, where he later went on to study languages and literature at university. He started his musical career as a guitarist playing in indie rock bands. In 1999 Jóhann co-founded “Kitchen Motors”; a think tank, art organisation and music label that encouraged interdisciplinary collaborations between artists from punk, jazz, classical, metal and electronic music. His own sound arose out of these musical experimentations.

Note: Find entire music video here. (I’ve clipped the back half above). Find Jóhannsson’s web site here.

Riding Metro North. One Car Short.

Thursday morning.
33°F. Feels like 23°F.
Out the door at 4:50 am to catch the 5:01.


Directly across the street: new Neighbors. Young and DINK.  First things first. No curtains up, yet bright, white lights were carefully hand strung and evenly distributed across their bushes. The evergreens throw shadows on the front door. I pause. What was that? That softening, that load lightening ever so slightly. ‘Tis the season.

I board train. No open seats. At 5:01 a.m.?  Conductor announces that the train is one car short and apologizes. $15.25 for a one-way Peak ticket to Grand Central (Yes, Peak at 5:01 am.)  $15.25 and you get the privilege of standing. And standing for 55 minutes. Sigh.

I stand in the aisle, as the vestibule overflows with commuters. I set my bag down between my legs, grab the seat support, being careful not to brush against the passenger sitting in the seat.  I hover over him. He feels it. Nobody likes this.

We’re five minutes into the commute. I’m restless. I’m tired. I’m anxious. I’m not going to make it. [Read more…]

Think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer here.

I’m listening (half listening) to this NPR podcast titled How Art Changes Us and half surfing.

I pause when I hear a familiar voice.  It’s Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.

For the next 10 minutes, he has my full attention.

So here’s the instructions:

  1. Listen to 10 minutes (from 40:22 to 50:40) of this podcast How Art Changes Us and then,
  2. For the next 4 minutes (from 12:35 to 16:45), watch this Ted Talk: “The Transformative Power of Classic Music“.

Or if you don’t have 14 minutes, jump Step 1 and move to Step 2.

And here’s a few excerpts that lead into the punch line:

Q: When can you remember a time when you played music for somebody and it had a profound change on what was going on around them?

Benjamin Zander: It’s hard for me to remember a time when I played music when it didn’t have that effect on people because that’s the given. I consider music to be a transformational experience. Mendelssohn said that music is a much more precise language than words. And when you think how easily we misunderstand words, and God knows there is enough evidence of that at this time. Music speaks directly to the heart. It speaks through the molecules. It is irresistible…

All the emotions that human beings are capable of feeling can be represented in music. It’s the music that generates the emotion that releases the human experience. It doesn’t go through the brain. It goes through the molecules…

It’s one thing to hear it in your earphones alone. It is quite another to hear it in a concert hall with 2000 other people who are all experiencing it together, and whose reaction and spontaneous enthusiasm at the end is part of the experience…

And on a tour, when you go from one town to another, you have the sense that people come out of the concerts with a different feeling about life, with a different perspective and with a different sense of being. And that’s why we do it and keep doing it and keep doing it. And as I approach my 80th birthday I have no intention to stop doing it at any point. It’s my life blood. That’s where I get my joy from. It’s the sense that people’s lives are really transformed.

Q: You play this piece by Chopin, but first you ask everyone to do something.

Zander: Yes. “Would you think of somebody who you adore, who’s no longer there. A beloved grandmother. A lover. Somebody in your life who you love with all your heart. But that person is no longer with you. Bring that person into your mind and at the same time follow that long line from B to E and you’ll hear everything that Chopin had to say.

(Now for the next 4 minutes from 12:35 to 16:45, watch this Ted Talk: “The Transformative Power of Classic Music“)

Photo of Benjamin Zander

Before you leave

Josh Farrow is an Illinois-born kid who played punk rock music as a teenager, eventually headed to Nashville in his early 20s to chase after his future wife — pulling triple-duty as lead singer, songwriter and ringleader.  He is inspired by the New Orleans funk of Allen Touissant and the Chicago blues of his hometown — chasing down success on his own terms, bringing with him a sound that’s smoky, soulful, and signature.

“Before You Leave,” was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.  

This old house feels empty
There’s nothing I can hear
But the sad and silent echo
Of better years

I feel something breathe
In this dead and hollow room
It’s just this heavy old heart
That’s hanging on you

So before you leave
Darling, won’t you le me down easy?
Before you go
Won’t you help me ease my achin’ bones?
So before you leave
Darling, please, won’t you take what’s left of me

Living like it’s dark out
And the breeze is running cold
It’s moving through me like a haunting ghost
A photograph by the beside, it’s all that’s left I own
It’s a picture of a woman and all I’ve known.
So before you leave
Darling, won’t you let me down easy?
Before you go
Won’t you help me ease my achin’ bones?
So before you leave
Darling, please, I’m begging
won’t you take what’s left of me

~ Josh Farrow, from “Before you Leave (Atwood Magazine, Oct 26, 2016)

Mozart. People compare you to Mozart. What do you think of that?

It takes Alma Deutscher just four notes and forty seconds to improvise an impressive short piano sonata right before 60 Minutes cameras. That alone is remarkable – but she’s also just 12 years old…Alma, a musical prodigy who, by the age of 10, had composed a full-length opera. She’s also a virtuoso on the violin and piano, where the music flows from her fingers as effortlessly as the breath from her body.

Scott Pelley: There is another composer who had an opera premiere in Vienna at the age of 11. Mozart. People compare you to Mozart. What do you think of that?

Alma Deutscher:  I know that they mean it to be very nice to compare me to Mozart.

Scott Pelley: It could be worse.

Alma Deutscher: Of course, I love Mozart and I would have loved him to be my teacher. But I think I would prefer to be the first Alma than to be the second Mozart.

~ Scott Pelley, Watch a prodigy create – from four notes in a hat (CBS 60 Minutes, November 5, 2017)

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