Search results for 'Songs of Summer'

Brilliant Songs #47: Jacob Collier’s “Audience Choir”

Let me start with what might be an audacious claim that could make for a fun parlor or brewpub back-and-forth next time you feel inclined to jump-start a conversation or veer it away from the sordid unpleasantries that dominate our 24-hour media cycle today. To wit: what, in your opinion, is the highest of the art forms?

Much as I love and admire the arts in general and various artists in particular, I have my own unequivocal answer to that question. I think music is the highest art form—the most powerful, soaring and transformative ever devised.

Actually, “devised” strikes me as not quite the right word, given how music seems, at its most baseline level, to be pre-thought, pre-verbal, both springing from and speaking to some deep inchoate need and capacity of our bodymind to recognize, appreciate, organize and replicate sound, rhythm, and other musical elements into an organic whole for our pleasure, jo...

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Brilliant Songs #18: “The Parting Glass” (Celtic Traditional)

We are awash in babies here in our little corner of Durham, the bulk of them hovering, for this precious and brief stage, around the pre-walking and just-walking ages of 10 to 12 months or so. Hoisting themselves up by the side of their wagons or with a parent’s extended fingers, bouncy and jovial, taking a halting drunken step or two before plopping down on their diapered tushes.

Working to regain their footing as we come around the corner with our dog at the end of the leash, they stand and point and break into wide grins while uttering little “Uh, ooh, uh-uh-uh” sounds, all bouncedy-bounce, immensely pleased with the sheer fact of living and watching and exploring their ever-expanding world.

Portraits of innocence and pure being, sharing, in some ways, more in common with their peers of other species, be they lamb or kitten, puppy or chimp, than with the elders of their own, nicked and coarsened as thos...

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Brilliant Songs #9: James McMurtry’s “We Can’t Make It Here” 

Sometimes a particular piece of music hits you as so insightful, so acutely reflecting the issues of your time, that the songwriter seems to be channeling some urgent message the gods require in order to restore a measure of balance and perspective to the insanity that abides, on the events of your historical moment that leave you shaking your head and wondering, “How can this be happening?”

And then, in a kind of doubling down on the songwriter’s vision, the message of his or her song in a subsequent era, rather than fading into irrelevance, instead achieves even more urgency, as the forces that helped shape the original message grow only more dominant and oppressive over time.

And then, as if anticipating the far more divisive and nativist rhetoric that would sprout from the seeds planted in the Bush era, McMurtry scores with this bull’s-eye painted with eerie prescience right on the back of the ...

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Five Songs of September

When I was probably 12 years old, I took some of my paper route money and, improbable as it sounds about an era when rock & roll was ascendant and all youths thought that “adult” music was  just as impossibly square as they do today, bought the album, “The Shadow of Your Smile” by the pop crooner Andy Williams. Part of my rationale was that my mom was a huge fan of his, and I knew she would enjoy the music on the family’s newly purchased console with “stereo hi-fi.” (Is that perhaps the great-grandfather of “wi-fi?”)

Another part was that I had settled in to watch Williams’s variety show with my mom on a regular basis, and found myself drawn to the man’s voice, his elegant phrasing, and the lush melodic beauty of the title song and a number of others on the album.

Besides, the guy had a gorgeous French wife whose name played deliciously on my tongue—Cllllaaawww-deeeeen Lon-jjhayy...

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A Summer’s Music Idyll in Mountain View, Arkansas

O.K., this is more like it. You know: It. The peace, the glow, the warm enveloping vibe spreading through your body & soul like a sweet dreamy transfusion, a triple dose of calm, clarity, cohesion.

Exhaling now, are we? Nice ‘n easy, sip a bit o’ lemonade, let the inhale just follow all natural-like, while these geetar and fiddle and bass players turn us a tune?


No alcohol. (Dry county, not a brown bag nor slightly deranged looking character in sight. And no bar noise spilling out onto the square louder by the hour.)

No amps. (Acoustic county, not a plug nor sound console to be seen on the lawns nor under the gazebos and porches that host maybe 100 or so musicians in variously sized groupings and affiliations on any given night in this music-drunk Ozark town.)

Mountain View is in this way a dream, a kind of still life artwork, a Thomas Kinkade portrait of a country and its ways th...

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