Sunday, January 14, 2018

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Atlanta, 1996

Neil Young was probably our favorite artist when we saw him at Lakewood in '96. Jewel was his first opening act, just after her very first hit I believe. Ben Folds Five came on next, with an energetic show borrowing some of Elton John's favorite stage tricks in his pre-costume days, like han stands.
We were happy to see this playlist again. I did recall CrazyHorse playing several off Broken Arrow, which we'd listened to a lot, in our first semester in Tuscaloosa. The climax featured actual storm clouds gathering to deliver a thunderous accompaniment to"Like A Hurricane"! Strings cracked to pieces on Big Black as Neil played a frenzied finale. Then the clouds rolled away in the late summer night.
We got as close to the stage as my tiny wife could tolerate by the encores. We were within a few rows by the time they " Roll(Ed) Another Number"- then cheers alone rang in our ears.
My life pursuing the arts hasn't afforded much ticket money, but we made those days count. We saw Dylan and the Who within the next year.
This was probably our all-time favorite concert experience. Can you even imagine a time with cameras forbidden, much less, no iPhones? Memories with everyone were harder to document then. But those were times of many of the best memories we'd ever make.
- Be Chill, Cease ill

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Whispered Words by Integr8d Soul

This song came to me on my birthday. I wrote the words (with one introspective shower in between) after hearing the title phrase, almost as though sung by young Elton John, on a pad on my bed. I felt I had a lot of things to talk about, but I find songs often use phrases loaded with meaning rather than spell things out in clear prose, so here's everything that related to the creative moment.

I started with a different chord progression. I have a 34 min. recording where I begin that progression, try singing over it, then move into the form you find here! I then immediately recorded it, singing the best I could, which is not saying much- but maybe you have to be vulnerable sometimes to really reach people. It's just more sincere.

Speaking of sincerity, it's a very heart-felt song about people struggling through difficult states of being, but I'm happy to report that I told a very tired, hard-worked person the content of verse two and we both had a good laugh about its somewhat dark quandary. Then I let her read verse one off my notepad and she burst out laughing! I really do see the verses as being pretty funny while they were also written in all seriousness, too. It gives me hope that the song's speaking multitudes of meaning that will broaden its appeal.

Whispered Words

1.Are you lonely as Eleanor Rigby?
Empty your mind of the mournful
like a refugee fleeing from violence
breaking the inside world when we’re born full
of Love oh but we’re helpless
Nurtured with kindness Nurtured with kindness
like the natural state of our spirits
we often just need someone to remind us
Next to silence change like the moon
Take care now of all that you’ve heard
Sometimes friends are just people to think of
heart to imagine whispered words

2. When you can’t word the suicide note
in a way that won’t leave anyone for whom
you care feeling hopeless
just put it off live another day
hope will find you other ways

Just know I think of you
probably more than you realize
anti-anything isn’t as strong
as the love that illuminates real lies

Next to silence change like the moon
Take care now of all that you’ve heard
Sometimes friends are just people to think of
heart to imagine whispered words

That's it! I look forward to re-recording in Pro Tools, but it did mean something special to me, so if you can pardon its rough edges, you might enjoy it. Will it leave you in thought? Will it downright offend you? Will it just leave a catchy piano riff behind? Give it a try. For that, I thank you.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

We all live in a Yellow Submarine

I've been in a very BEatles mood. Last year, I read a great Paul McCartney bio, and this year, Beatles '66: The Revolutionary Year. That gave me a strong urge to ask for a copy of Revolver for my birthday- which I got, after a massive Chef Chen Buffet dinner! We had so many good laughs- but then, Mama will laugh at a fried shrimp falling off a plate onto the floor, much less across the table, so that part was pretty easy. We played Sorry! afterwards, too.

Oh, right, the BEatles: I enjoyed reading how the songs were written and recorded, most of anything in the book, as well as the influences they were taking in ;-D When I finished, I found myself feeling more in common with Beatle John- my favorite since I was 14, when I really turned on to them-warts and all. We really could do with a Paul. I try, but my drive works differently.

I was asked to think about writing and performing children's songs by our friends the Coopers. Now, kids have almost always been an enthusiastic audience for our songs anyway. It's a super time to be part of someone's memories- it's a time of lasting remembrance. It's a time you always return to as you find yourself in different places in life. (Along those lines, thanks to everyone who clicke on "A'Thawin Me Song"- it's been one of the blog's most popular posts in months!)

And what is "Yellow Submarine," if not a classic kids song? I really got into them at an age where I didn't single the songs out in any way, categorically: it's just all fun music, sometimes introspective, sometimes sing-a-long silly, sometimes rocking, sometimes disconcerting and introspective.
I suspect it's one of my Mom's favorite BEatles songs. She enjoyed Revolver enough to ask us to bring it out again after I played it three times the night I got it, during our first game time in ages. It's possible to see it as a song about being surrounded by the peculiar pressures of Fame, too, but this song marks the highwater mark of Beatle comraderie, to me.
There's an official site, too.

For our version: we spent a little time practicing it, maybe half an hour or so at most before we had our take. I got the idea to play the 'band' interlude on electric guitar and then play with reverb and pitch. I still don't think the tempos quite match but it kinda works. I had a ball overdubbing the sea (my breath!) and the bird (more reverb on me mimicing the original), and the dinner bell ended up sounding a bit like sonar. My crazy Cockney was screwing Anj up so I over dubbed him, too. I guess I put about four hours into it at most, some during the first quarter of the championship college game.

I hope you enjoy. We'll be doing the soul rocket thing out somewhere soon, but over Christmas I played for children at Stepping Stones the last Friday before Christmas, and we played for friends a bit and recorded that; I'm sending around CDs and dropboxes to a few people. You can have one too. Our cover of John Prine/ Iris DeMint's "In Spite of Ourselves" nearly made one of Anj's co-workers pee herself on the ride home, she laughed so hard. Things like that make me happy to play and sing and share it with people. We could all do with a good laugh.

Here's to a good 2018. Keep Calm and Remember We All Live In A Yellow Submarine!