nocturne

Bloged in luna see, music, seasons by rod Thursday May 31, 2007

it is 1:34am on the last day of May. The moon is nearly full for the second time this month. Someone gave the downbeat. There is a chorus of bird songs completely surrounding the house. This is no lone, confused, ambien-deprived, avian insomniac. No no. This is the Sequence from Verdi’s Requiem.
It’s been going on for 30 minutes, and the Lachrymosa hasn’t played yet.

Sing on, little birdies. Sing on into the dawn. Sing May out with a vernal melody.
Sing for the Cardinal, who’s cuddling his mate. Sing for the Chicadee dee dee, who dozes, and for his partner, the Titmouse, whose flutters refrain. Laugh for the Ladderback, resting his head.
Sing me to sleep on this last night of May.
Under the blue moon, sing.

yet again still another set list

Bloged in music by rod Thursday February 8, 2007

Belief
Good Love is on the Way
Why Georgia
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
Clarity
Vultures
Bigger than My Body
I Don’t Trust Myself (with loving you)
No Such Thing
Waiting on the World to Change
Gravity

Who Did You Think I Was?
Your Body is a Wonderland
Covered in Rain
Neon

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mix tape

Bloged in life, music, nostalgia by rod Friday January 19, 2007

On Sunday evening, while delivering the kids to their respective small group locations, I heard a piece on All Things Considered about Rob Sheffield’s new book, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. When I’d finished my taxi driving, I drove to Barnes and Noble to buy it, but alas, they had just closed. Last night, after gym time, I drove Allison over there for a cup of joe, and to grab the book.
In only half a chapter, my processor has retrieved a couple decades of memories, emotions, and meanings and placed them immediately accessible into my RAM. I read the few pages upon crawling into bed last night just as my eyes began to cross and my lids weighed down and my mind morphed into the other world. No doubt, I carried the thoughts with me where they would play all night, because so far this morning, amidst fielding last minute add/drop deadline advising tasks, I am completely consumed with thoughts triggered by those pages.

Music. There is no more powerful earthly force. There are people in whose lives music plays no role whatever. I’ve always considered these people weaklings.

In my life, I see two distinct roles music has played. It has shaped me, and it has been my means of expressing my shape. Maybe I shouldn’t say distinct roles, because at some point one realizes that his shape will be seen. And down deep, music doesn’t define me, it is merely the language that expresses my definition. At the very least, music has influenced what I think about, and how I think about it, and it has become the truest expression of my thoughts.
When one looks back, it is seemingly easy to sum up the big influencers of his life. They are usually the things that still play. But from time to time, we are made to realize the plethora of smaller bits that have profoundly played through the years. If you were known by a snapshot, what would the soundtrack be? This is not a tough question to answer for me, because there exist boxes of extant soundtracks from various points in my life. Each is inseparably tethered to places, experiences, and people.
There are bands ands albums to which I’ve listened consistently for years. They’ve influenced me profoundly. But there are others that I listened to non-stop for shorter periods of time. This has always been my modus operandi. Over time, these temporal obsessions are forgotten, but their influence lives on. Often the context, environment, and company they played into are also forgotten. But all can be regained, relived with a couple of bars from one of those tunes. One finds that without thinking, he still knows all the words, all the riffs, and still expects it to be followed by the next song on his mix tape. It would be a mistake to think that the impact of those tunes was any less than that of the longer run music. In fact, there is no doubt that the short obsession music influenced the way I experienced the long haul music.

One doesn’t always get to choose what connections music will serve in the future. Songs that meant little, were not liked, or even despised, will later emerge as the carriers of memories that are sweet and fragrant and nostalgic and warming. Songs that were important favorites and deeply meaningful can someday connect themselves to painful experiences or memories and become painful themselves.

For several years after graduation and marriage, my college roommate and I exchanged mix tapes by mail as a way of remaining engrained in one another’s lives. We made “remember this?” mix tapes and “you’ve got hear this” mix tapes. It was always a thrill to get those in the mail, and to listen to the tunes as I recorded his onto the tapes.

These days, I walk around with my entire music collection contained in a pocket-sized rectangle. It plugs into my home stereo, my car stereo, my computer and my ears. It will even create mixes for me that will cause me to listen to tunes I haven’t heard in years. But back in the day, in order to listen to music in any place other than the house, I had to insert a cassette, and create ride music, or workout music, or greasemonkey music, to take with me. And it would play over and over until it was burned into my being. Some songs appeared on every tape, some only in the company of others, but each collection had mood and meaning. Each spoke to who I was, who I was becoming, or who I wanted to be.

Now, I am, and I am still becoming, in the same way I was back then when I was becoming what I am now. I wonder what mix of expressions and melodies and rhythms will be the soundtrack in the years to become.

Soundtrack mix for the blogging of this blurb:

Kansas – “Questions of my Childhood”
The Decemberists – “The Island”
Roland Dyens – “Libra Sonatine – India”
Rush – “La Villa Strangiato”

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mix tape

Bloged in life, music, nostalgia by rod Friday January 19, 2007

On Sunday evening, while delivering the kids to their respective small group locations, I heard a piece on All Things Considered about Rob Sheffield’s new book, Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. When I’d finished my taxi driving, I drove to Barnes and Noble to buy it, but alas, they had just closed. Last night, after gym time, I drove Allison over there for a cup of joe, and to grab the book.
In only half a chapter, my processor has retrieved a couple decades of memories, emotions, and meanings and placed them immediately accessible into my RAM. I read the few pages upon crawling into bed last night just as my eyes began to cross and my lids weighed down and my mind morphed into the other world. No doubt, I carried the thoughts with me where they would play all night, because so far this morning, amidst fielding last minute add/drop deadline advising tasks, I am completely consumed with thoughts triggered by those pages.

Music. There is no more powerful earthly force. There are people in whose lives music plays no role whatever. I’ve always considered these people weaklings.

In my life, I see two distinct roles music has played. It has shaped me, and it has been my means of expressing my shape. Maybe I shouldn’t say distinct roles, because at some point one realizes that his shape will be seen. And down deep, music doesn’t define me, it is merely the language that expresses my definition. At the very least, music has influenced what I think about, and how I think about it, and it has become the truest expression of my thoughts.
When one looks back, it is seemingly easy to sum up the big influencers of his life. They are usually the things that still play. But from time to time, we are made to realize the plethora of smaller bits that have profoundly played through the years. If you were known by a snapshot, what would the soundtrack be? This is not a tough question to answer for me, because there exist boxes of extant soundtracks from various points in my life. Each is inseparably tethered to places, experiences, and people.
There are bands ands albums to which I’ve listened consistently for years. They’ve influenced me profoundly. But there are others that I listened to non-stop for shorter periods of time. This has always been my modus operandi. Over time, these temporal obsessions are forgotten, but their influence lives on. Often the context, environment, and company they played into are also forgotten. But all can be regained, relived with a couple of bars from one of those tunes. One finds that without thinking, he still knows all the words, all the riffs, and still expects it to be followed by the next song on his mix tape. It would be a mistake to think that the impact of those tunes was any less than that of the longer run music. In fact, there is no doubt that the short obsession music influenced the way I experienced the long haul music.

One doesn’t always get to choose what connections music will serve in the future. Songs that meant little, were not liked, or even despised, will later emerge as the carriers of memories that are sweet and fragrant and nostalgic and warming. Songs that were important favorites and deeply meaningful can someday connect themselves to painful experiences or memories and become painful themselves.

For several years after graduation and marriage, my college roommate and I exchanged mix tapes by mail as a way of remaining engrained in one another’s lives. We made “remember this?” mix tapes and “you’ve got hear this” mix tapes. It was always a thrill to get those in the mail, and to listen to the tunes as I recorded his onto the tapes.

These days, I walk around with my entire music collection contained in a pocket-sized rectangle. It plugs into my home stereo, my car stereo, my computer and my ears. It will even create mixes for me that will cause me to listen to tunes I haven’t heard in years. But back in the day, in order to listen to music in any place other than the house, I had to insert a cassette, and create ride music, or workout music, or greasemonkey music, to take with me. And it would play over and over until it was burned into my being. Some songs appeared on every tape, some only in the company of others, but each collection had mood and meaning. Each spoke to who I was, who I was becoming, or who I wanted to be.

Now, I am, and I am still becoming, in the same way I was back then when I was becoming what I am now. I wonder what mix of expressions and melodies and rhythms will be the soundtrack in the years to become.

Soundtrack mix for the blogging of this blurb:

Kansas – “Questions of my Childhood”
The Decemberists – “The Island”
Roland Dyens – “Libra Sonatine – India”
Rush – “La Villa Strangiato”

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mlk day

Bloged in apprenticeship, music, seasons by rod Monday January 15, 2007

The United States has only four federal holidays commemorating individuals - Jesus, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Martin Luther King.

Happy Birthday Dr. King.

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what are the chances of that?

Bloged in life, music, nostalgia, parenting by rod Sunday October 15, 2006

Friday night, in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, after I’d cruised a bit and walked off the kinks in my knees and back accumulated between Albuquerque and Dallas, I sat down at the gate beside Dave, and checked my email. At the top of the page was a message reminding me that Randy Stonehill was going to be doing a concert Saturday night at the Pavilion Coffee Shop. I remembered this and was planning on going and asking Molly to go with me. I mentioned it to Dave, over the din of the bustling airport, “HEY, DAVE, RANDY STONEHILL IS PLAYING IN COLUMBIA TOMORROW NIGHT.” To which Dave replied, “Cool, is he still 30?”.
What I didn’t realize is that Randy Stonehill was within earshot of me. In fact, I didn’t see him until we got to baggage claim in Columbia. I thought it was pretty cool that we were in the airport at the same time, but it didn’t occur to me until he told me that we’d actually flown together from Dallas. I asked him if he’d heard me talking about him in Dallas and he said no, but his ears were itching.
I’ve had lots of brushes with greatness over the years, in elevators, on stage, the golf course, Waffle House. I’ve played in the band with musical greats, opened for others, had a hero of mine accompany me on piano, but this was a the first for catching the same connecting flight from two separate cities and then waiting for our bags together.
Molly and I made it to the concert. She already thinks I’m famous, so she wasn’t at all surprised that Randy Stonehill knew my name when we first talked to him Saturday night. “Dad, it’s really cool that all these people know who you are.” I told her that he only knew me because I met him last night, but that didn’t seem to matter to her.
We both really enjoyed the concert, Molly even texted Allison in the middle: “This guy is GREAT!!!” Her favorite tunes were “Who will save the Children?” and “Rachel Delevoryas”. Mine too, I think.
A great time was had by all.

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poetics 3

Bloged in apprenticeship, art, music, worship by rod Wednesday September 27, 2006

In the Old Testament, the message that is preached today was being given to us by poets. We have reduced the poet to the recitation of what we already know while often preachers break down, analyze, codify, lengthen and explain the magic right out of the poetry that was originally given us.
We have developed a cultural paradigm that has a single person standing before a congregation in a one-way dissemination of information, while we allow the poet only to sing songs that everyone already knows. The preacher delivers his message to a quiet congregation who are expected not to interact or participate with him, and the poet is not allowed to sing unless everyone in the congregation is participating.
Four and a half years ago, when I first began leading worship week after week with the same congregation, there was a Deliriou5? lyric that encouraged me greatly, “I’ve got a message to bring – I can’t preach, but I can sing – and me and my brothers here – we’re gonna sing redemption hymns.” I owned that lyric and mourned that as a poet/prophet, I was not expected to teach or preach but to facilitate community in corporate singing. I decided that both were possible at the same time and set about subversively causing the congregation to sing the message to themselves every week. Each week, I brought a message to the congregation, but I brought it to them through their own mouths.
Some never heard the message. They were too distracted by how old and tired, or new and unfamiliar the song was, or how fast or loud or slow or boring, or how high my tenor voice delivered the melody. Others, fewer, caught on. Their attention spans went beyond the authentic cadence and tempo change and introduction to the next song and saw the big picture and how it all worked together to tell a single, specific story. And they sang the story to themselves, and after the preaching was finished, and the blanks were filled in from the sermon outline, and we sang the closing song, they kept singing the message, they kept rehearsing the story and each week the story grew more real and immediate and necessary and deep and personal and it took root and changed us and shaped us and grew us and humbled us. The songs became a part of the story so that even a whistle of a portion of a melody became like the tassels on the robe of a rabbi and called up memory and assurance and promise and hope and truth.

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danse

Bloged in life, music, parenting, poems by rod Tuesday June 20, 2006

-to molly, who got her first pair of real pointe shoes tonight

Mollyleap

when you hear music, dance.
When you don’t hear music, dance.
the music will start.

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posthumous pearls

Bloged in music, nostalgia by rod Wednesday May 17, 2006

During Franz Schubert’s short life, around 100 of his pieces were published. To me, this seems like an inordinate catalog for a 31 year-old. But during the next 50 years after his death, his works were published steadily. Occasionally, a long buried piece will still be found. One Viennese music critic wrote in 1862 that “it is as though he continued to work invisibly. One can hardly keep up with him.”
No doubt, those responsible for bringing to light his long hidden catalog, were delighted to continue to find that he was more prolific than anyone imagined. I would imagine that his fans, Brahms, Mendellsohn, Liszt, and others who had digested, and been nourished by Schubert’s works were ecstatic to consistently unearth, publish and perform previously unheard music.
What a treat to find that you’ve been provided for after a musician is gone. Though the body of work left by the musician would no doubt be sufficient for a lifetime of enjoyment and appreciation, to be provided with previously unknown creativity keeps it all alive for much longer a period of time.
Yesterday, Personal Files was released. It contains 49 songs from Johnny Cash never before heard. These were found in his home studio by his son, John Carter. I was serenaded during all my finals week preparations yesterday by guitar and voice renditions of “Farther Along”, “Drink to me Only with Thine Eyes,” “Sanctified”, (complete justify-cation)and 47 other old living room covers and originals that have never been heard before. Many of the recordings include him telling the story of where the song came from, who he was with when it was written, etc. All were recorded between 1973 and 1980.
These days with record labels seeking no investment-high return projects, after an artist is gone, we can expect a barrage of releases of re-compilations, best ofs, the essentials, re-masters, b sides, remixes, cast-off tracks of familiar hits, but 49 spanking new stuffs? Unheard of. And recorded in his cleaned up prime with a new lease on life. It is a bright day for life-long, die-hard Johnny Cash fans.
So I’d suggest for you. Load up your iPod, grab a Fanta® and a cane pole, find an old abandoned depot or warehouse or secluded river bank, and take a couple hours to hear the product of a man singing from his soul. Have your own soul ministered to in the process.

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FYI

Bloged in music by rod Monday April 3, 2006

So, if you’re devastated that you didn’t drive over to HOB on Saturday night to see the two aforementioned bands, and thus fell 7 rungs down the cool ladder and dropped 3 points on the awesome index, you can make up a bit of ground tonight. It is not too late.

MuteMath will be playing here in Columbia tonight at Headliners. (that link skips the hot flash intro. If you’d like to see it, go here) Doors open at 8:00p. Opening the show tonight will be Baumer, (just kidding) whose guitarist was my guitar student back in the day. Yay me. So if through my connections I could get a gig opening for Baumer, who open for MuteMath, who opened for Switchfoot, there would be just 3 degrees of separation from Switchfoot. Wow. I could say that I opened for the band that opened for the band that opened for Switchfoot.

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