music


23
Aug 19

Rockin’ on

Today was a delightful and light day. We drove down to one of the family haunts yesterday for the weekend’s festivities. My sister-friend, my friend-sister Elisabeth — we need a term for someone you meet under the oddest of circumstances who decides to keep you for so many years, and who wants you to them around too — and her husband flew in the other day. People have come in from all over, really.

I had a phone call and a teleconference, which isn’t too bad for a day you take off from work, I guess. They happened at virtually the same time, so, really, you could call it multitasking, which is pretty great for an off day.

I did get to sleep in, which is excellent. And there was a late breakfast, a brunch, really, if we need to be specific. And we should be as specific as possible in as many places as possible. We had dinner at the local Mexican restaurant. I hear it is merely OK, but I enjoyed my fajita enchilada. Probably it was the cheese.

We went to listen to some music after dinner. Dueling pianos don’t get enough credit for their easy entertainment potential.

The personality and the enthusiasm was more important than the soaring solos. There were, I counted, six different performers, and they all just cycled through the full array of instruments they had on stage: two pianos, a handful of different guitar set ups, a small drum kit. And they were a pretty talented bunch. It was nice because two or three of them would play, and the others went … elsewhere … and then they would one at a time rotate off. They didn’t take any set breaks. There wasn’t a lot of inane chatter. They just played covers and everyone there enjoyed themselves pretty well. The lady singing at the beginning of the clip might have been the best performer of the bunch. Sadly the audio of her singing didn’t carry over as well as it should. They were taking requests, as they do in a dueling piano setup, and I tried thinking up the most ridiculous songs I could challenge them with, figuring, They must get bored playing the same tunes every show.

They played four of them: Country Roads, Enter Sandman and the like. It was a nice evening, which is especially great for a day off.


13
Aug 19

They specifically said they wouldn’t play Freebird

When we started making our plans for last weekend my wife asked her parents what they would like to do during our visit. It was their weekend. Big birthdays, so we thought they should make the plans. We went to a wonderful little Italian restaurant on Friday night. On Saturday night, we went to a rock ‘n’ roll show.

This is a band called Long River Jam. The guitarist and lead singer works with my mother-in-law on a church program she runs. He’s a musical therapist, among other things, and he has this bband. Turns out the in-laws go see them fairly often at this apple orchard farm where they played this weekend. Did I mention we were celebrating two of those big, round number birthdays, and we were doing it at a rock ‘n’ roll show?

Sure, they played the Violent Femmes. The farm was selling their cider and baking you pizzas. They’d brought in a food truck that was selling not-bad downstate New York barbecue. There was a petting zoo, and the kids were running around having a great time. It was a great family atmosphere. And the band was putting out some great atmosphere. Here’s the more-or-less full set list:

Xs and Os – Elle King
Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
Dancing in the dark – Bruce Springsteen
Harder to Breathe – Maroon 5
Hard to Handle – Otis Redding (But in the style of Black Crowes)
Hand in My Pocket – Alanis Morisette
Hurts so good – John Mellencamp
Santeria – Sublime
She Moves in Mysterious Way – U2
Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
In the Name of Love – U2
It’s Beautiful Day – U2
Semi Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
With a Little Help From My Friends – Beatles
Locked Out of My Heaven – Bruno Mars
Sweet Child o’ Mine – Guns ‘n’ Roses
Lookin’ Out My Back Door – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Oye Como Va – Santana

Because nothing says family like cults, massacres, political assassinations and crystal meth, he laughed, in his distinctly Gen X way, during the first set. To be perfectly honest, though, the band was doing a great job turning an oversized patio into a party.

And can I just tell you? The little kids, who danced most of the night away, really liked Hard to Handle.

Here are the in-laws, enjoying the show as the band plays just in the background:

During the break, my father-in-law said the second set wasn’t as strong. They come to see their friend in the band so much they know the setlist. But he changed his mind because of some new material and improving play. Here’s the second set:

Love Shack – B-52s
I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston
Let’s Hear it For the Boy – Deniece Williams
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
I Will Walk 500 Miles – The Proclaimers
Valerie – Amy Winehouse
Good Lovin – The Rascals
Authority Song – John Mellencamp
I Want You Back – Jackson 5
Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams
Time of my Life – Jennifer Warnes/Bill Medley
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
The Joker – Steve Miller Band
Last Dance with Mary Jane – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Country Roads – John Denver
Proud Mary – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

It was right around Jackson 5 that we started giving him a hard time about his second set pronouncement. And then, of course, they had to put in Dirty Dancing, and so we did all the Dirty Dancing bits. All of them. Most of them successfully.

They did Country Roads with this cool Caribbean island swagger, and then on the last chorus really sped things up. That would have been enough, but they actually played an encore. Cover band encores are always good.

Of course by then it was late into the evening, and the guitarist we know had to go take his girlfriend to the airport for a 3:30 a.m. flight, so I didn’t get to ask, but I’m guessing the CCR and Van Morrison were some of the first songs someone in the band played.

Two other quick videos from the weekend. Here are some beautiful flowers I saw Sunday morning:

And this is a Purdue ad at the airport. “We’re a terrific university in a wide range of area, but did you know we’ve been to the moon?” Honestly, they probably have to resist the temptation to use this in all of their promotional material:

Anyway, it was another great weekend, which is why I’ve dragged it into Tuesday. If there’s a lesson to be learned it is to get yourself some in-laws who are kids at heart. They’ll always be ready to have a good time with you.


3
Jan 19

#MostIconicRockSong

We’re doing a thing on Twitter. Down from 48 nominations to 12 semi-finalists. We’ll get this figured out in the next few days. Come over and vote.


7
Sep 18

To the immediate days ahead of you

I had two ideas today. That’s a lot for me. One of them, I suggested to someone, and you could see the notion percolating in the imagination of another person. That was neat. How often do you get to see the whole range of expression from blank expectation to unsold kernel growing into a ‘tell me more’ moment? And then you have to tell the person more and you know someone might be able to run with it. And finally, there’s the note-taking, and the ‘Let’s talk more about this?’

My other idea is perfectly formed, it arose in one clear moment with a precise degree of technical certainty, so much so that I sought out some information that might put the lie to the entire concept. But, no, the idea sound. So I’ll need to figure out some way to polish it up a little bit, so I can suggest it to some people so nothing will come of it.

A man told me once I was an idea guy. I wasn’t, but I liked the notion and have tried to incorporate a bit of that into everything I do ever since. Very, very occasionally someone will run with my idea of the moment. Usually it is dismissed, until someone else thinks it up. Then it’s brilliant. Ideas are about timing, their framing and who pitches them.

How was your day?

For a moment late this moment all my Apple products were each charged to 100 percent. I may never again achieve Inbox Zero, but I’ve made my peace with that. Apple 100 is a bigger challenge anyway.

This afternoon’s official music video, because this afternoon needs an official video. The chorus makes it worth it:

I’m writing this at the best part of the week, the idealism of the weekend is upon us. It hasn’t really sunk in yet — for me, that’s usually when I turn in and realize I can turn off my alarm clock for tomorrow.

Of course, right after that I begin to think of how finite the weekend can be. Maybe they should all be three-day weekends, after all. There’s a feeling that never goes away, so there must be something to it.

Regardless of how long this weekend is going to be for you, I hope it is a blast.


3
May 18

Now here’s something of a different time

I had lunch with this guy today. It was, as you might imagine, very cool.

Dean Martin died when I was a freshman in college. And I wasn’t yet hip to who or what could bring about a lasting cool. I suppose he was always the guy that played drunk, or did the occasional telethon. He was one of the old guys that ran around with Sinatra and was old. I’m sure I knew he had done movies, but I didn’t know much about the Rat Pack and I certainly didn’t know much of his music. It was too far removed for me to be anything but too far removed myself, I suppose. (“Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” was a Charlie Walker song that Martin covered. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks. It peaked at fifth on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and was also a hit in Australia that year.)

I really discovered him after college. His music. His cool. His sound. Dean Martin had the best sound of the Rat Pack.

And, man, he was funny. Just look who is on the stage with him here:

There’s a great Christmas-themed Pillsbury Flour spot and a too-artsy for 1975 America Revlon promo in the middle of the video, too.

And even when he was playing a song for laughs he could sing and sing:

I love that song.

One of our hallways at work has a lot of historic photos from the program. This lady is a part of one of the pictures:

She’s a copy editor in the 1940s at the IDS. But she’s given up her seat in the slot for Ernie Pyle, who has returned to Indiana to visit family and friends. And when he was home he was never far from campus, so here he’s back and reading the paper. The front page story that he’s reading is about the Romanian armistice, so she is looking over his shoulder as he reads a late-August, early-September paper from 1944.

I wonder what she was thinking about, sitting there, posing with the great Ernie Pyle in her seat. He’s a legend now, and he was well-venerated then. I wonder where those lamps got off too.

I looked her up. She might have become a school teacher. The woman I found online passed away just a few years ago. But I’m not 100 percent convinced I have the right person.

Tonight I’m hanging out with Allie, The Black Cat:

No better way to wind down an evening.