Official End Of The World Song


This evening’s commute began as any other. Far from remarkable, CBC Radio sang background vocals – traffic, weather, Trump, Trump, Trump. Then I heard  “this is the official end of the world song”, instantly adrenaline consumed an otherwise mediocre drive.

Official end of the world song? WTF! Says who? Shut up! This was news two years ago and I’m only hearing about it now!

From an article in The Guardian –

The video had passed into CNN lore by the time Mike Ballaban, now an editor with Jalopnik, worked as an intern at the network in 2009. As rumor had it, the billionaire founder of CNN, Ted Turner, a man as known for his eccentricities as for his wealth and media legacy, had called for the preparation of a video to air in the event of nuclear holocaust.

The legend has circulated for decades, boosted by Turner’s own words in June 1980, when he said, “We’re gonna go on air June 1, and we’re gonna stay on until the end of the world. When that time comes, we’ll cover it, play Nearer My God to Thee and sign off.”

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jan/06/cnn-apocalypse-video-nearer-my-god-to-thee

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/06/cnn-end-of-the-world_n_6422738.html

Rumor has it musicians aboard the Titanic played Nearer My God To Thee as she sank . When CBC played Ted Turner’s chosen rendition I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. Have mercy- when the world ends play anything but a brass band nearer to God dirge.

 

 

Richie Havens: Roots, Freedom, Bob Dylan & The Beatles!


Sharing a post by Thom Hickey – The Immortal Jukebox, is done with hope others will delve into his blog. Thom calls Immortal Jukebox a music and culture blog. I call his efforts insightful, detailed and thought provoking. Most music/culture blogs inhabit the realm of cotton candy diarrhea, Immortal Jukebox is different. Thom delivers music history wrapped in context of time and place, all the while peppering fact with his ability to nudge readers along unexplored paths within that context. I’m not reblogging one post, this serves as kudos to Thom for sculpting Immortal Jukebox .

The Immortal Jukebox

‘I only know the first and last song I am going to sing when I go onstage. That’s the way I have always done it. I was moved to do this and sing these songs. My whole thing was that I was sharing something with everyone else that was give to me.’ (Richie Havens)

Richie Havens didn’t spend too much time, ‘strategising’ his career. He didn’t worry about developing his, ‘Brand’ or murmur in the night about the magnitude of his digital reach.

No! What Richie did is what great musicians have always done – he searched for true songs to sing and sang them with all the passion at his command to make a powerful physical, spiritual and emotional connection with his audience be they numbered in the dozens or the hundreds of thousands.

It seems to me that Richie Havens triumph as an artist was to make the…

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Goodnight Leonard Cohen


News of 82 year old Leonard Cohen’s death found me driving home from work, they played Hallelujah and I cried. Home compelled So Long Marianne to fill the room. Not youthful or studio Marianne, I needed proof of Marianne in Cohen’s sinew. I found it in a live performance from 2012.

Cohen’s effortless spell rippled through the room. I saw an ageless man, a man whose beautiful presence transcended the shell of his being. Swaying melodically to the cadence of his unabashed existence, I whispered goodnight.

Baby Ran My Day Off


Waking to an imaginary unplugged serenade of 54 40 Baby Ran proved I had a day off work. Playing gently in my mind, I stretched and went back to sleep. After ten straight days of screaming alarm clocks I was free. In truth freedom began the night before when I rushed home from work to shower and change for the 54 40 concert. Since the 1986 release of Baby Ran, 54 40  has played background vocals in my life. Attending a know every word to every song concert was exceptional. Capping it with an unplugged banjo plucking rendition of Baby Ran made me forget how tired I was.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/54-40

Not once did I look at my phone or care what time it was. Much as I like my job, Baby Ran reminded me how important time off is.

Grace VanderWaal


Grace VanderWaal explains my weakness for televised talent competitions. Nauseating panels of celebrity judges, scripted punctuation of crack filling banter, inane segments of soul sucking spackle explain why I record and view with a finger on fast forward. Every so often though, cut to the chase reality television sends a Grace VanderWaal my way.

Grace VanderWaal makes up for hours of ho-hum television. One moment drifting off to sleep, the next mesmerized by her presence. Watch this clip of her audition on America’s Got Talent –

Who saw Grace coming – an awkward 12 year old girl unaware of her talent. Tentative beginnings give way to unabashed determination, her voice curling melodically as confounded viewers recognize the enormity of Grace’s debut.

Most days I’m too busy for television, when I do watch, chances of eluding sleep long enough to watch an entire show are slim to none. Grace woke me up, delivering an unexpected package that sent me back to bed grinning from ear to ear.

 

Tragically Hip


This past Saturday one third of all Canadians witnessed the final performance by Tragically Hip from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. 11.7 million people gathered in bars, hockey arenas, town squares, restaurants, back yards and living rooms, tipping hats to front man Gord Downie and the Hip.Saturday morning Toronto police tweeted “Dear world, please be advised that Canada will be closed tonight at 8:30 pm. Have a #Tragically Hip Day”. From the Yukon to Newfoundland, Saturday August 20, 2016 will go down in Canadian history as Tragically Hip day.

Who the Hip are is easy, what they are is harder to define. Constant from bar stools to sold out arenas, Gord Downie’s iconic voice navigated the Hip to a place of knowing familiarity – when a Hip song played it felt like slipping into bedroom slippers, troubles waned, we were home. Canadian to the core, Tragically Hip never sought headlines or spotlight. Musicians, poets, balladeers captained by “Canadian poet laureate” Downie. Three decades of unabashed Canadian expression delivered with respectful unapologetic grace.  In May of this year a news conference reported Gord Downie had terminal brain cancer, followed by dates of a farewell tour before Downie succumbed to aggressive terminal illness. Listen to Ahead By A Century then Bobcaygeon. Youtube Nautical Disaster, Google Rolling Stone Top 10 Tragically Hip Songs, explore the interactive link below from CBC, read this article by Rachel Sklar at Vox –

http://www.vox.com/2016/8/23/12575952/tragically-hip-last-concert

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/tragicallyhip/

I find myself pondering how many Canadians have “I saw the constellations reveal themselves one star at a time” tattooed on their arm. (Line from Bobcaygeon below)

Gord Downie August 20, 2016

Those outside Canada, people unfamiliar with the Hip might not fathom why a third of our nation gathered to hear Gord Downie’s final live performance. Why Justin Trudeau took in the concert wearing a Hip T-shirt,Tweeting –

Gord Downie is a true original who has been writing Canada’s soundtrack for more than 30 years.

crowds pack out a square in Kingston, Ontario, on 20 August 2016

 Kingston, Ontario – live broadcast for those without show tickets.

Tragically Hip permeate our lives, Gord Downie casts a spell of fortifying unity. This will be remembered as summer of the Hip. Following a three hour, three encore performance in Kingston Gord Downie said “thank you for that” before walking off the stage. Make no mistake, Canada thanks you Mr. Downie.

Revisiting Across The Universe


Julie Taymor’s 2007 musical masterpiece Across The Universe dominates my top ten list. Never before or since have I left a theatre  wearing unabashed joy from ear to ear. Gob smacked patrons bound by a collective aura of measurable energy, stepped out with enlightened strides of purpose. Wikipedia link below details the premise, misses the magic –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Across_the_Universe_(film)

ATU opens with soft footsteps – a love story set in 1960’s America, unknown actors singing Beatles songs. Captivated by cinematography and stunning Beatles covers, audience members barely notice Taymor’s seamless punch of trans formative anti war and civil rights protest. Riveted to our seats, witness to the glaring relevance of Vietnam era America in our modern world. Brilliant. If you haven’t seen it, make a point of seeking it out. I get goosebumps watching this –