Left for work at 4:20 this morning, closed the front door, gasped at the beauty of our Moon and Jupiter. Bathed in wonder, I couldn’t look away. Lips curled in a foolish grin, raced dawn to work for another glimpse of Jupiter’s dance with the Moon. Buoyed by Moon and Jupiter, happiest day in a very long time.
Driving home I heard Night Flyer by Allison Russell on CBC radio. Don’t know if lingering Moon and Jupiter tonic plucked a nerve, nor do I care. I love this song. Love how a seemingly ordinary day without expectations inexplicably tasked Moon, Jupiter and Allison Russell with making my day.
Who knew? Seems I’m a fan of country music. Huh, go figure. I’ve long recognized fondness for Bluegrass (fiddles steal my heart), Zydeco and Folk Roots. Likewise Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings – each and every one brilliant in their own way, but two steppin’, line dancing, honkytonk country? Who knew it could be so uplifting? Who knew, almost a year into the pandemic I’d be pining for a line dance with scores of carefree country music fans.
Two of my favorite artists, Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett buddy up to sing Over Everything. “When I’m outside in a real good mood, you can almost forget ’bout all the other things, like a big ol’ ominous cloud in my periphery”. Know it’s okay to step outside by yourself to appreciate inexplicable subtleties of daily life all too often muddied by calamitous headlines. Sometimes we just need to breath. Enjoy….
In 1982 Archie Williams was charged and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit – rape/stabbing of a white woman. Despite three witnesses testifying he was home, no crime scene fingerprint match, he was sentenced to life without chance of parole. Case closed, white justice, black man in jail. Archie was sent to Louisiana’s Angola State Prison, arguably America’s most brutal institution. Archie wallowed in Angola for 37 years. But for the Innocence Project reopening his case, using modern DNA technology and fingerprint data bases proving the crime was committed by a serial rapist – Archie Williams would have toiled in Angola chain gangs to his dying breath.
Last night Archie Williams told his story on America’s Got Talent. Everyone needs to watch this clip, ask themselves how many more Archie Williams fill U.S. prisons for no reason other than they’re black men.
Music is a powerful elixir, tonic capable of lifting spirits with inexplicable harmonic energy. Tonight’s quarantine playlist started with Casual Viewin’ by iconic Canadian band 54-40, a curious choice considering their vast catalogue and undeniable place on my top ten list of favorite bands. 54 40 could sing the phonebook and I’d be happy, Casual Viewin’ makes me smile, if that’s not quarantine tonic I don’t know what is.
Next played Over Everything by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. Two fav artists joining to produce a song that makes me feel good –
For no discernible reason I turned to old school hip hop. Beatie Boys and Salt N Pepa –
Currently I’m digging Who Will Save Your Soul by Jewel –
Quarantine playlists are fascinating. What we listen to speaks volumes about our mindset.
Dibesh Pokharel, born October 24, 1997 in Katmandu, Nepal, effortlessly stole my heart courtesy American Idol. After immigrating to Wichita, Kansas in 2014, Dibesh adopted the stage name Arthur Gunn. If American Idol, for all its nauseating sparkle and flash is about discovering raw talent with dreams of what if, Arthur Gunn’s wildest dreams just became reality. American Idol doesn’t matter. I’d line up for Arthur Gunn tickets tonight. Wikipedia bio link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Gunn
Arthur lists his musical influences as – John Martyn, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Bukka White, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Led Zeppelin/Jimmy Page, Joe Cocker, Mississippi John Hurt and John Lee Hooker. Sweet mercy, that’s like a road map to my soul.
Arthur Gunn’s voice is my tonic. A remarkable artist destined to become more than American Idol contestant.
Not the first time I’ve championed homegrown cowboy surf rock, but certainly the first time It’s Gettin’ Tough by the Modelos plays as a pandemic earworm. Last time I shared this song, Trump’s America blistered. Since then, Trump jibber-jabber has intensified. Undaunted by more of the same, it struck me as appropriate to reinsert a homegrown Vancouver cowboy surf vibe to lighten the mood.
A friends’ email got me thinking about the power of music to unite large numbers of people with a common goal. Born and raised in Liverpool before imigrating to Canada, affinity with Liverpool football club remains dear to his heart. He’s the reason I know Liverpool kicks it out at Anfield where every home game begins with You’ll Never Walk Alone. In his words “the anthem of all football anthems” sung as a hymn by thousands of faithful filling the stands.
Not being much of a sports fan forgive me if I’ve overlooked similar anthems in North America. Pretty sure Stomping’ Tom Connors Good Old Hockey Game doesn’t pack the same punch. My point being, it’s remarkable how music solidifies a singular objective and You’ll Never Walk Alone does just that.
“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high and don’t be afraid of the dark ……”