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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

Want to keep it short this morning as I want to get right to work on a piece that is on the easel. And that desire to go right to the brushes is a good thing, an indicator that a groove is coming.

So, for this Sunday morning here are a couple of noir-ish photos to accompany one of  my favorite songs, Stolen Car, from the 1980 album ,The River, from Bruce Springsteen. The mood of this song, especially within its organ and piano lines, always moves me.

Good painting music.

Have a good Sunday…

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Another gray, wet, cold Sunday morning here in paradise. The sun lately seems like a stranger who, on those rare occasions when it appears, I have a vague recollection of once seeing. It’s grim and has me gazing out my window, hoping that the ghost of Tom Joad, like he had somehow stepped right out of The Grapes Of Wrath, might emerge out of the darkness set against the distant pines. This weather puts me in that mood, that grim feeling of that we need somebody to stand against the darker forces of this world.

Tom Joad, as dark and ill-fated a character as he seems, still gives me hope that there are still people out there who won’t turn a blind eye to injustice and inequality. People who haven’t been numbed by their own self-interest and comfort. They don’t have to be heroes, just plain people with a sense of decency and an unwillingness to turn their back to the wrongs they witness.

We sure could use some more Tom Joads.

Here’s my Sunday morning music. It is, of course, The Ghost of Tom Joad, from Bruce Springsteen. Have yourself a day– good, bad or indifferent– and if you see Tom Joad, tell him I am looking for him.

 

 

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Thought for this Sunday I’d share a painting from my upcoming solo show, The Rising, which opens July 13 at the West End Gallery.

I think this piece, a 24″ by 24″ canvas titled Never Alone, represents the theme of this show very well. The rising moon and the angular, colorful  shapes of the light of the sky creates an almost cathedral-like presence. The two Red Roof houses may be separated physically– and perhaps these days idealistically– yet they seem connected by that which is rising above them.

I’ve lived with this painting for a few months now here in the studio and it never ceases to give me pause when my eyes fall on it. I find great tranquility and comfort in it.

The song for this Sunday’s musical selection is fittingly a version of The Rising, the song written by Bruce Springsteen in the aftermath of 9/11. The lyrics describe the thoughts of a firefighter as he ascends one of the towers after being hit by a jetliner.

Can’t see nothing in front of me
Can’t see nothing coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I’ve gone
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed
On my back’s a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

It progresses to depict the darkness that descends upon him and his subsequent resurrection in spirit with a chorus that is triumphant rather than grim. It is a grand portrayal of the selflessly heroic.

In the years since, it has become more symbolic and uplifting as it celebrates a rising of virtue to overcome impending darkness. It’s a song that definitely is right for the time and one that played a large part in my choice of title for this show. I can see it in the painting above.

This version is performed by Sting from the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. Give a listen and have a great Sunday.

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Spirit in the Night

New Years Eve, folks, and an end to 2017.

Thank god for small favors.

I’ve been recalibrating here at the end of the year, as I’ve explained in some recent entries. I’ve been revisiting old works and writings, trying to blow off the shell of complacency and rediscover that urgent need that drove  my earliest creativity. This also has me re-examining early influences in all things– art, movies, literature and music.

To that end, I found myself watching a couple of hours of old performances early this morning from Bruce Springsteen, mostly grainy black and white films from the 70’s. It may sound odd but Springsteen’s work, his performances and his rapport with his audience throughout his career have informed much of what I have tried to create in my own career. From the first time I saw him perform over 40 years back, I was enthralled by his commitment to growing his work, his complete effort in every performance and his desire to reach out to every member of his audience.

The consistency of his work and his desire to seemingly give more than his audience expects every time speak volumes to me.

So, to end this year I thought I’d go back to a performance at the Capital Theatre in Passaic, NJ in 1978 and one of my favorite Bruce songs, Spirit in the Night, from his first album. It’s great to watch Bruce interact with the audience here.

Have a good New Year’s Eve and let’s hope for better things in 2018.

 

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Maybe it’s the time of the year. Maybe it’s the weather that brings a certain bleakness. Or maybe it’s the political climate and the anxiety it produces on what seems like an hourly basis. Whatever the case, I have found myself listening to the album Nebraska in the studio on a regular basis lately.

It’s an album from Bruce Springsteen from back in 1982 that was recorded solo in his home on a four track cassette recorder. It was meant to serve as a demo for a new group of songs but Springsteen liked it as it was and released it without a band or much embellishment. It is sparse but has an urgency along with a contemplative and sometimes darker tone,  much like the Andrew Wyeth winter scenes from yesterday’s post, that makes it one of my favorites. I also like the feeling that you are hearing these songs in a pure state, closer to how the artist felt them as they formed, before they’ve went through a hundred iterations in the studio to become something much different.

For this week’s Sunday music I thought I’d share one of the more upbeat numbers, Open All Night. If you’re feeling a bit bleaker – or want to feel that way– I’ve also included My Father’s House, a song that gets little notice but, for me, has great imagery, feeling more like a piece of literature than a song.

Give a listen, if you are so inclined, and have a good day.


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Well, Eclipse Day is finally here in the USA after about a 99 year hiatus since one last crossed the entire nation. There is a possibility of some cloud coverage in my home area which will only experience about 75% coverage of the sun by the moon. But I am holding out hope that the weather holds out for everyone who has traveled distances to be in the range of totality. If you’re in that range, enjoy that bit of history but be careful. I’m sure your mother warned you about staring at the sun and it turns out she was right, you can do some serious damage. So grab your eclipse glasses ( don’t confuse them with your 3-D glasses) or your pinhole projector and take a look.

I’m playing a fun song from Bruce Springsteen, his wordy Blinded By the Light. I thought it was appropriate for the day, given it’s lines: Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun/Oh, but Mama, that’s where the fun is. This is a version from a European tour from back in 2012. Before many of his shows, particularly his European dates, he would often perform a loose solo acoustic set of songs for those in the audience who arrived 3 or 4 hours early. This performance is from such an impromptu set in Helsinki.

Enjoy the day and remember: the darkness that will be covering the country is only temporary.

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I finished this new painting a couple of weeks ago and it has been a piece that I’ve spent a lot of time looking at since its completion. It satisfies me on many different levels and simply raises a certain contentment within me. I guess that would be the textbook definition of what I am trying to do for myself with my work.

When I look at this piece, following the river upward where it converges with the sky with the sun at the center of it, I see a winged angel-like figure. This was not by design and it has become the focus of the painting for me. Perhaps this even adds to my engagement with this piece.  That and the overall warmth of the colors and the pull towards the center created by the sky and sun.

There’s just a quality of attraction and completion in it for me that keeps me looking at it.

I was trying to name this piece while I was looking for a suitable bit of music for this Sunday morning selection. While I am not sure this will end up being the final title for this painting, I thought that the title from a somewhat obscure Bruce Springsteen song might fit.

The song is Lift Me Up and it was written in the late 90’s for a film, Limbo, from filmmaker John Sayles.  The song is a quiet, almost pleading, song that features Bruce singing throughout in a falsetto that takes on a lovely and mesmerizing quality as the melody engulfs it.

I think it’s a nice fit for this painting, at least for this morning. I also threw in a companion song this morning.  It’s a beautifully quiet version of If I Should Fall Behind that brings most of the other band members, including the late Clarence Clemons, forward to solo on the lyrics. Nice stuff. Have a good day…


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