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Posts Tagged ‘Carter Family’

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When the gates swing wide on the other side
Just beyond the sunset sea
There’ll be room to spare as we enter there
Room for you and room for me
For the gates are wide on the other side
Where the flowers ever bloom
On the right hand on the left hand
Fifty miles of elbow room

50 Miles of Elbow Room, Herbert Buffum

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I have always longed for elbow room.

Huge arching domes of clear air above.

Wide open spaces for the eye to search.

Soundless vistas with not a soul to be seen.

The elbow room I long for is not that described in the lyrics of the 1930 gospel song, 50 Miles of Elbow Room, from songwriter Herbert Buffum. His version of elbow room is a placid paradise in the hereafter

Ideally, I don’t have to die to find my sought after elbow room. Of course, finding such a place might entail a little imagination along with a willingness to accept that this elbow room most likely will be located inside oneself.

Maybe that’s what I am trying to uncover with my work.

Elbow room. At least, my own little bits of elbow room.

The painting at the top is such a piece. It’s part of my aptly titled show, Social Distancing, that is still planned to open on June 5 at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. There is some doubt as to whether there will be an actual physical opening reception but there will be a show hung to be viewed so long there is– wait for it– social distancing.

This painting is titled Elbow Room, of course. It’s a return of sorts to my earlier work of the early and mid 2000’s, painted in the transparent inks I favor on paper. In a way, painting it felt like it was something inherent. Built in. Natural, like coming home, like a circle being completed.

For me, this is the hardest work to judge. It’s like looking at old family photos. You don’t look at the faces and apprise them for attractiveness or ugliness. You just see them for what you know them to be, for what they mean to you. How the outside world sees them is not important.

And this certainly feels like a family photo for me.

So, on this Sunday morning, let’s hear a bit of that song, 50 Miles of Elbow Room. I couldn’t find the original from Vaughan Happy Two. The two most significant versions are a gospel version from the Rev. F.W. McGee in 1933 and a traditional folk version from the Carter Family in 1942. The song I am playing today owes its influence to the Carter Family. It’s performed by a favorite of mine, Gillian Welch.

Have a good Sunday. Hope you find some elbow room for yourself, if that’s what you want.

 

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GC Myers- Storms Are on the OceanI’ve been working recently on some very small pieces for the upcoming Little Gems show at the West End Gallery in Corning.  I’ve mentioned here before that this particular show is always  a sentimental favorite of mine as it was in this show that I first publicly showed my work twenty years ago.  It represents the first step on to the path that I now follow and that makes it special for me.  Plus I enjoy working in the smaller scale for a bit.  It allows for easily easing back into older themes and forward into newer ones.

One of these pieces that just finished yesterday is shown here at the top.  It’s a 4″ by 6″ painting that I call Storms Are on the Ocean.  I haven’t done a boat painting in some time and thought the smaller format would be the perfect opportunity to re-visit the theme.  I am always drawn to the motion in these pieces and the billow of the sail.  It reminds me of a fable or a dream in some way that I find appealing.

I thought this would be the perfect match for this week’s Sunday morning music which is the song after which this painting is titled.  It’s The Storms Are on the Ocean, a song first done by the legendary Carter Family back in the late 20’s.  This version is from June Carter Cash‘s last album, Wildwood Flower, which was released in the year, 2003, after her death.  Like the final recordings of her husband, the great Johnny Cash, this album shows her in a fragile state of health which adds greatly to the emotional impact of the songs.

It definitely comes through on this lovely song with its haunting chorus:
The storms are on the ocean
The heavens may cease to be
This world may lose its motion, love
If I prove false to thee

Enjoy and have a great Sunday.

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