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Posts Tagged ‘Rhiannon Giddens’

Decompressing and keeping it simple this morning. Something soothing perhaps.

I’ve been looking at some work recently from back in 2006 and have been struck by the tranquility and simple cleanness of design in many of the pieces from that time. It makes me feel like I should be backtracking a bit to revisit this work to see how it would emerge in the present time.

Would it have the same sort of placid quality or was that a product of my state of mind at that time? Is that something that can just be conjured up at any time?

Hmm. Something to think about but I’m not going to let it trouble my mind which brings me to this week’s Sunday morning music. It’s from Rhiannon Giddens and is her version of the old (first released in 1969) Dolly Parton classic, the beautifully written Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind. Rhiannon delivers a great version, as she always does.

Give a listen, have a good Sunday and don’t let it trouble your mind.

 

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There is just way too much to do this morning as I am finishing up work on my upcoming July show at the West End Gallery. But even though my time is spent on this work, the events taking place in this country occupy my mind a lot of this time. I am not going to go into it at this point but I wanted to share a video that speaks to it in a way.

It is from one of my favorites, the ultra talented Rhiannon Giddens, and was produced in the aftermath of the Charleston, SC church shooting in which 9 church members were murdered. It’s probably hard to remember, there have been so many mass shootings in the years since that we barely notice anymore when only 3 or 4 or 5 people are killed.

The song is Cry No More and the words at the top appear at the end of the video. They serve as a powerful reminder that we get what we put up with and that to be silent is to accept this status quo. All the tears in the world accomplish nothing unless they are followed with a powerful and unified voice.

So, cry no more. Know your history. Know your mind. Speak up. Be loud.

 

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“The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,

Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

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A little short on time this morning (what’s new?) but I wanted to share this new song from an upcoming album by a favorite of mine, Rhiannon Giddens. She has one of those voices that always seems absolute and powerful. A beautiful rarity. I felt that this particular song fit right in with the theme behind much of my work, especially in the line in its chorus :

Don’t know where I’m going but I know what to do

Does anyone really know what they’re looking for in this life? Just doing the right thing and being honest with ourselves is all we can do as we search.

So, give a listen and keep on seeking, folks. Have a great day.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4Xlyi8Is98

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There are colors that really trigger reactions within me. Most people would no doubt think that the color red would be the main one and perhaps they are right. The Red Tree is certainly the thing that would come to mind for those who know my work. And Red Roofs and Red Chairs.

Or maybe one might think that it’s the Indian yellow, a warm color that was the basis for much of my early work. It creates a most satisfying peaceful feeling in me still, after all these years. It would n’t be a bad guess.

But for me, I always come back to the blues along with the purples that spin off of them. They excite, mesmerize, tranquilize, intoxicate and pacify me. They take the melancholy and anxiety of existence and mix it with the sheer joy of living and feeling to create an aura that surrounds our life. I don’t even know if that sentence makes any sense but it sure feels like the color blue to me.

An example of this might be found in this new painting that is part of my show at the Principle Gallery that opens a week from today, June 2. This 12″ by 12″ painting on canvas is titled Passing the Blues.

It’s a piece that I have been coming back to in the past few weeks, just hovering over it as I take it in.  There’s a feeling in it for me that I would describe as sweet sorrow. Kind of like the appreciation you might have for the melancholy that sometimes comes with this life. It’s not joy but it lets you know that you are are a living and feeling person.

And that, in itself, is a wonderful thing.

And that is how I see the blue colors.

Here’s a song that has that same feeling of sweet sorrow for me.  It’s a great song originally written and performed by Dolly Parton. It’s Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind and is performed here by a favorite of mine, Rhiannon Giddens.

 

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west-end-gallery-160First thing this morning, many thanks to everyone who came out to the West End Gallery on Friday night for the opening of my show there.  I am most appreciative for anyone who takes the time on a hot Friday summer evening to come into the gallery.  It was great seeing old and new friends as well as seeing how they reacted to the work, which was hung beautifully by Lin and Jesse.  They did a great job pairing the paintings with original glass work —  each seemed to reflect and enhance the other.

Again, many thanks for making this a great show.  If you haven’t had a chance to get into the West End Gallery, please do try soon.  The show hangs until September 2.  I will also be giving a Gallery Talk on Saturday, August 6 from 1-2 PM at the gallery.  As is now tradition, there will be some sharing so mark the date and try to come on in.

This morning is the end of the Tour de France, the incredible bike race that is one of my favorite events of every summer.  This last day is generally a ceremonial stage, with the riders coming into Paris en masse for a final end of race for one final sprint to the finish line.

Tour de France Froome and Team SkyThe race leader this year is past two-time Tour winner Chris Froome, a Kenyan-born Brit whose skinny frame hides a huge diesel motor within that seems to just chug and chug without end.  Froome’s dominance is quite remarkable but just enduring such a race is incredible in itself.  Three weeks with only two days of rest that covers about 2100 miles that wind around France and neighboring countries, up and over the highest peaks and mountain passes in the Alps and Pyrenees.  

It is speed, strength and sheer endurance mixed in with the toughness to scramble up after hitting the road at 45 MPH and continue riding a tough course for another 50 miles.   Imagine running half and full marathons nearly every day for three weeks over rugged terrain in all sorts of weather.  That’s the Tour.

I always hate to see it end.

So for this Sunday morning music here’s a French classic, La Vie en Rose, sung by the wondrous Rhiannon Giddens.  It is a gorgeous version that she mad in response to the terror attacks in France last year.  Unfortunately, it applies this year as well.

But be optimistic and have a great Sunday!

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Rhiannon GiddensWell, it’s time for Sunday morning music.  I don’t keep up with music as closely as I once did.  My mind is occupied in different ways these days and I tend to hold on to music and artists that I know, only stepping outside my comfort zone occasionally to seek something new– at least new for me.  Sometimes I just stumble across it.  Such is the case with Rhiannon Giddens.

I caught a short segment with this musician who hails from Greensboro, North Carolina on last week’s CBS Sunday Morning and was instantly transfixed by the performances they featured.  I’ve listened to a number of tracks from her throughout the week and have yet to come across one that didn’t just sail on the strength of her voice.  Just a wonderful talent.

She is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory where she studied opera so you might think she would be singing classical pieces but she works mainly in the field of folk and traditional music, playing both the violin and banjo.  But even those two fields can’t contain her.  I can’t imagine any genre in which she couldn’t stand out.  She does a version of La Vie En Rose in French that is absolutely beautiful and her cover of She’s Got You almost comes up to the level of the epic original from Patsy Cline.

I am a little embarrassed that it took me so long to come across Rhiannon Giddens.  I guess I should start paying more attention.  Who knows what other great talents I have been missing?  Here’s a version of the song Waterboy that I think is a tour de force and below it is the CBS Sunday Morning segment that features a little more about her.  Great stuff.

Have a great Sunday…

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