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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Morning Music’

Running a little late this Sunday morning, so I am just going to share a little music without too much talk. Let the music talk for itself,

The song is The World (Is Going Up in Flames) from Charles Bradley, a latter day soul singer who passed away in 2017 at the age of 68. Bradley had a classic soul delivery, full-throated and with a wail that mixed pain and joy in equal measures, in the tradition of Otis Redding and others.

The song could definitely speak to the condition of the world these days, here and abroad. Here, we are approaching an endgame that many of us saw in the cards two years ago. Back in December of 2016, I wrote about how  the word kompromat would become more and more significant and little by little, revealed detail by detail, that is becoming an evident truth.

We still have the chance to quell the fire that has been raging here. Let’s hope it doesn’t all burn down before it happens.

Give a listen and have a good Sunday.

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I am going to be brief on this Sunday morning. Probably like many of you, time is short and there is much to do this morning. But I wanted to still put out a piece of music and some sort of image as is the norm here on this blog. Long held habits are hard to break.

The image above is a painting, Radiance and Shadow, that is hanging in my current show at the West End Gallery. I thought I’d pair it with a tune from the Danish String Quartet, a group that deftly mixes folk and classical traditions. Their recent album, Last Leaf, is their take on a blend of traditional Nordic folk tunes and dances. This song, Shine You No More, is a new tune by one of the group’s members but is derived from the work of a 16th century English composer. It is definitely a dance tune.

Give a listen and have a good day.

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Climbed onto the interwebs this morning and made my way to the YouTube. Needed to find something to play for this Sunday morning and wasn’t sure where to turn. Something deep and ponderous? Retro blast from the past? Cool jazz cats?

I didn’t know what would turn up or where I’d find myself.

Oddly, this morning I didn’t have to go far. It was waiting for me on my YouTube homepage.

It was new, just released in mid-July. It was light. It was seasonal. It had a goofy video. It seemed like a nice respite from watching the news and wringing hands.

Well, alright, let’s go with it. It’s a little ditty called Blueberry Jam from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, aka Will Oldham. He’s been a unique voice on the American music scene for a number of years and I’ve featured his music here a couple of times, once with him performing his I Am Goodbye and another with the epic cover of his song I See a Darkness from Johnny Cash.

Give a listen and grab a blueberry for yourself this morning.

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This new painting has been sitting in front of my desk here in the studio for several weeks now and it has began to feel like part of the place. It just feels right in that spot, even though it takes up a lot of space–it’s a big painting, 36″ high by 48″ wide— blocking a large part of the stone fireplace that I normally enjoy having in front of me. I wasn’t happy taking it down to photograph it. Like I said, it just felt right where it was.

Maybe there’s a sense of optimism or empowerment in it that I find attractive, both qualities that are sorely needed in these times. Maybe it’s the sense of unity with its surroundings that the Red Tree seems to possess. Or maybe it’s the symmetry in its composition or the rhythm in the bands of hills.

I can’t really say for sure but whatever it is, it makes me feel better in the time in the time it is front of me.

Hopefully, it will work that way for someone else when it goes to my show, Haven, at the Principle Gallery that opens on June 1.  If not, I will gladly welcome it back to brighten my outlook.

I am calling it Natural High.

I guess that makes a nice segue for this week’s Sunday morning music. The choice this week is, of course, the soul classic, Natural High, from the group Bloodstone recorded back in 1973. I hadn’t heard the song in a very long time and after hearing it recently, it became an earworm for me. It dug itself in and I found myself singing its chorus under my breath as I was walking through the woods to the studio at 6 AM. Maybe that’s why I chose to use its title for this painting. The song is an earworm for me like the painting is an eyeworm.

God, that sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? All these worms and ears and eyes. When, in fact, it’s actually all good. Take a look, give a listen and have a great Sunday.

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Watching the murmurations of starlings is a fascinating and hypnotic thing to see, indeed.  Murmuration is the word for the starling flock and for the intricate dance in the sky performed by these huge groups of birds which often number in the tens of thousands.

The murmurations move gracefully and quickly, creating constantly shifting forms that seem derived from some higher levels of geometry and quantum mechanics than my simple mind can comprehend. I get the feeling when I watch them that I am seeing some essential base element of our universe made visible.

We have never really fully understood the hows and whys of these complex movements. Researchers have found that these displays are almost always set off by a predator such as a falcon near the edge of the group. The group responds as a single unit without an actual leader in order to avoid and distance the group as a whole from the predator.

Researchers believe that this done with something called scale-free correlation which allows birds at any point in the group to instantaneously sense and react to what any other bird in the group, no matter how far away, might be experiencing. Any information moves through the group instantly and without any degradation of the message. It’s like an incredibly complex version of the telephone game. With people passing a simple message along in this game, the message is often garbled beyond recognition within a relatively short time. Here the message is passed tens of thousands of times without missing a word, a comma or inflection.

How they do it remains a mystery. Maybe that’s why they remain so fascinating, to remind us that we still know so little of the grand scheme of things.

For this Sunday morning music here’s a piece, On Reflection, from contemporary composer Max Richter. It is accompanied here by a video of the murmurations of starlings. The music and the flowing motions of the birds create a hypnotic and soothing effect. Give a listen and relax. Maybe you can imagine being part of that murmuration.

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 I was looking for something to play this morning and put on this album, Blues Twilight, from jazz trumpet player Richard Boulger. I’ve played a couple of tracks from this album here over the years.

While the title track was playing I went over to over to a painting that hangs in my studio, the one shown above. It’s an experiment titled October Sky from a few years back that is a real favorite of mine. I showed it for only a short time before deciding that I wanted it hanging in the studio. I never really worked any further in the direction this piece was taking me. Part of that decision to not go further was purely selfish, wanting to keep something solely for myself, something that wasn’t subject to other people’s opinions.

A strictly personal piece. A part of the prism that doesn’t show.

I look at it every day but generally it is from a distance, taking it in as a whole. But his morning, while the album’s title track played I went  and really looked hard at it, up close so that every bump and smear was obvious. And I liked what I was seeing, so much so that I grabbed my phone and began snapping little up close chunks of it.

It all very much felt like the music, like captured phrases or verses.  Each had their own nuance, color and texture and they somehow blended into a harmonic coherence that made the piece feel complete.

It’s funny but sometimes when I am working hard and in a groove that takes over from conscious thought, I almost forget about those things that I myself like in my work because I don’t have to think about them in the process of creating the work. Looking at this painting this close made me appreciate the painting even more, made me think about it in a different way than the manner in which I now used to seeing it.

Guess it’s a good thing to stop every now and then and look at what you’ve done, up close and personal.

Here’s Blues Twilight from Richard Boulger. Enjoy the music and take a look at the snips, if you so wish. But definitely have a good day.


GC Myers- October Sky detail
GC Myers- October Sky detail GC Myers- October Sky detail GC Myers- October Sky detail GC Myers- October Sky detail GC Myers- October Sky detailGC Myers- October Sky detail

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Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.

Alan Watts

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I wasn’t planning on showing this newer painting for a while. But I came across this lovely piece of music and this painting seemed to pair perfectly with it, at least to my eyes and ears.

The painting is an 18″ by 36′ canvas that I call Starmap and is part of my annual show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria which opens June 1.

I have been working on a series of paintings like this, with blocks of color making up the sky and stars as points of light showing at the intersections of these blocks. I love working on these pieces. They require an emptying of the mind with a focus solely on what is before you. There’s this interesting sense of constant problem solving that bounces from making each form correctly and balancing that form within the whole composition. I continually go back and forth from tight focus to wide focus.

I probably can’t properly explain it but for me, it is an exhilarating process as each added form and layer of color, each poke of light from the stars, subtly transforms the piece into something more than I was expecting. It feels more complete and full than the first thoughts and brushstrokes that initiated the painting, leaving me with a giddy kind of satisfaction. I know that this has been the case thus far with each of the paintings in this series.

Now for this Sunday morning music, I thought this wonderful piece, Nocturne, from young Hungarian guitarist Zsófia Boros paired up beautifully with the feeling that this piece creates for myself. I’ve listened to it several times this morning and it just seems right.

Give a listen and have a great Sunday.

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