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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday Morning Music’

I don’t really want to write anything today, just want to decompress a little bit. Or decompose. Or deconstruct.

Decontaminate? Depose? Defect?

Some de-word so long as it isn’t debilitate or defibrillate.

But it is Sunday and, as it remains a pleasant monkey on my back, I habitually play a piece of music every Sunday morning. This week is We Belong Together from Rickie Lee Jones. It’s from her great 1981 album, Pirates. I can’t believe this has been around that long but we can never fool time no matter how hard we try. It’s been a favorite of mine for that long and makes a nice accompaniment to the little piece shown here, In Amethyst Light,  that is part of my current West End Gallery show.

Give a listen and have a good day. Maybe even a de-lightful one…

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Sunday morning and I just want to hear some music, something that will make me think, maybe move me a bit. I didn’t know what I was really looking for when I came across this John Prine song from his 2005 album,  Fair and Square. Even though I say it’s his song it was actually written by songwriter R. B. Morris. John Prine just sang it in that way he has that can either make you laugh or cry depending on the song.

This is one that doesn’t make you laugh. It might not make you cry but it will make you think a little bit and no doubt recognize yourself or someone you know in the lyrics of the song. The first verse dragged me in. Here’s That’s How Every Empire Falls. The lyrics are below.

Have yourself a good Sunday.

 
Caught a train from Alexandria
Just a broken man in flight
Running scared with his devils
Saying prayers all through the night
Oh but mercy can’t find him
Not in the shadows where he calls
Forsaking all his better angels
That’s how every empire falls

The bells ring out on Sunday morning
Like echoes from another time
All our innocence and yearning
and sense of wonder left behind
Oh gentle hearts remember
What was that story? Is it lost?
For when religion loses vision
That’s how every empire falls.

He toasts his wife and all his family
The providence he brought to bear
They raise their glasses in his honor
Although this union they don’t share
A man who lives among them
Was still a stranger to them all
For when the heart is never open
That’s how every empire falls

Padlock the door and board the windows
Put the people in the street
“It’s just my job,” he says “I’m sorry.”
And draws a check, goes home to eat
But at night he tells his woman
“I know I hide behind the laws.”
She says, “You’re only taking orders.”
That’s how every empire falls.

A bitter wind blows through the country
A hard rain falls on the sea
If terror comes without a warning
There must be something we don’t see
What fire begets this fire?
Like torches thrown into the straw
If no one asks, then no one answers
That’s how every empire falls.

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Another Sunday morning and I am ready for a little music. I was looking at some of the Nocturne paintings of James McNeill Whistler that I so much admire, like the one shown above from  1877, and thought I’d use that as the theme for this week’s music.

There are a lot of songs that use night as a theme but I settled on the classic Night Life written by Willie Nelson back in the late 1950’s. It has been covered by a lot of folks over the years, some good and some not so much. But  for me  while Willie’s version remains the truest and best of the bunch, I am partial to this performance by the great Marvin Gaye. He inserts his own special feeling into the song and the night life he creates is indeed his life. Good stuff.

Give a listen. Enjoy. Have a great day…

 

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gc-myers-christmas-2007-small

It’s an incredibly gray morning here, mist hanging over the snow.  Not much color anywhere.  Even the needles of the pines and spruces out the window seem more gray than green.  It’s downright somber and while I sometimes enjoy the bleak feel of these sort of days, today it does nothing for me.  It’s just feels like a slog and I find myself just wanting to sit here and lose myself in looking out the window as the sleety snow mix falls.

I was going to play some holiday music for this Sunday’s musical selection but I thought that the song I chose goes better with the feeling of this morning here. It also matches up pretty well with the painting above from quite a few years back.  I think I used this as Christmas card back in 2007. The song is a favorite of mine from Neko Case,  I Wish I Was the Moon.

So, if you’re so inclined, give a listen and look out your own window.  Hopefully, the sun will be shining for you and that here, this will be no more than a gray start to a great day. But for now, I’m going to sip my tea and look out the window.

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GC Myers- Possessed in the Lightgnossienne – n. a moment of awareness that someone you’ve known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you’ve never fully explored—an unfinished attic that will remain maddeningly unknowable to you, because ultimately neither of you has a map, or a master key, or any way of knowing exactly where you stand.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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I don’t have much to say this morning.  I just wanted to share a little music from the French composer Erik Satie, someone whose work has always spoken to me in its elegant spareness.  It was a great influence on some of my earliest works.  In fact, I even titled an early piece or two after the composer but I can’t locate the images at this point.

I thought I’d share his Gnossienne no. 1 as played in this fine video from the contemporary Italian pianist/composer Alessio Nanni.  The word gnossienne was created by Satie.  He sometimes created new terms or appropriated terms from other fields to describe his compositions.  Gnossienne is generally thought to simply denote a new form although I like the definition at the top from the website The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.  It seems to fit the composition very well.

Anyway, give a listen to Satie’s beautiful sounds and have a great Sunday.

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GC Myers Early Work 1994I have a square cardboard box in one of the rooms of my studio.  It’s not much to look at it and it certainly doesn’t have any significance attached to its exterior appearance.  But for me it’s a treasure chest, my secret bounty.  You see, this rather plain box holds hundreds of small pieces from my earliest forays in paint from twenty some years ago.

They are not significant to anyone other than me. If you were to look in it you might not feel anything more than you would from looking at the old buttons, matchbooks and other tiny souvenirs of times past in someone else’s dresser drawers.

Many are clumsy attempts and most are deeply flawed in some way.  But for me, they hold so much more deep meaning than is apparent from a first look. They are my artifacts, my history, my ponderings, my inner thoughts and my memory.

They are me.

There’s always a special feeling when I delve into them, like that feeling of looking at old family photos and vividly remembering moments that seem to have happened eons ago.  I sometimes marvel at the brightness of my youth at that point and sometimes frown at the foolishness of it.  I see where I thought I was going and can compare it to where I finally landed.  There are ideas there that are dismal failures that make me smile now and make me wonder if I should have pursued them further.

And there are some that make me happier now than when they were done.  Time has added a completeness to them that was lacking then.

And there are pieces like the untitled one above from back in 1994 that make me just stop and wonder where they came from.  They seem like lost memories.  I know I made this piece up in my mind but can’t remember why.  I have skimmed over it a hundred times and never given it more than a shrug.  But today I find myself looking intently at it as though it holds something for me that I can’t just pull out of it.

There’s a frustration in that but since I know that it is mine, I don’t really mind.  I will have it for years to come and can question it again and again.  Maybe my mind will release the secret or at least form a substitute reality at some point, one that brings me closure of some kind.

Who knows?

Today’s Sunday Morning music deals a bit with some of the same feelings.  Well, I think it does.  It’s Hello In There from John Prine.  Visiting my father in the nursing home has been hard, not just for the visits with him which still leave me shaken a little after each visit, but for the sight of the other older folks in even deeper states of dementia as they sit in their chairs in the hallways and dining rooms.  There is a lonely blankness in their eyes that is heart-breaking.  You wish you could reach into them and pull their old self out in the open if only for a moment.  But all you can do is say hello and hope they hear the words and the feeling in it.

Anyway, this is a great old song from John Prine.  I hope you’ll give it a listen and have a great Sunday.

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Little League Stadium Williamsport PA

Little League Stadium, Williamsport PA

It’s been an emotionally draining period these last few weeks as we brought my father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s back to this area from Florida.  It’s been hard watching him in his diminished physical and mental state and placing him in a local nursing facility where he could get the care he truly needs didn’t bring a lot of relief.  There’s a constant mild anxiety, a sense of worry mixed with sorrow and just a little guilt.

I know that it will get better by degrees but that is small comfort in the moment.

Yesterday, I finally picked up a brush for the first time in a few weeks.  I knew I had to get back into it because of obligations I have but more so because painting has been my escape route through the years, that place of retreat for me from the problems of the world.  I have found that I can translate my problems, my concerns into paint and off my shoulders.  It felt good yesterday but I still wasn’t able to fully get a foothold in that world.  I was still straddling that calmer place and the new world and environment of my father.

I am sure it was partly because his situation represents a change in my normal routine.  I am an extreme creature of habit and have worked for years to build a healthy and productive routine.  So this change was an upheaval that will take some time to work around and rebuild a new routine that works for me.

I am hoping that today finds me closer to that other world in the paint.  I feel that it will. But if it doesn’t do it today at least I have another constant, another part of my routine to which I can turn with the assurance that it will almost always have something to offer.

Baseball.

The baseball gods can be merciless.  Ask a Chicago Cubs fan.  But sometimes they show a little tenderness and mercy, giving you a wonderful gift (or an escape route) when you really need it.

Over the past few weeks it has been a real boost and diversion to watch the emergence of rookie catcher Gary Sanchez for the Yankees who has been putting on a historic power display as the heir apparent to the legacy of Ruth, Gehrig Dimaggio, Mantle and Jeter.  There’s a buzz every time he steps to the plate that is a thrill to behold.  I know that it can’t last at this pace but when the baseball gods smile you have to just enjoy the moment.

Plus these same baseball gods even decided to give a local Little League team from just down the road in Maine-Endwell a bit of magic as they made their way to the final game of the Little League World Series where they play the kids from South Korea today for the championship down in Williamsport.

So today I will visit Dad, try to find a world in the paint and root for those kids from Maine-Endwell.  For this Sunday’s music, here’s a great song from Mabel Scott that pays homage to those baseball gods.  It’s Baseball Boogie  and the video features some great footage of Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Willie Mays and Ted Williams.  Take a look, let your toes tap and have a great day.  Go, Maine-Endwell!

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