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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Waits’

This painting is one of those pieces that somehow found its way back to the studio after making the rounds at several galleries.  I’m not always surprised when one does make its way back to me but this one kind of surprised me.  There’s just a lot that I like about this painting.  So I will enjoy it for a while longer for myself.  Here’s what I wrote about it a few years back.

GC Myers- Passing CloudOptimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
-Helen Keller

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Who can speak more about optimism than Helen Keller?

I still struggle to get my mind around how she persevered to overcome blindness and deafness.  Such a remarkable thing.  It makes me question my own strength of character, makes me wonder how I would respond if similar circumstances.  I wonder how well known her life’s story is to the younger generation, outside of the tale of her early years with the woman, Anne Sullivan,  who taught her how to join the world as portrayed in the play and movie, The Miracle Worker.  That drama, while marvelous in itself, doesn’t reveal the great influence that Helen Keller had through her life as an activist and inspirational speaker.  She is a pretty amazing case, to say the least.

That brings me to this  little piece, a new 12″ by 12″ canvas that I call Passing Clouds.  There’s a lot of joy, a lot of bright-eyed optimism in this painting, both in the process of painting it and in the final product.  It’s one of those pieces that I truly enjoyed every moment that I worked on it and never felt a twinge of doubt about the strength or validity of it.  It felt in rhythm with the first brushstroke and every subsequent move was made with complete confidence.  That’s a rare thing.  Usually there is a struggle at some point.  But occasionally things come together and a painting like this flows out with complete ease.

No, there are no clouds hanging over this one.  Just floating by…

I wanted to include a version of Irving Berlin‘s classic song  Blue Skies, one of my favorites.  But as I searched  I came across this different song  with the same title from Tom Waits.  I had forgotten this song that I hadn’t heard in many years but it immediately came back to me.  Just a lovely small song, perfect for a lovely small painting.

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mose-allison_1Artistic influences,  seeing how a certain artist will take the work of others and transform it into their own, is a fascinating thing.  Sometimes it’s very obvious especially when the influence is of equal renown or when one artist directly copies the work of another.  But sometimes there are great influences that you may not even recognize.

Mose Allison (born in 1927) is such a person, a name you probably don’t know.  But for many musicians in the who found their voice in the 60’s, he was a huge influence.  Jimi Hendrix,  The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, Tom Waits, Van Morrison and many, many others have all cited him as a strong influence on their work.  But Mose Allison, while achieving considerable fame, never became the household name like so many of his admirers.

He was pretty hard to pigeonhole as a musician- at times very bluesy, himself strongly influenced by the delta blues of his home in Mississippi, other times very jazzy or even pop tinged.  But always a unique and individual sound that allowed him to take a song, his own or those written by others, and  give it a new perspective.  I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Mose Allison until just recently but have been thrilled to find his work and can easily see it in the work of so many others.  I encourage you to seek out his work and give it a listen.

To that end, here’s a small sample for this Sunday morning.  It’s his version of the Willie Dixon blues classic The Seventh Son, a song that became a pop hit for Johnny Rivers.  But here, it definitely feels all Mose Allison.  Enjoy and have a great Sunday.

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GC Myers- Passing Clouds

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
-Helen Keller

***************

Who can speak more about optimism than Helen Keller?

I still struggle to get my mind around how she persevered to overcome blindness and deafness.  Such a remarkable thing.  It makes me question my own strength of character, makes me wonder how I would respond if similar circumstances.  I wonder how well known her life’s story is to the younger generation, outside of the tale of her early years with the woman, Anne Sullivan,  who taught her how to join the world as portrayed in the play and movie, The Miracle Worker?  That drama, while marvelous, doesn’t tell of the great influence that Helen Keller had through her life as an activist and inspirational speaker.  She is a pretty amazing case, to say the least.

That brings me to this  little piece, a new 12″ by 12″ canvas that I call Passing Clouds.  There’s a lot of joy, a lot of bright-eyed optimism in this painting, both in the process of painting it and in the final product.  It’s one of those pieces that I truly enjoyed every moment that I worked on it and never felt a twinge of doubt about the strength or validity of it.  It felt in rhythm with the first brushstroke and every subsequent move was made with complete confidence.  That’s a rare thing.  Usually there is a struggle at some point.  But occasionally things come together and a painting like this flows out with complete ease.

No, there are no clouds over this one.

I wanted to include a version of Irving Berlin‘s classic song  Blue Skies, one of my favorites.  But as I searched  I came across this different song  with the same title from Tom Waits.  I had forgotten this song that I hadn’t heard in many years but it immediately came back to me.  Just a lovely small song, perfect for a lovely small painting.

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Shore Leave

It’s Sunday morning and I’m feeling a little draggy, a little empty in the fuel tank.  Don’t really feel like expounding on anything, least of all my work or myself.  I’ve got a Tom Waits song in my head and it just about fits the bill for a dose of early morning Sunday after Christmas, running low on caffeine, waiting for the newspaper  melancholia.

Here’s Shore Leave from Tom Waits’ album, Swordfishtrombones , which is one of my favorites from him.

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Hoagy CarmichaelIt’s Saturday morning and I just had a thought about Hoagy Carmichael, the great composer of some of the most recorded songs of the last century.   Classics like Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, Am I Blue, Up a Lazy River and on and on.  He also appeared in a number of films in parts that allowed him to showcase his piano playing and song skills, most memorably in as the bar-owner uncle to the Harold Russell character in the great The Best Years of Our Lives .

My favorite was from the Humphrey Bogart/ Lauren Bacall classic  To Have and Have Not where he was the piano player in the island dive.  He does a version of his Hong Kong Blues which has a real funky sound, very reminiscent of something Tom Waits might do forty or fifty years later.  I couldn’t find that version but I found a later one from the Rosemary Clooney Show in the 50’s that’s still pretty good.

For  my money he was a pretty cool customer.  I may not have agreed with all of his views ( he once got into a fistfight with Bogart over Bogart’s pinko leanings) but how can you not like a gut who write songs with titles like I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues ?

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