Music and Art Monday April 23rd, 2018: As Promised

Well, as promised, although a week late, I finally sat down and recorded a few videos of my rusty guitar playing.

First up are two of my favorite John Prine songs: “Take the Star Out of The Window” and “Paradise”. You can definitely tell that I am rusty.

And here are two originals from almost 20 years ago. I was not the best lyricist back then, and I probably haven’t played these for 10 years. The first is called “Hold Me To Your Side” and the second is “Blue Bob Blues”. It was not written about my wife, I swear it.

It was fun taking a trip down memory lane, even if it was a bit bumpy.

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Music and Art Monday, April 2nd, 2018: Art and Ennui

It has been awhile since I’ve written one of these. But I’m inspired, despite the fact that it is Wednesday night.

I just finished watching a biography of Eva Hesse. I had never heard of her before Netflix decided I needed to download her biography. While the art wasn’t exactly my taste, the life was certainly one of interest.

What is it about the slow, tedious times in life that inspire creativity? Why does it seem like the best artists are the ones who can capture the worst of emotion and pour them out painstakingly into works that last generations?

I will never be well known. Netflix will never tell you to download my biography (man, would that be boring). But I’d like to think that just a bit of me gets captured in these random spurts of activity driven by the slow and mundane hours of life.

Perhaps by the end of this week, before this appears on your screen, I might even pick up a paintbrush again and have more to show than just a series of long-exposure selfies.

Stay tuned, this feeling may not last…

Music and Art Monday, January 29th, 2018: Just a Few of My Favorites

I had a pretty blah week this past week. And after racking my exhausted brain I couldn’t come up with anything except the idea to share a few of my favorite paintings. Plus all I have talked about lately is music, it’s about time I start looking at art again!

This is Matisse’s “Seated Odalisque With Left Knee Bent”. I’m not completely sure he picked the name, but it is definitely descriptive. He did several “odalisque” paintings, and all of them are quite good, but this is my favorite. An odalisque is a Turkish concubine by the way. They were popular subjects in 19th century Orientalism.

The Bedroom in Arles”, or as van Gogh titled it “The Bedroom” was painted in 1888 to depict his bedroom in Arles, France. I bought a print of this when I went to the van Gogh exhibit in DC in middle school and it hung on my wall all the way through college and beyond. I loved the colors and the simplicity of the objects in the room. He didn’t waste time with all with an over abundance of details.

“Cycles Gladiator” is actually a work of commercial art. It was designed by the printer G. Massias to promote a Parisian bicycle company during the late 19th century’s golden age of cycling. There are apparently only four originals left, but copies are abundant enough that I was able to purchase one in college.

Lucas Cranach the Elder is one of my favorites (and was friends with Luther, so he had to be a cool guy). There are many to choose from but I really love “The Fountain of Youth” because he didn’t shy away from “non-ideal” beauty. Artists, especially in that day, rarely paint “ugly” subjects, preferring instead to depict ideal human figures. I think his depiction of old women is beautiful and respectful.

“The Feast of St. John” by Jules Breton is something I wish I had a print of. What caught my eye about this first was his great execution of fire, the realism almost makes you feel its warmth. I also enjoy the way the women almost float, his capture of their movement is flawless.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. What are some of your favorite paintings?

Music and Art Monday, December 11th,2017: What Was I Thinking?

I was sorting out a tub of crusty old stuff the other day and found some of my old cds. What a time capsule!

You know you are “old” when you have to make sure your cd drive is hooked up to the computer. Who listens to cd’s anymore?

So what was I listening to just a few short years ago?

The first oldie I popped in was Carla Werner’s first album “Departure“.

Daparture

Never heard of her? There’s probably a good reason. Her last album was released in 2009, and it was much better than the first. But not much better. Snooze fest and an anemic voice. What was I thinking back then?

Next up was a copy of Forest For The Trees’ “Planet Unknown“.

forthetrees

This isn’t a bad song for late 90’s electronica. But they aren’t on Spotify and judging by Google results, they probably aren’t around as a group anymore either. ‘Tis a shame.

Next into my cd drive was The Beatles “Anthology 2”. The middle anthology is personally my favorite. This is definitely the best period of the band. I’m actually quite glad to have found this one.

Anthology2

There was also a Paul McCartney live album, which is pretty meh. I saw him in concert, and after that there are very few good live albums that are worth it. Either be there or be square.

I stopped listening at this point. Sometimes nostalgia is not so fun. It just reminds you of better times or worse times, or just the fact that your taste in music isn’t always the most discerning. 

Also in the tub was some Norah Jones, a couple of compilation cd’s from record companies I used to get for free at the local record store, and a random Dave Matthews Band disc that I found in a whole case that some bro had dropped in the university parking lot. Nothing that I still listen to.

If I had continued I would have popped in Lily Allen’s “Alright Still“.

Alright

Which is actually my favorite of the bunch…

(except for the Anthology. But that’s not nostalgia, that’s timeless.)

Music And Art Monday, November 27th, 2017: Expressionists

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner - Female Rider [1931-32]
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – Female Rider [1931-32]
I used to think of myself as a big big fan of the Impressionists. Van Gogh was one of my earliest experiences with real art. I love Monet, and I have yet to find a Degas that doesn’t draw and keep my attention.

But as I expanded my art appreciation I came to find myself much more attracted to the opposite of the Impressionists, I find more and more that I love the Expressionists.

Is it my personality? The Expressionists were far more concerned with emotional experience than the display of objective reality. As an ENFJ I find my mind concentrates far more on the deeper underlying feelings behind actions and less on the actions themselves.

While I appreciate the work that goes into realism in art, I much more appreciate the art of someone who can evoke feelings, good and bad.

The_Scream Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch – The Scream

Here are a few of my favorites of this genre:

 

Music and Arts Monday October 23, 2017: Meet Mo

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Mo at home in his cigar shop Holy Smokes

It’s been a long time since I did a M&A Monday, so I thought I would start anew with a good one.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting Holy Smokes Cigar and Pipe Shop during it’s weekly “Cigars and Guitars” night. It seems the turnout was a bit lower than normal, but that didn’t stop the shop’s owner Mo Leverett from treating us to a few of his songs.

I met Mo just before heading out on last year’s adventure to Arizona, and even from that brief meeting I knew I liked the man. Occasionally you meet someone who you just know has had an adventurous life, from his look, his manner, or his way with words. This is one of those men. That evening he told the men gathered at his shop  his testimony, and confirmed to me his interesting life. I remembered that much when walking in to Holy Smokes Friday night.

But I forgot about his music.

It’s not often that I get hooked on someone’s music from hearing a live performance of it,  possibly because I don’t get out that much, but largely because live music can often lack the quality and depth of music carefully manufactured in a studio. Mo proved to be one of the rare cases. His music almost begs to be performed live, just so he can pour his emotion into it time and time again.

So here’s my recommendation this week, go check out his videos on YouTube. In particular I really enjoy “Like Hell Inside“, “Florida“, “If You Know What I Mean“, “It’s Your Family”, and “His Claim To Fame“.

Then if you like what you hear, head on over to his site and purchase a CD or two. Or three.

You won’t be disappointed.