And the World Could Live As One

“Je suis Charlie” has popped up over and over on various news feeds and social media sites since the terrible events in Paris. Seeing it, connecting to it as a human being, isn’t a big stretch. I think we can all imagine both the sorrow and outrage an attack like this brings. And I think it’s human nature to want to join hands in solidarity and show that despite our petty differences, despite our sometimes feral and acidic tendencies when we disagree, we are one people. We can stand together.  We are, deep down in our bones, all the same.  Je suis Charlie translates as, “I am Charlie”.  I am.  And so are you.

The footage of the march in Paris is stunning. It’s humbling. And when you add to that this footage of the crowd when a girl decided to play John Lennon’s Imagine out from her balcony, it’s quite emotional. Thousands gathered, and millions more around the world stood with them in spirit.  It’s beautiful.  Imagine if we could be this loving and patient and supportive of each other all the time.  Imagine what that could be like.

Imagine.

Hang Massive Plays Once Again

One of my cousins posted a video on Facebook of these guys playing. There’s something completely awesome about it. Soothing, rhythmic, joyous, upbeat, earthy, and tremendous. I had to share. The instrument is called the Hang. Enjoy the music of Hang Massive.

Pondering a Playlist

Anyone who knows me knows about my love of music. It’s always been there, and in all likelihood started when I was in the womb. I come by it naturally. It’s in my genes. My dad was what some might call a musical genius. An ability to play any instrument put into his hands he chose the double neck pedal steel guitar because it was the hardest to play… requiring hands, feet, and knees. He loved that guitar, light shining out of him and joy exuding from him every time he sat down at his Emmons. I loved hearing him play it. I loved the smile on his face, his closed eyes, his mastery, his joy. He was a gifted and spectacular musician. But my musical influences just don’t include my dad, they also include my mom as well, and her side of the family. Growing up I remember family gathering after family gathering where music played a part. It didn’t matter what was going on when my mom’s side of my family got tother, music showed up. My mom is one of seven siblings. They sing seven part harmony. It’s very cool. They still do it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them, and how much I’ve always loved it. My Mom’s dad played piano in a band to earn money when he was a teenager, taking his share of the coins that got thrown up on the stage, and there were always musical instruments around my grandparents house when I was growing up. My Uncle Tom is the youngest of the siblings and only eight years older than I am. My childhood memories of him all include his electric guitar. The seven siblings were all in either bands or choirs of one sort or another, some still play in orchestras and bands to this day. I love that. I love how my life has always been surrounded by music and the love of it. I not only heard people singing and playing, but the phonograph was also going a lot in our house. All sorts of music and musical influences… big band and Jazz from my Mom, country from my dad and step-dad, rock and roll from my sister, Kay, and my Uncle Tom, and the wonderful musical influence my friends throughout my life have brought into it. My honey… she introduced me to the blues and Bryan Ferry. I myself started playing the guitar when I was a kid. I got fairly decent at it. I still have a guitar, and some bongos, and a kazoo.

As I said, my love of music has been with me always, informing most aspects of my life, helping to explain the unexplainable, helping to express things I can’t always find the words for. It’s a huge part of my life, and has always been. Which is why I’m constantly making playlists for road trips and friends and just because. Usually they have a theme, or are inspired by new music I’ve found. Recently we traveled to Florida for a family reunion. And yes, I made a playlist for the flights there and back. I thought, just because it might be fun, I’d include that playlist here, using YouTube.

The playlists I make tend to be more about feel than they are made by design. And in that vein I don’t think I’d ever make the same one twice, which is sort of the cool thing about them. Something I happen to love about them. They are organic, in the moment, and natural. I usually tell people they should be played on shuffle, which isn’t really possible here, but I still like it.

So without further ado… here’s the Florida trip playlist (number 110). Love it, or hate it, that’s up to you. Music is like that, it’s personal. Which is just something else to love about it.

Jason Mraz – Love Someone

Neon Trees – Living in Another World

Sam Smith – Leave Your Lover

Jennifer Nettles – That Girl

David Gray – Back in the World

Civil Wars – Dust to Dust

Marc Broussard – Hurricane Heart

Loggins & Messina – Danny’s Song

The Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There

Aloe Blacc – Can You Do This

Arcade Fire – Afterlife

Shakey Graves – Dearly Departed (feat. Esme Patterson)

Magic! – Rude

Ed Sheeran – All of the Stars

Colbie Caillat – Try

K.D. Lang – Helpless

Johnnyswim – Diamonds

Passenger – Things You’ve Never Done

Jason Isbell – Stockholm

Amos Lee – Listen

Dishwalla – Candleburn

Five For Fighting – Story of Your Life

Kongos – Come With Me Now

Pink Martini – Get Happy/Happy Days (Singers China Forbes and Storm Large)

Ed Sheeran – Kiss Me

James Bay – Let it Go

Imagine Dragons – On Top of the World

Sarah MClachlan – In Your Shoes

Milky Chance – Stolen Dance

London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years

Stevie Wonder – I Believe (When I Fall In Love)

Justin Timberlake – Sexyback

OneRepublic – oves Runs Out

Dominic Turns 1

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Today is Dominic Thomas’ first birthday.

He is bright and loving and joyful and curious. He laughs and smiles a lot and doesn’t cry much at all. He makes his pterodactyl sound, for everything, occasionally throwing in a yeah, yeah just so we know he can talk if he wants to, and he’s steady holding himself up but doesn’t trust yet that he can take that first step. He loves remotes and phones and balls, not necessarily in that order, but most of all he loves to be looked at and smiled at. He lights up every room he’s in. He is one of those people, those gloriously relaxed and happy people, and will always be.

Today is Dominic Thomas’ first birthday, and I love him so.

Sit Back, Relax, or Sit Up and Be Tense

I’ve been on my share of flights with funny flight attendants. I can tell you, there’s nothing like a little humor to relax nervous fliers. Plus, it’s nice that they don’t always take themselves so seriously. If I had to repeat the same spiel multiple times a week, I’d try to mix it up too.

Here’s a great example of what it means to fly the friendly skies.

Music To My Ears

I just spent the better part of the last two hours alternating between watching the snow fall out the window over my desk and looking at/listening to best album lists of 2013.

I pride myself on being somewhat of a music aficionado (a word I can say and understand, but apparently not spell correctly without help).  Music has always been more than important to me and I’ve spent a lifetime making playlists on cassette, when cassettes came in to play, so to speak, followed by CD mixes, and digital mixes for the iPod.  I’ve always done this, for myself, my friends, my family, and anyone else I could get to listen to the groupings of music I’d created.  It brings me an untold amount of joy and the doing of it is a big part of who I am.

Something I particularly love is to find new music.  Most of the time this means new music to me, not brand new to the cosmos.  Discovery.  We used to be dependent on radio stations to find something new.  New releases blasting out, spun by knowledgeable DJs who scoured the planet for the best tunes.  I’d look for odd stations, like college stations that played stuff that sounded like it came from funky back rooms and strange far off places.  I’ve also always been able to cull new sounds from family and friends and the music they love, and loved.  Exposed to very differing kinds of music growing up (big band, twang country, disco, pop, rock and roll, gospel, new age, afro-jazz, classical, jazz… the list goes on), I was lucky.  There was never any one kind of music we listened to in our house, not one kind my grandparents listened to either.  Music was and is a tapestry of sound and I was fortunate enough to get hear so many different kinds.  I had a great education in this regard and I appreciate that musical education more than I can say.  Hearing music the people in my life loved, and love, has always been a thing of beauty to me.  A true reflection of who they are, a better look into their souls.  Deep stuff, but true none the less.  Just as hearing the stuff I love probably lets the people in my life know who I am just a bit better.  We learn about each other through the power of the music we love.  We discover.  It’s a never-ending evolution of beautiful sound.

I wax on… back to mixes and music and watching the snow fall, it’s still falling.

Looking at various best of album lists for 2013 I realized I hadn’t even heard of some of the people and bands that made the lists.  For as plugged in as I think I am, there’s always a whole exciting world of unknown sound I haven’t heard.  I love that.  It means there’s a world of music, doors yet unopened, for me to explore. Today I put on my headphones, I listened, and was transported.  Music does that.  It’s a magical thing, a gift.  And since I’m always making playlists, I thought I’d cue up some of the stuff I heard today and do a playlist right here on the blog.

Some of these people I’d heard of before, and may even own some of their earlier work, some not, but all the music I’m presenting here was new to me today (except for The Lone Bellow’s You Never Need Nobody that I discovered in 2013 and just had to include here).  It’s been an amazing couple of hours.

The list is eclectic and in no particular order.  Put on the headphones, and enjoy….