Songs of Hope And Sorrow: Party of One

I have loved Brandi Carlile’s music for a long time. Since the beginning. 2005 or 2006. She’s a sneaker wave. Out there, picking up momentum, rolling in. This year she’s finally getting some good recognition, having just won three Grammys. Her songwriting and incredible voice are both amazing. This one, Party of One, off of her latest album, By The Way, I Forgive You, is a favorite. The album is all about forgiveness, in its many forms. I love that. A whole album about forgiving, being forgiven. Party of One is about a couple who is struggling, feeling like it’s impossible, but in the end, you know there is this one person for you and you love them. No matter how mad you get, no matter what the struggle, “I am yours”. I love the strings, in the end, soaring. It captures that feeling so well of coming back to someone, remembering you love them, that in the end, the love is all that really matters. This is the second video for this song. On the album, it’s just Brandi singing, but here Sam Smith does a one of a kind assist. His voice, also incredible, marries so well. Enjoy.

It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

I’m a huge fan of Nina Simone. My favorite song? Feelin’ Good. I like it in all its iterations I guess. Most people probably have forgotten all about Nina’s version and skipped right to Michael Buble. That’s OK. I don’t think she would mind. Nor would she care about the Muse version. I like that one a lot. Who sings it isn’t nearly as important to me as the lyrics.

I started really loving this song when I was 45. I liked it just fine before that, but when I was 45 I came down with a little bout of Leukemia. Music has always been huge in my life, songs associated with people, places, events.  Feelin’ Good got associated with my healing, my being alive.  It was a new dawn, a new day, and I was, after months of treatment, feelin’ good.

Photo by Tamra Parker

Here I am, years later, still in love with this song.  Still associating it with the thrill of being alive.  Because, well, I am still thrilled to be alive.

K and I were sitting here talking the other day about how weird it was that it was going to be 2019.  How it seemed impossible in some way, that it was nearly 2019.  I don’t know why it seemed like such a big deal because, after all, it’d been 2018 for nearly a year, but somehow it did.  Somehow time has taken a leap.  The idea that 2019 was nearly here, and I’m still here, and though I’m older than I used to be, I’m not as old as I’m going to get.  If you’d asked me in 1983 when I graduated from high school what I’d be doing in 2019 I wouldn’t have been able to even imagine it, being so far in the future and all.   And now here we are, so far in the future and all.  Weird.  Not bad.  Just weird.

Friends of ours recently asked us to attend a party.  They asked everyone who was invited to bring a bottle of booze, an appetizer, and quote or song or piece of writing to be read aloud and shared. I think it was meant as a sort of send off to the year passing and a greeting of hope and inspiration heading into the new year.  Cool idea.  Sadly, we couldn’t go, but I was thinking about what I would’ve shared if we had. 

There are a lot of quotes I could’ve shared.  I’m a quote person.  Just see the inspirations page of this blog for proof of that.  The fact that I get nervous and shy at times might spur the use of a quote.  I probably would share a quote like this…  “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  ~  W.B. Yeats 

I could’ve shared a poem.  I’m a lover of all things poetic and have been reading and writing poetry since I was a wee sprout, sometime near 1983 I’d say.  I was 17 then, and graduating from high school, so my poems were very broody.   I might’ve shared a poem at the party if I happened upon or could think of one I thought might be inspirational.  Maybe the E.E. Cummings “I thank you God” poem…

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

 
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)


how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

 
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
 

 e e cummings 

(in ‘complete poems 1904 – 1962’)

Or maybe something by Pablo Neruda, Charles Bukowski, or The Type, by Sarah Kay.

If I had my wits about me I might’ve thought of something profound or witty or inspirational to say all on my own.  Possible, if I’d had my wits about me.  Sometimes they are vacationing and leave me searching for the right words, the right feeling, the right way to say what I want to.  

Weston is currently crying over K’s shoulder as she eats her morning oatmeal.  It’s the first day of the new year.  He likes oatmeal.  Sometimes all that matters is the hope that you’ll get the last bits of oatmeal left in the bowl.  That someone will remember you like them, and that getting them will make your day.  That those bits are what will bring you joy right at this moment.  And maybe the story of Weston and the oatmeal bowl is the only profound thing worth sharing.   It’s the simple things in life that are worth everything.  Finding moments of joy.  Moments of happiness.  Moments of peace.  We don’t need a lot to make us happy and joyful.  Bits of oatmeal left in the bottom of the bowl will do.  So I’ll say this… go out there and find your bits, whatever they are for you.  See them for what they are, for what they mean to you.  Relish them.

K has finished eating and Weston is now licking the bowl.  His crying has stopped and he’s blissfully enjoying this tiny moment of joy.  I’d say, like Nina, he’s feelin’ good.  A pretty great way to start 2019.

Playlist 2018 With Liner Notes

In recent years I’ve built a sort of favorite and/or found songs I fell for during the year playlist. They can be songs that came out in the current year or older songs I didn’t know about and discovered. I usually burn some copies and give it out as gifts to friends. This year, possibly because of the travel right before the holidays, I didn’t get it done. But, I’d built the list and have decided to put it here. I’ll post it, share it, and hopefully those who I’d usually give it to see it and give it a listen.

I love the funk of this. The beat. The sing-ability. It was played a lot on the radio, but somehow I didn’t get tired of it. It created many fun dancing moments for us around the house, which is always good.

Anderson East has soul. He has heart. It comes out in his songs. This one, a particular favorite is from his Encore album. The message is simple, you have me, and always will. I love a good love song. Who doesn’t?

I found this song accidentally on a compilation CD I’d gotten for other music. It was a surprise, which is always awesome. It resonated with me. Not just because I have younger siblings I love, but in just thinking about grandkids, K’s kids, etc. It’s a song of hope and love and says really simply that there is love, and that I’m here for you, always.

Glen Hansard appears nearly every year on my playlist. Either as a solo artist or with The Frames. I love his voice, his passion, his storytelling, his raw and emotional voice. This song had a lot of meaning for me this year. I know a lot of people who went through something or maybe even more than one something this year. This song is a message of healing, of knowing that things move, they change, and they get better.

This song is just enjoyable. Love the pairing, which was unexpected, and this video. Also, love the message of it. It’s another song that was played a lot, but I didn’t get tired of it. Sometimes the greatest way to say somethin’ is to say nothin’ at all.

This one is so catchy. I love it. Plus, I’m a huge fan of strings in a pop song. It’s also totally danceable. A big plus. These guys are brothers and know how to get a hold of you with a lyric.

Brandi Carlile is an amazing storyteller. There’s always truth in it. I was so anticipating the release of her album, “By The Way, I Forgive You”, this year and was not disappointed. It’s an album all about forgiveness, in all its forms. I could’ve picked a few off of it, like “Party of One” for instance, but this one is the first I heard and is about being who you are, and rising. About owning yourself. About not letting all the people who say no, or make fun, or try to hurt you… not letting them win. This song soars and lifts and rises, just like it’s message. And the video, well it makes me cry.

I just discovered the Bleachers this year. They’ve been around for a little bit, under the radar, not mainstream, but I’d not heard of them. This song sort of propelled them into the spotlight and hearing it I was hooked. Just listening to it makes me have to dance. It’s also totally fun to sing along to. I dare you not to.

This is the second appearance of Chris Stapleton on this list, he was up there with Justin Timberlake. I can’t say enough about this guy. His songwriting is off the charts good. He used to write for other people before finally doing his own thing. The feeling he exudes is phenomenal. This song actually came out last year, but I somehow overlooked it. There’s this segment of Country music now, kind of the modern outlaw, fringe country, that is led by the likes of Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Butch Walker, Robert Ellis, and the new guy, though he’s not so new, Travis Meadows. I can’t get enough of it. If you haven’t listened to Chris Stapleton, do. His songs appear on most of the playlists I make for us because he’s just that good.

I love this song for the throwback feel of it. It’s awesome. What can I say? It’s catchy, funky, and has a great vibe.

I’ve been a Ben Harper fan for a long time, in all his iterations. This one doesn’t disappoint either. Simple, funky, a great bluesy vibe. This is a great pairing as well, and just simply a good rainy afternoon song.

I’ve also been a fan of Jason Isbell for awhile. He and the 400 Unit, his band, had an album come out last year. I’d only heard his solo work, not his work with the 400 unit, so I did some exploring and found this song. I don’t really know what it is about it, it kind of makes we want to play the spoons. Seriously, I want to play them along with this song. Not sure why. I just love the production of it. Great storytelling, slightly gritty, slightly swampy, and fun.

This song is haunting and quiet, and all kinds of awesome. I love the lyrics, the songwriting, the structure. It gets to me, in all the right ways. “You’re lost at sea I’ll command your boat to me again”. Just really great writing.

I listen to all sorts of music. Most genres. Including, even though I’m not Christian, Christian music. There are some great messages and artists there. This song is one of those, and Lauren Daigle is awesome. So good. You could apply the message of this to a person, or God, or whoever your spiritual center is. It’s uplifting, centering, and her voice is rich and lovely.

I was watching a movie this year and heard this guy’s music in it. I used Shazam and found his name and started exploring his music. I like him a lot. He was a good discovery. Lots of grit in his voice. This one has a great toe-tapping beat to it. It wasn’t made this year, it’s one of those found tunes, but it’s fun and so catchy. I have no idea why more people don’t know about him. Why isn’t he more famous?

This song has a great feel to it. Slightly dark and brooding. It’s beat and rhythm stick and it’s hard to shake. I found this through a Netflix show. There’s some really good music used on television and film now. This is one of those.

OK, this song is from a couple of years ago. It’s a song from the Hamilton Mixtape. I play this often. Kelly Clarkson is stunning here. Just simple, beautiful, and very emotional. The line, “forgiveness, can you imagine” gets me every time. This song on the video is sung live. It’s perfection. I realized I don’t think I’d included it on the playlists from the last couple of years, so here it is.

This song is one of my favorites over the last year. I don’t even know how I found this guy. Mining, searching, exploring. The lyrics are amazing. He’s such a great heart-felt storyteller. It’s simple and true. I never tire of listening to it.

What a great beat. Good funk. I dare you to listen without swaying a little, or tapping your toe. A really great break as well. It’s just got good soul.

The Verve. I have an old CD of theirs. They’ve been around for a long time. I don’t even know why I started looking at them again and listening a little, but I did. I stumbled on this one. It’s haunting, and aches a little. It also has strings, and as we’ve mentioned earlier, I love that.

His voice is so pure sounding. It’s got a singsong swaying vibe to it that is great. It’s an older song as well, another I think I might have heard on a TV show, but possibly not. I don’t know why I’d never heard of him. I’m a sucker for singer songwriters. He’s a good one. As is this song.

Sugarland. Jennifer Nettles. Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift actually wrote this song and gave it to Sugarland. It’s very catchy. Plus, I just love Jennifer Nettles. Her voice is round and full and no matter what she sings she sings it with feeling and heart and passion. Taylor Swift does good background vocals as well. I was very happy to see Sugarland back together with a new album.

I’ll stop here. Carrie Underwood. What can you say? She’s powerful, soulful, and the message of this song is awesome. The build of this song is also great. No wonder she’s such a Country superstar.

I hope everyone is enjoying the end of 2018 and is looking forward to 2019. I know there will be a lot of good music to find and explore, which is always soul filling. I can’t wait to see what I find.

Winter Song

Love Wins

Rudy Francisco – Complainers

Exactly this…

“I Can’t Keep Quiet”

Some things speak for themselves…

Lyrics

“Quiet”
Written by MILCK and AG
Produced by AG

put on your face
know your place
shut up and smile
don’t spread your legs
I could do that

But no one knows me no one ever will
if I don’t say something, if I just lie still
Would I be that monster, scare them all away
If I let the-em hear what I have to say

I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
A one woman riot, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

I can’t keep quiet
For anyone
Anymore

Cuz no one knows me no one ever will
if I don’t say something, take that dry blue pill
they may see that monster, they may run away
But I have to do this, do it anyway
I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
I can’t keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh
A one woman riot, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh I can’t keep quiet

Let it out Let it out
Let it out now
There’ll be someone who understands
Let it out Let it out
Let it out now
Must be someone who’ll understand
Let it out Let it out
Let it out now
There’ll be someone who understands
Let it out Let it out
Let it out now

I can’t keep quiet