Monday, May 25, 2009

Benefit Show this Friday, May 29th

This Friday we've got a benefit show we're playing at the Oasis in Grayslake, IL (151 N. Hawley St). We're playing as well as our friends Venna, Zach Petrini and the Broken Bones among others. There's art and jazz music going on at 4:00 p.m. so come by and peruse some art and meet some people. There are certain things in life that are simply too important for my usual bumbling irreverence. While the irony and the lack of meaning that seems to flow through much of the indie scene (like an air pocket swimming lethally through the blood stream) is great for a Saturday night it is often difficult to do something overtly serious and meaningful in the presence of such overwhelming light-heartedness (and its so coooool!). Haiti has been a kind of obsession for me ever since I went there in the summer of '06. I've taught music mainly at the Dessaix Baptiste School of music in Jacmel Haiti and a little bit at the Saint Trinity School in Port Au Prince. Haiti has not made me into an open hearted optimist, but somewhat of an embittered realist. I believe that the problems facing this country (compounded by a 200 year history of marginilization and injustice) are unimaginable to most people. Having spent a fair amount of time there, the depth of the problems there and the reality of their effects continue to move me and challenge my ways of thinking. That being said, the music schools that I've worked with are rays of light in a really dark place. Amidst all of the difficulties present in the lives of the students, they are given the opportunity to discover their artistic inclinations and their capability to create something beautiful. I won't delve too deep into my beleifs about music and the expansion of ones perception of beauty, but I assure you that I think music is incomparably powerful and yet understand its limitations. The School in Jacmel feeds a need that is less tangible than the social and economic needs of Haiti, but one that is nonetheless deprived and hungry. The call of the spirit, the endless pursuit of beauty that we in our country can mingle with and call upon as we wish (at least more easily). Kimberly and I are going there in July to work with Jean Marie, an artist who lives just outside Jacmel, and we'll be teaching at the School there. More on that as the time approaches. In the meantime, please come over to the Oasis this Friday. You'll be glad you came.


p.s. It kinda sucks that I feel like we need to post music now to get you to read this. Is this true? Either way, here's another composition of mine. It's called Wood and Stone. It's kind of like a remix or something of the hymn "Great is thy Faithfulness." Musings on my religious education and the persistence of certain images and ideas throughout so many strange times. Lindsey Crabb is playing Cello and Megan Karls is Playing Violin.

wood and stone.mp3

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Song: Down there by the train

We're back from New York. We had a real good time hanging out in Brooklyn. We spent some time catching up with friends and comparing Brooklyn to Logan Square. I said its too scummy, Kimberly enjoyed the scum. I think that's kind of why we're friends. Anyhow I figured I'd upload this song. It's another song recorded into the little mic on my laptop. Tom Waits recorded this song on his Orphans album and my former roommate Dylan showed it to me once. It's one of those very few songs that is so great and wonderful that I can listen to it over and over and it doesn't seem any less incredible. The image is one of this train takin' everyone to heaven and all the vagabonds (all the low-lifes from the drug-fiends and the whores to Judas Iscariot and John Wilkes Booth) know the one place where the train goes slow and they can all jump aboard. Guilt has always been a theme in my life having grown up in a christian household and dealing with a wide range of Christian people having a hand in my education. I didn't realize how much that feeling can still linger until I found myself listening to this song and getting choked up. (whatever, yeah okay sometimes I get choked up. so what, huh?)
Johnny Cash recorded a version of this song once and it suits him, having always been a voice for the rough-necks himself. I'm not as pretty as Scarlet Johansen, but I'm pretty sure I could drink her under the table.


Down there by the train.mp3