Monday, October 29, 2012

Autum Comes to the Colestin

It is my glorious privilege to live surrounded by beauty.

 Friday was all about stacking wood: four and a half cords in the woodshed, another cord by the hot tub and one more cord in the meadow for good measure. 

Looking out towards Hilt at sunset, Shasta in the background.

Big leaf maples down by the creek.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Strange Brew

She's a witch of trouble in electric blue
In her own  mad mind she's in love with you
With you
Now what you gonna do?

I knew it would kill and it did, especially in October.  What's up next up, Season of the Witch?  God no. Given my druthers, I'd rather cover this in honor of the season:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Feeling like Juanita today

Oh mama, sweet mama, can you tell me what to say?
I don't know what I've done to be treated this way.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Miz Thang

One of my favorite photos of myself performing.  Love that dress, although I rarely have an opportunity to wear it. You can stand that dress up in the corner, give it a cocktail and it's the life of the party.

Fair Fanny Moore

The last time I saw my mother in 2004, she mentioned that her mother used to sing a song called Fair Fanny Moore.
My grandmother died when my mom was 9. It's a long, complicated story, but basically she died because my son-of-a-bitch grandfather refused to pay for a doctor to attend to her after the birth of her 10th child. My grandmother was deathly ill during the last weeks of her pregnancy and immediately post-natal. My mom said she was extremely jaundiced and horribly sick. Perhaps it was pre-eclampsia, but who knows? She died within days of the birth because my grandfather didn't want to pay for a doctor.
My grandfather was a major asshole, although no-one in the family talks about that now. It's a forbidden topic.  
Fair Fanny Moore is a murder ballad, of course; actually a rape and murder ballad. I guess that kind of material is in my blood. After mom died in 2005, I sought out information about the song, but didn't find much.  I asked my aunt if she remembered her mother singing this song, but she said no.  Of course, she's pretty guarded about their fairly horrific childhood of deep, rural poverty, but why would she hide something like that? I tend to believe her. 
There's another uncle whose brain I must pick someday.  He may be willing to draw back the curtain on the family secrets, although I doubt it. I missed my chance with my great Uncle Henry, the last of the Seays. He was the musicologist in the family, always insisting on a family sing along at every gathering.  I didn't see these people for more than 30 years and missed alot. 
I was wandering around YouTube today, killing time before a meeting, and stumbled on an old recording of the song.

I want to do something with the song, it calls to me.  Re-write it, re-imagine it, find my own way in. It was a final gift of my mother, a gift from her mother whom I never met.  It's like a message from beyond the grave.  I need to find a way to bring it into my present.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Long Road From There to Here

Thirteen shows between September 2 and October 2. That’s 13 shows in 30 days. On average, that’s one performance every 2.3 days.

Of course, I didn’t play every 2.3 days.  I played a lot of 3-day stretches, including some double days. But, any way you slice it, it was still 13 shows in 30 days.
What have I learned?
I’m stronger than I thought I was.
I’m a better listener, better at thinking first and speaking second, better at controlling my wicked tongue.
I don’t have to please all the people all the time. It’s OK to say no as long as it is said with courtesy and respect. Yesterday, an event organizer wanted me to set up my band in the direct sunlight on a 90+ degree day.  “Oh no,” says I, “that won’t work at all. We’re going to set up over here in the shade.” No blood, no foul, everyone walked away happier; well, everyone accept the event organizer, but I can’t please all the people all the time.
I’m a much better musician than when I started this journey; more generous, sensitive, adventurous and confident.  My skills are not in the same league as some of my colleagues, but I bring energy and joy to my performances. I can work a crowd. That counts for a lot.
I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I’m a different person than when I started this journey.  It was an amazing month; difficult at times and always exhausting, but life changing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.