There aren't many better ways to access the magic and mystery of existence than dreaming. My all time favorite came to me this summer. I was out behind a farmhouse somewhere at twilight. A cow grazed in a field. He wore a vest made of acorns. Girls in uniforms wandered past, offering loaves of warm bread. A dog in a harness pulled a wagon filled with sleeping fawns.
I guess we owe some kind of grudging debt to the underhanded business manager that stole Leonard Cohen’s money a few years back. That betrayal plucked the songwriter from his Buddhist retreat on Mount Baldy and sent him back out on the road to refill the coffers. A lot of people have had a lot of pleasure in a lot of concert halls because of what that guy did. Leonard’s one of them, actually.
If you don't already know about it, allow me to introduce you to NPR Music's First Listen. They stream new albums in their entirety before the albums are released. There are usually 4 or 5 available at any one time.
A wiry 90-year old man steps to a microphone in front of 9,000 people. He explains that he doesn’t have much of a voice left, but he’ll provide the lyrics so everyone can sing. Then he starts playing the guitar and reciting from the Book of Ecclesiastes. He tries to sing a bit anyway. It comes out wobbly. His breath fails.
I rode a bicycle to Pittsburgh one summer years ago in the days before iPods. I think I brought about a dozen cassettes for my Walkman. Only some of them sounded good out there on the road under the sky in the sun and wind. Only some of them sounded right. Monk, Copland, Van Morrison…all good. Prince, not so much.
There's some new art in the South Wedge. The traffic control box on South and Gregory now sports a portrait of Son House. You don't usually think of icons like Muddy Waters or Robert Johnson as having had influences, but Son was a major inspiration to both. He lived in Rochester from the mid 40's until 1964, when he was tracked down by a couple fans, a discovery that spurred him back out on the road... to Carnegie Hall, among other venues. He kept at it while his health allowed, and died in Detroit in 1988.
The blog postings and user comments appearing on interactive.wxxi.org are comprised of content from multiple authors - some are employees of WXXI, others are guest bloggers, others may be user-submitted. The opinions expressed on the site are the opinions of the participating individuals. WXXI Public Broadcasting Council acts only as a passive conduit for the online distribution and publication of this content and/or links and expressly DOES NOT endorse or assume any liability for the content or actions of the participating individuals. If you have concerns, comments or problems with any of the material you find on interactive.wxxi.org, please feel free to contact us