31 March 2009
30 March 2009
28 March 2009
This time, now sixty years old, Jackson Browne brought a band with him. It was a very tight band which skilfully enhanced the songs in a well-reherased set. There was Kevin McCormick on bass, Mark Goldenberg on guitars, Mauricius Lewak on drums and Jeff Young on keyboards and vocals. Back in 2001, Jackson met two black students at an LA high school concert and later drafted them into his musical circle as backing singers - Chavonne Morris and Alethea Mills. The overall sound quality at last night's concert was brilliant - balanced and clear with band members working together as a team with egos suppressed.
Jackson comes across as a pleasant, self-deprecating man with a healthy sense of humour but with a mission to deliver his repertoire as effectively as possible. He brought in songs from his new album "Time the Conqueror" but loudest applauses were for old favourites such as "Doctor My Eyes", "These Days", "The Pretender", "Fountain of Sorrow" and the foot-stomping "Running on Empty" which had most of the audience up out of their seats jigging to the music. After long and sustained hand clapping, wolf whistling and "More!" yelled from the auditorium, he returned to give us a smashing and heartfelt rendition of ""Before The Deluge". It was a really brilliant and uplifting concert.
I love the opening of "The Pretender" which seems to me to be partly about the heroism of ordinary working people living their unremarkable routine lives - "I'm going to rent myself a house/ In the shade of the freeway/I`m going to pack my lunch in the morning/ And go to work each day/ And when the evening rolls around/ I`ll go on home and lay my body down/ And when the morning light comes streaming in/ I`ll get up and do it again/ Amen/ Say it again/ Amen" Here he was in Seattle last September:-
Thank you for visiting Sheffield Mr Browne. But next time come round to our house for a cup of tea.
25 March 2009
21 March 2009
My right hand feels as sore as hell through five hours of wife-inspired punishment. This is certainly not the kind of painting that Katherine at "The Last Visible Dog" is so good at. I bet her wrists don't ache like this after a session at her easel. No! What I was doing was real painting. Painting that hurts.
Painting interior walls, doors and windows can actually be quite relaxing - almost therapeutic -as one's brush or roller glides over the surface while a pleasant radio show plays in the background. But painting rendering is definitely not like that.
Today was the first official day of Spring but as I stood on the flat roof of our house extension, a chilly wind was funnelled through the gap between the houses all day. My face is red and chapped like an Arctic explorer's. And though I tried, I did not quite finish the painting today. There's a couple more hours left to do in the morning. Oh woe is me!
18 March 2009
In 1800, only 45,000 people lived in Ohio, now there are eleven and a half million. The biggest city is Cleveland with a metro population of some 2.25 million. Many of the original white settlers were of Germanic origin and you just have to scan surnames in a phone book to see that the Germanic links remain. In Ohio, there are no less than eighty eight counties. Just as the state itself is like a separate country within the USA, so within the state these counties have their own identities and regulations and Ohioans can be fiercely loyal to their counties.
Amish eastern Ohio
15 March 2009
Here in Great Britain, as the snowdrops tire, daffodils emerge magically from our winter soil at around this time of year. I remember as a student in Scotland, I would often have to travel upon the spectacular east coast railway line. In springtime, I would notice how in Stirling and Linlithgow and Edinburgh, daffodil fingers were only just pushing through the surface but by Durham, flower buds were revealed and by York, the slopes of the city walls were bursting with the gorgeous fresh golds and primrose yellows of ten thousand gaudy daffodils, swaying together like a vast army that had come to suppress the winter blues.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
A host, of golden daffodils;
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
Along the margin of a bay:
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
In such a jocund company:
In vacant or in pensive mood,
Which is the bliss of solitude;
By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).
What are my words worth?