Old Meets Young Meets Old 2

In January, I had been revisiting some of the melodies I had tracked for Janine. Still no luck moving forward. There were new compositions in the queue without a voice. The project was shelved.
A few days later Janine shot me an email. She explained that her grandfather was a poet and that she’d like to make a song with his poem. Her words were “I wanted to be able do this for him, it would mean a lot to him.”

Oh my, his song has great meaning to someone already! I couldn’t refuse. “Alright, send it over!”

The next day I received the poem. I was touched. It is a poem about a dream. The dream involves the act of being baptized…a very intimate, personal moment in a person’s life. I tried to imagine this older (than me) gentleman writing this down. We’ve got to do this.

I created a first iteration….just a simple chord progression that had been bouncing around my head. I laid down a vocal track and sent it over to Janine. She liked it and also mentioned something about country music or something. Dwelling on that, I produced another composition. This time it was a simple three chord blues-type.

And, it just worked.

It fit the song so much better, and Janine liked it. She was coming down (from L.A.) to visit her family so while she was in town we recorded it (we also met for the first time)! Janine did great! We made a few tracks and it was done. Her voice is still very “pure”. It resonates simply…and is real. I could tell she had been practicing it before she came over.

So there it is —full circle. I was looking for a blues singer to sing blues. We ended up with a blues-centered foundation with a very personal, impassioned story. Who would have thought?

Best of all, Janine made a loving connection/tribute to her grandfather. He was very happy over her efforts she tells me. Nothin’ better than that.

The Song:




Lunacy

The moon.
Somethin’ about it.
Drives me crazy.
Looking for it.
Waiting for it.

Much of my photographic work includes the moon in its different phases.
This video depicts some of that work along with Debussy’s Claire de Lune played by Simone Renzi.

December Walk


In my world
All matter is subject to change
The forest holds the key to stars and distant memories.
Each a soulful energy waiting to be captured
There are no fast rules of physics
Water can be water, or, water can be light, or color
The murmuration of one hundred birds
Becomes the child, restless before sleep.

December’s Solstice

Fall and winter are my most prolific creative seasons for photography. December has not failed me.
To walk in our little wooded areas is like jumping through a time portal. I’m a kid again and everything inspires. Our fall colors are just now ending. There are leaf hangers-on spattered throughout the depth of the wooded areas that grab the falling light. These energy catching leaves will illuminate yellows and orange like stars in the sky. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Clouded evenings make for more available colors to include in multiple exposures. Even reflected artifacts have more punch.
This month’s moon has been very usable for several days and it makes a great addition to impressions on the fly. Until yesterday, my starlings have been all but absent. Their numbers have been down several years now.
I started including starlings in my impressions seven years ago. Back then there were some 1000-2000 birds (or more) that would murmurate. Now, I am lucky to see 30-40 at a time. They fly in with the red- wings….
People have told me they do not do that (multi-species flocking). I would believe their word, except I have seen so many of these starlings up close.
Last evening, a flock of about 300 birds murmurtated for a time and I was able to capture them with the colors of the falling sun and the moon, all on one frame.
Color me happy.
I have been thinking a lot of our little woods and the magic they hold. They do inspire me so much. I feel a little music instrumental comin’ on…soon.

“Shenandoah”

Arguably one of the most beautiful melancholic true American pieces of music you will ever hear. It belongs to the U.S. and has been sung around the world….and as such, belongs to all people. Like many of us U.S. Americans, this song is a blending of many cultures and stories. There is the story of first nation man Shenandoah who aided the new republic in defeating the British. Though he was true and valiant, he saw his people and lands ultimately diminish. It is said he stood 6’5″ and was a great war chief. The story in the original version alludes to a seven year courtship a trader held for Shenandoah’s daughter. He brought the chief a canoe full of gifts, but was rejected. Later, he brought liquor, and thus, when the chief was under the influence, he stole her away. Shenandoah’s life existed far away from the Missouri River. So how did this river become a part of the song?
Well, this song was a well used shanty sang by sailors who worked the boats from the Missouri, down through the Mississippi, and eventually onto the ocean faring ships….which made it a global song. Apparently, this is where the marriage of the river, the native princess and the men came together.  The story of a man’s love and his willingness to risk his life for that love was just too much not to sing about. It was a man’s song about a man, his desire and unfulfilled love. The river and its unrelenting power gives a beautiful metaphor for leaving, adventure and the power of love.There are many versions. The original likely carried a medium upbeat tempo. The meanings behind all of the versions take on a certain abstract interpretation that transcends any one simple story. But no matter the version, the tune stays constant, and sends the listener to distant places. Like a great river, this song is a confluence of stories that by themselves are wonderful, but together make for something words cannot describe. It is a song for the world.