“Be kind, don’t judge, and have respect for others. If we can all do this, the world would be a better place. The point is to teach this to the next generation.” ~ Jasmine Guinness
The second this beautiful soul asked to see me my day improved 100%. This is my friend Sara Holroyd. She was in the studio doing an oral history with Reneé Collins (below and who is just the sweetest woman ever to walk through my office door). Sara and I hadn’t seen each other in a long time, and though our visit was brief, we wasted no time catching up. She is one of the most giving spirits I have ever known. She is brilliant. She is gifted. She is opinionated (I love that about her). She is compassionate and truthful. She is who I want to be when I grow up (she’s very Betty White-esque). Can you believe she’s 92? I wish I looked that good now! Sara was a beloved choral professor at UK for several decades. Reneé, whom I believe was one of Sara’s students, is doing a fantastic oral history project around Sara. They’re talking to an array of students inspired by her, fellow faculty that worked with her, and with Sara herself. She is deserving of all the accolades and more. I met Sara at First Presbyterian Church many, many years ago. In fact, she was one of the first people I met, and she made me feel very welcomed. I loved her immediately. Frankly, you’d have to be an ogre not to like her, and I’m pretty sure even ogres like her. Just being in her presence makes me feel better. I am eternally grateful for her friendship. She made my day.
“Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening it just stops you from enjoying the good.”
~ Danny Penman
I’m still on cloud nine about seeing Sir Paul. I was trolling about on the interwebs today and came across his setlist from Tuesday’s show. It confirmed the plethora of Beatles tunes as well as that unknown song being his cut with Kanya and Rihanna.
Remember I said I’d go see Sir Paul again just for Live and Let Die? I found a video of his performance posted by someone sitting very near us. In fact, I found the entire show on YouTube, but that’s a bit much. I’ll just leave you with Live and Let Die. Happy Saturday!
“Almost everything will work again if you just unplug it for a few minutes… including you.”
~ Anne Lamott
Like I said, Sir Paul played for three hours last night. By the time I got back to the hotel and looked through the pictures, I was exhausted; too exhausted to say much more than I did. Today, I had a six hour drive to reflect on last night’s performance. It was great while it was happening, and it’s even better the next day.
When Paul McCartney walked onto that stage it was/is hard to believe he’s 75 years old. The monitor would sometimes zero in on his hands, particularly as he played his acoustic, and there was something striking about them. He has the hands of a 30 year old. I’m not exaggerating. In fact, everything about him is as brilliant as if he was still that young man in the Beatles. His voice and droop of the jowls are the only evidence that he has aged at all. That he can sing at all at 75 is pretty remarkable, but he sang really well. The missed high notes here and there (what do you expect at 75?) were greatly overshadowed by the incredible dexterity, range, and command that remains. Between his flawless band, and an audience that knew all the words, those little misfires were hardly noticeable. His musicianship is nothing short of astonishing, and unless he has a stroke or something horrible like that, I guarantee he’ll still play as good as he did last night for another 20 years. Again, I’m not exaggerating. It’s going to be hard for him to sing, but his playing won’t be stopped. He’s that good.
He played many more Beatles tunes than I expected; a brilliant surprise. Each song a stellar performance, from solid rockers Back in the USSR and Hard Day’s Night to the stirring Hey Jude and Blackbird, there was something for everyone. He played plenty of Wings tunes, and of course his solo material. He paid tribute to both John and George in song. He played the first recording by The Quarrymen (In Spite of All the Danger) then skipped to his most recent song, which based on the images projected I can only assume was the song he cut with Kanye West and Rhihanna. It was the only song he played that I didn’t recognize.
Sir Paul missed the intro to Hard Day’s Night, the opener, because, after he counted it off, he turned to the mic to sing, but found himself 3-5 feet away from it. If you know the song at all, then you know immediately after the booming strong opening chord you have to hit the vocals or it won’t work. So he stopped the song, had a laugh, and they started again. At that moment I knew it was going to be an extraordinary night, but it exceeded my expectations even still. Three or four songs later, as the drummer and keyboardist were out of sync starting Temporary Secretary, Paul stopped them again. He said,”At least you know we’re really live. No tapes here!” He is a brilliant showman in addition to everything else.
Sir Paul’s band loves him. You can see it on their faces from the second they step onto the stage until the last bow. They’re all gifted players with a wide range of talents. He moved them closer to the stage’s edge during the middle of the show for a more intimate feel, and it did feel more intimate because we weren’t in a stadium, but in a nice outdoor amphitheater with the most incredible sound I have ever heard at a live show. EVER! There wasn’t any instrument you couldn’t distinguish from the others. We were close enough to feel the kick drum in our bellys, but it didn’t thump our ears. The screaming guitars didn’t hurt. And the pyrotechnics during Live and Let Die? It was one of the most righteous things I’ve ever seen, and rather than photograph it, I just stood in awe and screamed my head off (yes, I’m hoarse today). It was already a favorite, but this spectacle put it over the top. I’ll just say that we were close enough to feel the intense heat from the blasts, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced. I would go see Sir Paul again for that song alone.
You can tell Sir Paul is a gentleman. He introduced the song Valentine that he wrote for his current wife Nancy, who was in the audience, then he introduced Maybe I’m Amazed that he wrote for Linda. Between those cuts, Yesterday, and Let it Be, I’m pretty sure everybody had a good cry, even the men (maybe especially the men). He picked out a few people from the audience who had been holding up signs and brought them onstage. They included two young boys that wanted to play with him. He didn’t let them play instruments, but he did have them (and their parents) help sing Get Back. Their mom stole the show, so I’m thinking the boys are headed back to the woodshed for a few more hours of practice. But here’s this legend giving these boys a chance of a lifetime that ended with, “wait, let’s have a group hug,” before they left the stage. He’s a stand-up guy just as I expected.
Thank you, Sir Paul. Thank you for being my first musical inspiration. Thank you for playing your heart out. Thank you for being kind. Thank you for your brilliance.
I am no longer waiting for a special occasion; I burn the best candles on ordinary days.
I am no longer waiting for the house to be clean; I fill it with people who understand that even dust is Sacred.
I am no longer waiting for everyone to understand me; It’s just not their task
I am no longer waiting for the perfect children; my children have their own names that burn as brightly as any star.
I am no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop; It already did, and I survived.
I am no longer waiting for the time to be right; the time is always now.
I am no longer waiting for the mate who will complete me; I am grateful to be so warmly, tenderly held.
I am no longer waiting for a quiet moment; my heart can be stilled whenever it is called.
I am no longer waiting for the world to be at peace; I unclench my grasp and breathe peace in and out.
I am no longer waiting to do something great; being awake to carry my grain of sand is enough.
I am no longer waiting to be recognized; I know that I dance in a holy circle.
I am no longer waiting for Forgiveness.
I believe, I Believe.
~ Mary Anne Perrone
If you’ve ever wondered how some kids learn to play music, here’s one way it’s done. Johnny Chapman’s son, Tristan, is currently fascinated with guitars. His papaw Eric has plenty to choose from, as you can see, and his dad is happy to show him what he knows. And he knows a lot.
Johnny is an incredible multi-instrumentalist with a voice that will knock your socks off. He is an equally gifted songwriter and producer, too. There’s really nothing the man can’t do. He played a preview of his upcoming album for me last Saturday. It’s gorgeous. It has a maturity and depth that surpasses most music today. Tristan is lucky to have such a generous father, and he comes by it honest what with a generous mom and dad. They’re a truly beautiful thing, the Von Chapman Family. What a gift they are to me.
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
I expected this to be the only office I would ever know. That’s not how it worked out, but any time I have the chance to go back to my first love, my first office, I take it. Those chances are few and far between these days. Scott McClatchy was upset to learn I wasn’t playing, and he made it his mission to make sure I had something to play; a McClatchy original for his upcoming release. I called my old friends Eric, Bree, and Johnny Chapman to help me get a drum track to him. The Von Chapman Family, as I used to call them decades ago when we were playing together, have a great studio perfect for the occasion. More than that, however, they have the compassion and patience needed to help a stale and stiff old drummer overcome a phobia and find her rhythm again. This day has been one of the best days ever and The Chapmans had everything to do with it.
“Individuality is a precious gift. Never conform to someone else’s standards” ~ Lynette Cox
The oldest item on my bucket list got checked off today. In my hands are tickets to see Sir Paul McCartney perform in July!!!! That’s right. That statement gets four exclamation marks. If you follow the outhouse you know I’ve loved him since I was a little girl, and more recently I’ve found I love him even more as an adult. If I could see anyone perform, it’s him. So, after much dragging of the feet, I’m actually going (with super awesome friends). Now, we pray he stays alive long enough to do the show. I mean, he turned 75 this week, and as Tony Adams told me last week, “He’s not going to live forever.” But wait, there’s more. The newest item on my bucket list also got checked off today. See this photo? It was made with my new 16-35mm lens. I’ve saved a long time for this new (used) baby, and for it to show up the same day I got tickets to see Sir Paul? Throw anything at me today – rotten tomatoes, insults, bad technology – nothing’s gonna bring me down.
“Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world.” ~ Pema Chödrön
I first met Brett Ratliff a couple of years ago in Johnson City, Tennessee at an Appalachian Studies Association conference. We have many mutual friends, and grew up not too far from one another, but somehow we managed to miss meeting in person until that moment. You meet people when you’re ready to meet them.
I caught up with Brett at Seedtime last Saturday. If you’ve never seen him perform, you should. He does a brilliant job of keeping traditional mountain music alive with just enough modern twist to make it fresh and new. Ya gotta love a man that opens his set with a song about our current political head. It was straight to the point, just the way I like it, and right. It’s that kind of kick-in-the-gut spirit that draws me to him. Plus, I adore really good mountain music, and Brett is really good. It was a breath of fresh air talking to him, and listening to his beautiful songs.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ~ Pablo Picasso
I just finished reading a 600+ page tome about Paul McCartney. He was always my favorite (you thought it would be Ringo, didn’t you?). I couldn’t have told you exactly why he was my favorite, but after reading Barry Miles’ book, I have a better idea. Paul lived in an extraordinary time, surrounded by extraordinary people, and he created music that changed the world. There aren’t many people who can say that. His seemingly simple pop songs are often intricate, near orchestral at times, and full of more imagery than you can shake a stick at. Most of his characters are made up, though many LSD tripping hippies thought otherwise. The songs he and Lennon composed together are nothing short of otherworldly. The sheer originality of each one defies description. I took many things away from this book. For instance, it was John that broke up the band, not Yoko, and it was primarily Paul’s creative drive that produced their last four albums. To be clear, those recordings sound the way they do because of the fab four (and George Martin), not Paul alone, but he was their energy (the others probably called him bossy); from album cover design to playing drums on a few tracks. I said earlier that I’d always loved Wings, and one can clearly hear remnants of the Beatles’ in that band. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine what those songs would have sounded like if John, George, Ringo, and George Martin had been alongside Paul. I think he always held out hope that the band would reform one day, or at least go back on the road and do a few shows like they’d done when they were young men. That’s what he loved more than anything. I can’t help but feel sorry for The Beatles. They loved each other more than most families, but people and drugs (mostly) ate away at them until they fell apart. Then, a crazy man came along, and with one shot, ended any chance they had to fully mend (though John and Paul had become friends again). Life is like that sometimes. Still, what a gift they gave the world, huh? I loved this book. It left me inspired. And I love Paul McCartney more than ever, and I can tell you exactly why.
“It takes a big person to avoid small worries.” Robin Sharma
I’m itching to play music again in a big way. I came across this shot from last year’s Reel World String Band / Sam Gleaves gig at The Lyric and it reminded me of all the wonderful gigs I’ve been lucky to play over the years. The really crappy gigs, well, the lighting wasn’t nearly this good. I’m also itching to get back to England and see my boy Jon Durno, bassist and human extraordinaire. I’m thinking I might do something about both these things this year, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.