“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.” ~ Unknown
Today was Ruth’s annual Christmas soirée; tea a la Emily Post. Each year the cast changes slightly, including the pets, but the core library crowd is consistently present, and always the day ends with Christmas carols. I’m always pleased to be in their company. A good time was had by all.
“Never regret a day in your life. Good days give happiness, bad days give experience,
worst days give lessons, and best days give memories.” ~ Unknown
I’ll just leave this here, while reminding the universe that I’m still the drummer (and would like to play much, much more). That’s why. Plus, Mike Moore, also a drummer, is awesome and has the best shirts ever.
“We must welcome the future, remembering that soon it will be the past; and we must respect the past, remembering that it was once all that was humanly possible.” ~ George Santayana
When Marlon Hurst isn’t playing trumpet with Four Leonards (and a fifth), he’s conducting the Kentucky Bach Choir. I had the chance to photograph them during last year’s Christmas outing, but I shot mostly from the balcony. This year, though, I was able to work a bit more up close. I was able to get a good look at Marlon whose back is to the audience for the entire concert. I loved it! I could tell he was having a really good time. There’s just not much better in life than people who love what they do.
“I’ll tell you one thing for sure: once you get to the point where you’re actually doing things for truth’s sake, then nobody can ever touch you again because you’re harmonizing with a greater power.”
~ George Harrison
I’ve been thinking a lot about Ricky. He left this world yesterday afternoon. Many theater friends posted to his facebook page. Their most common thread was thanking him for giving them a chance to find their passion. Rick was a long-time theater director and actor. That was his passion. When we were kids we put on shows, made up commercials, and generally did lots of creative things. All of it was his idea as I recall. Seven years my senior, he never made me feel like I wasn’t old enough or cool enough to be part of whatever we were doing. When I read the gratitude pouring out for him, for treating those people the same way he treated me, without reservation, it warmed my heart beyond words. I was transported back to our silliest times. Like the time we made a commercial on an old cassette recorder about Ex-Lax, when we kept flushing the toilet over and over and over again until our mothers thought something bad had happened to one of us. Mom and I still laugh about that. No matter how much Ricky taught me about show business (theater was his thing, not mine, so in many ways I failed miserably), he taught me something much more important. He taught me how to laugh, and how to love people who don’t always fit in. These are but two gifts from him that I have carried every day. I have nothing but immeasurable gratitude. And who knows. Maybe one day I’ll take up theater.
“Some people want material things. Me, I just want peace, happy times, and people who love me.”
Marlon Hurst is one of the coolest people I know. You’ve met him before. He’s the music director at First Presbyterian in Lexington, and he spearheads the Music for Mission series that helps raise funds for various charitable organizations like Glean KY that benefited from last night’s Leonard Cohen tribute. Marlon is an exceptional musician, and last night I learned that he’s played trumpet since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He did an awesome solo with his brother David and sister-in-law Melissa’s band. You see, Marlon isn’t alone in his musical capabilities. His brother David is an excellent bassist (with a seriously cool Rickenbacher bass), and Melissa taught herself to play drums especially for the Cohen gig, which was approximately two months ago. She’s my shero: fearless and cool. She did a great job, too. These Hurst boys and their wives and kids are just the sweetest people ever, and I’m so lucky to call them friends.
Stacy took part in the exquisite Leonard Cohen Tribute this evening at Good Shepherd. She read lyrics to – oh gosh, I don’t remember now – but she read them as the musicians reassembled to sing what is unquestionably his most famous song Hallelujah. As expected, she was a pro. A total pro reading lyrics like the poetry they are. I’ve never seen anything more natural than Stacy in headphones behind a mic the way God intended. I’m so proud of her. What an excellent night of music.
“The most crucial use of knowledge and education is to understand the importance of developing a good heart.” ~ Dalai Lama
I’ve been pretty sick with a cold for the last three days. It’s been hard to keep my eyes open, so I’ve listened to a lot of TV. Today, however, I was finally able to watch something, so I chose the painfully long documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Runnin’ Down A Dream. Long though it was – two minutes shy of four hours – it’s fantastic because Tom is (was) fantastic. The Heartbreakers is the kind of band I always wanted to be in. Rockin’, smooth, and totally tight as a family. Just last week I’d discovered I had a first pressing on vinyl of Southern Accents. It’s not my favorite Petty album though. That would be a toss up between the 1976 self-titled album with my all-time favorite Breakdown, and his third album Damn the Torpedoes. It doesn’t matter. Anything Tom Petty did was great, and I’m so very thankful he made the music he was meant to make.
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
I had the great pleasure of meeting Catherine Brereton’s parents and youngest brother, Joe, tonight. They’re here from Britain for the Bluegrass experience. There was a large group assembled at Lynagh’s Irish Pub hoping a fiddle would appear so that Catherine’s mom, Fliss, could make her American debut with Liam’s Fancy. Alas, it was not meant to be, but that didn’t stop our intrepid visitor from joining the band. She was the life of the party, and just as kind as she could be (no surprise given how kind Catherine is). I hope this isn’t the only time I get to see them because I really enjoyed our all-too-brief visit. And you never know; maybe I’ll get to hear Fliss play a reel before she flies back across the pond. I’m holding out hope.
“Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” ~ Stephen Covey
Last week was insanely busy and I nearly missed seeing Kiya as a result. But Stacy and I managed to find fifteen minutes, give or take, to drop in on her and violinist Sarah Stollak at Common Grounds. I’m so glad I did. Sarah is a wonderful addition to the sound, and she’s hilarious: a personal favorite trait. It was my first time seeing Kiya in person with her new do, too. She continues to look much younger than she is, and I continue trying not to hate her for it (kidding, of course – I could never hate her). She played several new songs, and as usual, they are sublimely beautiful. It did my heart so good to spend a few minutes with her. I sure needed it. Hopefully, it did her some good, too. Better living through music.
“Take some time to hear the heartbeats around you. Ground. Be happy.
Enjoy yourselves and be kind to each other.” ~ Bree Chapman
The last time I was at Equus Run I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter. That was many years ago. The next time I was at Equus Run, guess what? I saw Mary Chapin Carpenter! And this time, she saw me, too. She looked right at me and gave me a very sincere smile (as you can see). Stacy, Crystal, and I went to see her tonight. It was perfect weather. She had a full band, and as a bonus, Don Dixon was on bass. He’s a solo artist, but I know him best as a producer for the likes of R.E.M. and the Smithereens. Not only did we get Dixon, but John Paul White of the Civil Wars opened the show. I’ve not heard a voice like his since Dan Fogelberg. I really, really loved his set. MCC was in great form as well; looking great, sounding great, and having an obvious blast with her band. Stacy, Crystal, and I had a wonderful night, and it was pretty dang funny when Crystal and I rushed the stage with our twin Canons. That might be why MCC was smiling so big. Something tickled her that’s for sure. I snapped the shots then mouthed the words, ‘Thank you.’ She replied, ‘You’re welcome,’ with a nod and another smile. Life is so much better with good music and kind musicians in it.