“Your beliefs don’t make you a better person. Your behavior does.” ~ Unknown
This little girl adores her daddy, David Hurst. And right she should; he’s one cool daddy-o.
This little girl adores her daddy, David Hurst. And right she should; he’s one cool daddy-o.
I saw David Hurst Saturday. He showed me a recent vinyl discovery he’d made. I took a little trip down memory lane with his find; a signed promotional copy of our first LP. It was signed by the most experienced lineup of the band; Kiya, Jon Durno, Gregg Fulkerson, and yours truly. We did a lot of touring after the album’s release in May 1988. Our first guitarist during the southern and part of the east coast tours was Brian Bonham. Gregg came aboard sometime during that east coast tour (I think) and through the Midwest and west coast tours which would have probably been July through December of ’88. It would be really interesting to know the life of David’s album because the lives we four shared during our time together was some of the best times I had in music. We were a really good combo that didn’t really get to finish what we started. Unfinished or not, I wouldn’t trade my life with them for anything.
David Hurst and Melissa Snow-Groves were meant for each other. I sure do love them.
Stacy Yelton says two things will melt a man; puppies and babies. I think she’s right.
Aurora’s older sister Juni (Juniper) joined in the photo fun. She started off a bit shy. My lens has a way of seeing what she thought it couldn’t see. Isn’t it adorable? She was sure she was hidden. Some kids could care less about a camera, some can’t get enough of it (they’re annoying), and some take a little while to warm up. Heck, some adults do, too, but I can usually wear them down if given enough time. Juni’s reluctance was not unusual, and when she decided to come alive, that wasn’t unusual either. I think it’s equal parts trust and attention. Most kids want attention but they want it on their terms. They’re also unsure of people they don’t know well or activities they don’t understand well. Once she figured out it was okay to be herself, well, I have a lot of great pictures of Juni from that day. I hope someday she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed taking them.
You might recall that Sunday before last I mentioned photographing Melissa Snow-Groves and family. She just had her second baby, Aurora, in late September and they wanted newborn photos. I don’t do newborn photos, and we were already three+ weeks late, but we gave it the ‘ol college try anyway. Immediately I regretted not having a macro lens, and when I said so, Melissa suddenly said, “I have one and it’s a Canon!” First: wow, what are the chances? Second: game changer. I’m still not a newborn photographer – those folks have got an incredible system that’s tough to emulate without a lot of practice – but I would take pictures of a blank wall if that’s what David and Melissa wanted. That they would let me practice on them at such a crucial time in their second child’s life is really touching and I was, and will always be, honored they let me be part of it. This particular shot is stylistically different for me but I like it and now I’m totally sold on adding a macro to my arsenal.
I got home so late last night that I just didn’t have the energy to talk about the incredible evening I’d had. I posted my brief photo of Marlon Hurst at his stereo and a couple of folks speculated that I had been at rehearsal. That wasn’t true, but as you can see, there was much music and merry making involved just the same. A few weeks ago, Marlon asked a few of us if we’d be interested in listening to music, specifically music on vinyl LP. Naturally, we all said yes. Last night we did just that. I had not seen Marlon and Kathy’s new home, so I got the ten cent tour prior to a perfect pita pizza dinner. It set the tone for an evening of artistry and appreciation.
Marlon explained how he and his brother David used to sit and listen to records; really listen, without talking, to absorb the nuanced sounds and the art of compiling album sides. In our hurried digital world, (adulting forces us into some level of this) we don’t take/have the time to listen or perhaps appreciate what we hear. And with CDs and singles being all the rage now, the art of the album is all but lost except to those of us of a certain age or true audiophiles. This was our chance to revisit an act that we had all once embraced. An act that, for each of us, had became a life altering experience. I knew it was going to be a great night the second I walked in and David was playing Joan Osborne and Trigger Hippy, a band I’d never heard of. It set off a discussion about performers we’d seen before they hit it big, not coincidentally, like the time Michelle Shute and I saw Joan Osborne at Phoenix Hill Tavern in Louisville just before Relish hit the airwaves. She wasn’t even on the big stage at Phoenix Hill. She was on the small stage upstairs usually reserved for local bands, which wasn’t weird at the time considering she’s from just down the road in Anchorage, KY. I also don’t think it was coincidence that the last time I remember a deep music listening thing like last night was with Michelle Shute. She and I used to spend hours listening to music, and she’s been extremely influential in expanding my musical palette over the last 30 years. Anyway, if the rest of the evening had been a disaster, it would have been totally worth it just to get turned on to Trigger Hippy.
However, the evening was anything but a disaster. We sat with full bellies in comfortable silence before the killer Marantz stereo that instantly transported me back to Johnny Barker’s room a la 1980 where we listened endlessly to music through a similar set-up. What a great memory. For this night, we had each been tasked to choose one album side to share, and prior to its playing, we said why we chose it. We drew numbers to determine the night’s rotation. Stacy Yelton was supposed to be with us, but she fell ill (likely the same bug I’d had earlier in the week). Still, she sent along her album choice, and as fate would have it, she was #1. She may have also won the night with her selection of Pete Townsend and Ronnie Lane’s Rough Mix. Her original 1977 pressing was pristine, of course, and it was a recording that I don’t think any of us knew about, even David, a long-time Who fan. The music had only the faintest hint of The Who sensibilities but you could clearly hear the coming Townsend solo a la White City choreography. It was a brilliant first selection. David’s choice of Radiohead’s OK Computer followed. Its 180g soundscape expanded our senses with a compressed cacophony of flavors. I drew number three and my selection was 1983’s Synchronicity by The Police. It was this recoding that won me over as a devoted fan. They were at the peak of their craft as a band; their furiously fast paced sloppiness corralled into a masterpiece. Next up was Kathy. She went with Gregory Porter’s Liquid Spirit, which drew a gasp from me because, 1: I adore him, and 2: Marlon and Kathy had actually turned me on to him last year. Again, me thinks no coincidence. If you don’t appreciate just how good Porter and his band are, sit between the speakers, close your eyes, and just listen. You’ll come to understand his beauty before the first cut has ended. Andrew Perkins drew hurrahs from all of us when he revealed his fifth place selection; Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Apparently lifted from his mother’s broad collection, the LP was still wrapped in its original plastic sheath replete with $7.99 Walmart price tag and “Grammy Nominated” sticker. In case you don’t understand the significance of that, Thriller went on to win 8 Grammy’s and sell 60+ million worldwide. As Andrew said, “It’s the biggest selling greatest hits album that isn’t a greatest hits album.” We really came full circle with Marlon’s choice of Jefferson Airplane’s reissued mono recording of Surrealistic Pillow. Though I’d heard White Rabbit many, many times before, I’d never heard it in its intended state or in context of its album side. I came away with a whole new appreciate for Jefferson Airplane. You can’t imagine how good this record sounds for a 1967 release. It had no problem standing its ground beside the other, more modern selections. Interesting that Airplane’s Grace Slick was the only female representation of the evening. I don’t think that means anything except that we all noticed. That in itself is just another reason why I love my people. They pay attention.
Thank you, Marlon, for suggesting we slow down long enough to appreciate the music we love. Thank you and Kathy for opening your home and making me feel welcome. Thank you Andrew, David, Kathy, Marlon, and Melissa (David’s wife and late-comer to the party) for the songs and music and camaraderie. You are my people and I love every one of you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks for including me in your journey. If you’re reading this and you used to sit in your room with friends and listen to music for hours on end, I highly recommend you call those friends, invite them over, turn off the TV and computer, and turn on the stereo and just listen. It’s better than any drug you’ll ever swallow. Promise.
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.