Music I Love

Elvis Perkins in DreamlandAll my life, I have wished for the gift of music. I realized early on that I was not born with a beautiful singing voice, and in high school when I tried to teach myself to play guitar, I discovered I also was not blessed with the ability to create music by instrument. Somehow though I knew all the chords to a song, when I put them together, all I could hear was my strumming, jolting from one note to the next. I decided then that I could claim the gift of music appreciation in the absence of all other musical giftings.

I have three new favorite artists that I have spent much of the last three weeks (as I have been MIA from blogging) appreciating.

First, at the meeting of our community group from Pasadena Mennonite Church two weeks ago, I was privileged to see Brandi Carlile “live” from South by Southwest via cable TV (what a wonderful thing). I was struck first by her stage presence–despite the setting of her show (a packed bar) and the medium through which I saw it, it felt like a gathering of close friends. Her voice, a warm, twangy alto, got me hooked next. Finally, the music itself seemed to come from reflective experience of both life and music. Her second album, The Story, produced by T Bone Burnett, hits the racks on April 3rd.

Next, I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about a young British singer named Amy Winehouse. Her music is soulful and reminiscent of Motown infused with a bit of hip hop. Her album, Back in Black, was inspired by the end of her first love combined with the music she used to comfort herself with afterward. Over all, I have enjoyed her album, and my favorite songs are the title track and another one named “Rehab.” My brother tells me that at home in England, she is notorious for being a mess…

Lastly, a good friend bought tickets to a concert Friday night and let us know we were coming with her. The musician was Elvis Perkins, whose album Wess has been listening to for a few weeks. The show was phenomenal. He and three friends played instruments ranging from the trombone to an upright bass to the xylophone. It is a night I will not soon forget. For a thorough review, read more about him here.

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