Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grateful: A Little Night Music

Chet Baker's one of my faves.
Today, I am grateful for:

The sound of music, even though most would call me a musical nit-wit. I guess it's a matter of liking what we like, in the same way people used to explain why they voted for George W. Bush ("Uh ... I just like him ...").

Like most old white guys, there are some forms of music that don't play well on my ear (rap, urban contemporary, opera, white gospel, head-banging in its various forms old and new, etc.). I like soft jazz, which seems to enrage the hard-core jazz afficianados ("You like Kenny G!" they roar. "Well, no," I say, "but I like Rene Marie, Chet Baker, Nora Jones, Edith Piaf. You know, stuff that serves for mood." I get a sneer.)

Music sets a tone--so to speak--for my day or supplements an endorfin rush. Booze used to do that, but I dropped the booze. Music is a good substitute. I'll play Merle Haggard or Waylon Jennings or David Alan Coe when I'm kicking back into my North Carolina mountain accent and put on Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton or Tammy Wynette (how does she hit those notes and how many octaves does that voice run?) when love is all around. Bob Seeger, Mark Knopfler, Gerry Rafferty and Don Henley scratch my rock itch while Mozart and Chopin soothe the savage breast upon occasion. Bill Monroe ("My Last Days on Earth") pulls out the meloncholy with a triple-mandolin lead and Claire Lynch has just about the best voice in bluegrass (when Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton aren't singing it.)

Madeleine Peyroux is a miracle and k.d. Lang puts us in another age. The Modern Jazz Quartet is the very essence of 1954 Grenwich Village. There are a lot more, but that small does will give you an idea of the range. I don't listen a lot, but I love what I care about. As with so many things.

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