"Don’t play without feeling something. What you play is what you become, so please try to feel something!" - A.L.
I’m wrapping up this train of thought with a tip of the hat (and some mixed metaphors).
I did what I could in my first post to illustrate what the moment is all about for me: a hidden escape door to another world, like Lewis’ wardrobe in a song. And in part two, I wanted to give you an idea of what the moment can become when paired with the drunken joy of our Creator*.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen somebody exemplify what I was saying in those posts better than my hero, Abe Laboriel. So I thought I’d show you some cool videos of him I found on this cool new website I found, YouTube.com.
I was introduced to Abe about 6 years ago when I saw this instructional video at school. Watch some of it. Get your mind blown.
Obviously he has some chops. But what is equally impressive is just how much joy he carries. It’s like he’s caught up in a dance, putting on display an exchange of lovin’ tenderness. He so savors the moment.
Don’t try this at home. Actually, don’t try this anywhere. I’ve done some smart things in my life, and I’ve also done some stupid things. The following is one of the stupid things…
I decided to conduct an experiment on New Year’s Eve some years back. I was playing bass guitar for a party among friends, just some casual grooving with a couple of buddies. I knew from previous experience that a little bit of beer actually affected my playing positively. I was more relaxed, I grooved easier. So when I could, I’d enjoy a brew before I performed. That got me thinking…
It’s all about the moment for me.
The book was A Farewell To Arms, the class was American Lit. I was 17 and tired of reading stuffy analyses of an otherwise enjoyable story. So I put the critical references aside and decided to stop studying for a while.
My parents had turned part of our basement into a guest room. I liked to study there;˚ it was cool, dark, and quiet. In this moment I got up from the desk, flicked off the light and sat upright on the bed, resting against the headboard. It was Walkman time.
And there, in the cool, quiet darkness of the guest room, was the moment.
My roommate Jamie brought home a new bottle of whiskey. And not wanting to be impolite, I offered to help him drink it.
It was alright*.
Like the pretentious drinker I am, I commented on its lackluster character. But just as my snobby nose was in mid upturn, Jamie pointed out something interesting. “You can’t really judge it yet,” he said.
The fact is that most “good” whiskey is aged for some time, like over a decade. The distillery where this whiskey came from though, has only been making the stuff for maybe five years. So while this bottle wasn’t particularly impressive, we won’t really know the quality of the brand until the whiskey has had time to age. Because it is in the aging process that the richness of the drink comes through˙.
This post is dedicated to my favorite groove of all time.
I mean, I’m no expert, but it is indisputably the greatest of all grooves. I am 110% certain. In Heaven, so the legend goes, this groove has been played ‘round the clock by seraphim since Jesus once said, “This is Heaven, people, let’s break it down on the real!”
I’m referring of course to the Sweet 16.
If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel too bad. I just thought of the name a few minutes ago. I gave the treasured groove that nickname because it’s characterized by a percussive sixteenth-note rhythm, usually played by a drummer on his hi-hat*. It’s not a specific song, but a groove found in many songs. In fact, the Sweet 16 has been known to transform an otherwise poor song into a pleasant experience of the finest head-bobbery.
I guess you could say it’s a song of songs. And yes, I mean that in the biblical sense.
This is a blog about sexiness.
I know, I know. Who could be a more authoritative, relevant source on the subject than this chiseled essence of raw manliness*? Nobody, that’s who.
What inspired me to write about sexiness, besides all the fan mail requests, was actually a song I put on a playlistˆ of my favorite lady songs. The song’s called “Lifelong Fling” by Over The Rhine. I realized that the singer, Karin Bergquist, had something special going on. It was sexy. But what made it so?
As you must surely know by now, I have an affinity for the break-up song. And like all my various affinities*, the break-up song affinity is a snobbish one. There’s no shortage of these broken-hearted strains in the world, but there are few that I truly respect. I don’t doleº out approval very easily, or at least I’d like to think that. So please just let me think that as I present to you this tune…
You may have already heard it, as I’m not exactly keenˆ on what the kids are listening to these days. But in case it’s new to you, here is Gotye performing, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Their remarkable emo/indie flair really helps me feel the ache…But on the real, this song embodies everything I like about songwriting. Not sure what’s more remarkable, the brilliant melody or the fact that such a melody has fitting lyrics to stand on˚. You decide.
Props to the talented photographer/curator of groove Jamie Clayton for sharing this with me via the Internets.
For Better or Ezra,
* like such as and: food, coffee, guitars, and J.K. Rowling. (Her pre-Potter work is far more refined.)
º to dole: to deal, toss, or fling bananas like a regular monkey king.
ˆkeen: to be at the same time relaxed, mountain-ready, and strikingly unfashionable.
˚so I found a way to sneakily remark about both. (Note: I’m also snobbish about stealthy sentences.)
I had just arrived home from a trip abroad. And although I was exhausted, I wasn’t about to go to sleep. I had been waiting for this day for too long. What would be Nickel Creek’s last and greatest album had dropped while I was overseas, and I barely touched down in Chicago before heading to Borders* to pick up my copy.
I need to dress cooler. I need a more attractive power stance when I perform. I need to buy some hair product.
Because people, especially the important ones in Nashville, tend to listen with their eyes as much, if not more than, their ears.
I’ve often been a bit discouraged at my lack of coolness. But I’m usually even more discouraged by sincerely talented artists and musicians trying to convince me they’re cool. A few weeks ago, though, I spotted hope on both counts.