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Posts tagged ‘music’

A beer bottle question

Sitting in my favorite pizza place, waiting for my favorite veggie pizza to be done, I grew tired of watching the traffic outside the window go by. I had already read the copies they had there of the Portland Mercury and Willamette Week , so out of boredom I started to read the label on my bottle of beer. And the label on the bottle posed a question to me: If I could have only one album to listen to forever, which one would it be? For a music lover, that is a very deep question. I have at times played the mind game of desert island picks; you know, if you were stranded on a desert island, what music would you want to have. And I usually limit myself to 10 albums when playing that game. But only one? That really narrows the playing field. I could go with something really classic; something from The Beatles or Dylan or maybe Dark Side of the Moon,or even  The Rolling Stones, although I am not a big Stones fan. But then I’m just going with the status quo, perhaps what a music critic might pick in order to cover all the bases. Then I thought of a perfect solution – a compilation album! That way, it would include all kinds of music, with different artists. But really, there are always those tracks on those types of offerings that I program out with the delete button on my cd player. So back to square one. And when I really thought about the music I listen to the most, I came to my obvious choice, the music of Elliott Smith. I have mentioned my love of his music in previous posts, and I may sound like an obsessed fan, but I like to think of myself as more of an admirer than a fan. To me his music can range from pop perfection to quiet acoustic offerings, all surrounded by lovely melodies he crafts and sung in his gentle, whispery style. By the time my pizza was ready, I had decided which of his albums I would choose. I decided to go with his last effort, From a Basement on the Hill. It was said that he wanted it to be his “white album”; a reference to The Beatles, who were a big influence on his music. So there is my pick for my “forever” album – and what would your choice be?

Music, sweet music

Although writing is near and dear to my heart, music is a huge part of who I am. So huge that I no longer have a television, and listen to music for entertainment rather than turning to visual media. Oh, I still watch a DVD now and then on my computer – lately I have been enthralled by Globe Trekker videos, dreaming of places I would love to travel to. But music is the medium that speaks to my soul, that can pull me in and cause me to dance or laugh or even cry at times. I even entertained the thought of changing professions at a time in my life, wanting to hang up my lab coat and find a place behind the mixing board in a recording studio, to go back to school to become a recording engineer. But I lacked the courage to make the big leap. And even though I am unafraid to live my dreams now, I really feel like entering into the music industry would have best been suited to me in my younger years – maybe next time around on this earth, perhaps? So I listen to my ever growing collection of music, which in these days of the Internet also includes Pandora and i-Tunes. My favorite shopping experience is buying new music, and not in a chain store but the local record stores in my city. And of course music has drifted into my writing, with poems and short stories written with a music theme. As I mentioned in a previous post, my favorite artist by far is Elliott Smith. His music touches me in a way that no other artist does, so much that I wrote a poem about his songwriting process, and another about his acclaimed shows, where he could mesmerize the audience with his lovely songs. So I share those here, and maybe it is a good time to listen to Either/Or, or maybe From a Basement on the Hill, or maybe Figure 8 – just some of the luscious melodies of Elliott Smith…

The Songwriter


He sits at a table

In the crowded bar

Away from all the people

Their voices a faded sound

He listens in his head

Sees the pictures in his mind

Like a dream come to life

He is Ferdinand the bull

Sitting under his cork tree

Taking it all in

But not in it at all

Thoughts play a movie

He writes the script

Scratching it out on a cocktail napkin

He slowly sips his drink

The crowd thins

The glass is empty

Words are stuffed into pockets

The songwriter moves on

At home he melds music

With the words

The process is complete

Picking up his guitar

He plays

Breathing life into the song

Their Friend


Every venue he plays

Becomes an intimate setting

As if he sits

With the audience

In their living room

He greets them with a shy “hello”

Then sits in the chair

The small man and his guitar

Swallowed up by the stage

He nervously picks at the guitar

And a song starts to emerge

The crowd cheers

Then a hush ensues

He holds them in the rapture of melody

The song ends

They cheer once more

A quickly spoken “thanks”

Is shared with his followers

They talk to him

Asking him questions

He politely answers

Someone shouts “I love you!”

“I love you too” he replies

And this exchange of love

Is what endears him to them

To every face in the crowd he is

Their friend who sings

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