I had heard this a long time ago on YouTube, but lost it - could not remember their name, even forgot the name of the song. All I could remember was that he was a brilliant pop guitarist and that she was a decent singer. It popped into my stream again this over the weekend and I listened to it a few times. I still like it - not thrilled with the effects on her voice, but . . . . I have not been able to discover much about them as the only Wikipedia entry for them is in Swedish and their personal websites are thin. We will likely never see them live. The Gig list shows a number of private events, hotel lounges, and clinics. I like.

BTW: Song written by Joni Mitchell

When I am working on old photographs or shaking the family tree, it is sometimes relaxing to plug in some headphones and let Youtube play in the background. I select a couple of songs, and Youtube generates a playlist and spins through them. Here is a performer that I had not heard before. I liked it enough to stop the player and replay this song a couple of times. Not only is it a great song, but they harmonize pretty, pretty well.

Sabine McCalla

music

I think that this is the reason that Christofori invented the piano. She should be the Glenn Gould of the next few decades - and she composes.

Every day is special during the Covid-19 lockdown. We all need something to cheer us up. I found a great photograph of two of my musical heros. They were together, and it looks like they were just enjoying.

Townes Van Zandt with Lighnin' Hopkins 2010, Galveston, Lankford Grocery & Market, Ross about to clog his arteries

The photo is pretty grainy and my limited capabilities will not fix that, but I thought that I had fixed all of the scratches and dust specs - then I noticed a bunch I missed on the tree. Sorry, maybe later (maybe not too.)

While posting this photo it got me thinking about the time that Carol, Ross, Keitha and I travelled to Galveston Texas. Keitha and Ross were heading to Florida, Carol and I were heading to California. I convinced Carol that we should rent a condo in Galveston for a week on our way to California, and we invited Keith and Ross along to meet us at the condo, on their way to Florida. Why Galveston? Townes recorded his best album "Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas" in the Old Quarter Cafe in Galveston, and I really wanted to go there.

Of course as things go, it did not go well. The condo was a dump, the town seemed to still be recovering from a hurricane, I thought that I could put uncooked chicken skin through the garbage disposal (wrong, wrong, just plain wrong), and the Old Quarter was closed. It looked like it had been boarded up for a bit.

We had to fall back to Plan B - how many Guy Fieri recommended Diners, Drive-ins and Dives can we visit in the Houston area (back then we were all willing to pump additional collestoral into our bloodstream.) One was the Lankford Grocery & Market - I remember ordering the most expensive burger on the menu, it included: mac and cheese, and a fried egg, and it likely included all of the saturated fat for a week, for 2 people. It was wonderful.

The photo reminded me.

Sierra Ferrell

music

Just raw talent. She has lots of great videos on Youtube: The New West Virginia Waltz, The Bells of Every Chapel, The Whisper Waltz. Once in a blue moon someone comes along that scares me with their talent.

John Prine Gone

obit music

The man should have been named Poet Lauriate of the US years ago. I hope he can smoke in heaven. I hope he meets his parents and his brother Doug.


An Article by Jason Isbell (another great songwriter)

A few years ago, my wife, Amanda, was touring in Scandinavia with John Prine, and when they arrived in Sweden she saw him write “songwriter” on his customs form as his occupation. “When did you decide that it was OK to write ‘songwriter’ on these forms?” she asked him. “Today,” he told her. “I usually put dancer.”

John Prine was not a dancer. He was a songwriter and one of the best that ever lived, but he did love to dance. He danced around his house in Nashville with his wife, Fiona, danced in the driver’s seat of his beloved Cadillac and danced offstage every night, twirling an imaginary pocket watch. Once while performing onstage with John, I noticed him glance down past his Italian driving shoes to check the digital clock on the floor, and he saw me notice. He leaned in and whispered, “I wish we had more time.”

When John developed squamous cell cancer on his neck in 1998, his doctor told him he might never be able to sing again. John told him, “Doc, you’ve never heard me sing.” He didn’t consider himself to be much of a singer; his honest delivery had always been what mattered most. Cancer and the subsequent treatments left John with a low whisper of a singing voice, but one that, if anything, aligned even more perfectly with the hard-won wisdom of the characters he created.

John was in his early 20s when he wrote “Hello in There” from the perspective of an old man sharing an empty nest with his lonely wife. Hearing him sing the song after decades of hard living and surviving numerous illnesses brought new meaning to the lyrics, now delivered by a man who had caught up with the character he created. John always said when he grew up, he wanted to be an old person.

John was known for his ability to tell stories that related universal emotions through the lens of his gigantic imagination. He constructed what Bob Dylan called “Midwestern mind trips” from the tedium of the everyday, and he was a master at concealing the work involved.

His songs sounded like they’d been easy to write, like they’d just fallen out of his mind like magic. He was praised for his dry humor and loved for his kindness and generosity. John had the courage to write plainly about the darkest aspects of the American experience in songs like “Sam Stone,” about a drug-addicted Vietnam veteran; “Paradise,” about the devastating effects of strip mining on a Kentucky town; and “The Great Compromise,” about his disillusionment with his country. Among his peers in the legendary Nashville songwriting community of the 1980s, his songs were the gold standard.

Of all the things I love about John’s songwriting, my favorite is the way he could step so completely into someone else’s life. John had the gift and the curse of great empathy. In songs like “Hello in There” and “Angel From Montgomery,” he wrote from a perspective clearly very different from his own — an old man and a middle-aged woman — but he kept the first-person point of view. He wrote those songs and the rest of his incredible debut album while a young man working as a letter carrier in Chicago. “Angel From Montgomery” opens with the line “I am an old woman/named after my mother.”

I remember hearing his 1971 recording of this song for the first time and thinking, “No, you’re not.” Then a light bulb went off, and I realized that songwriting allows you to be anybody you want to be, so long as you get the details right. John always got the details right. If the artist’s job is to hold a mirror up to society, John had the cleanest mirror of anyone I have ever known. Sometimes it seemed like he had a window, and he would climb right through.

After John faced a second bout with cancer in 2013, it seemed as though he was playing in extra innings — but he made the most of every bit of it. When Amanda — a fiddler and one of John’s favorite people — and I went into the studio to play and sing on his final album, 2018’s “The Tree of Forgiveness,” we were amazed by the beauty of the songs he’d written after more than 50 years of writing music. John was still razor sharp and he still had a story to tell. On the subsequent tour he played to the biggest audiences he’d ever drawn. He turned 72 that year.

But John’s work wasn’t just about his own music. In 1984, he and his longtime manager Al Bunetta and Dan Einstein started the independent record label Oh Boy Records. In the mid-’80s the major labels seemed like the only game in town, but Oh Boy succeeded against the odds. It released John’s albums along with records by Kris Kristofferson, Dan Reeder and Todd Snider, and it’s still finding new talent and operating with its artists’ best interests in mind.

He was a mentor to me and to my wife, who even helped him work on his songs sometimes, in between playing pranks on him while they were on tour. John saw her as a brilliant songwriter in her own right, and if John said you were a great songwriter, you knew it was true.

And there was more to John’s life than music. John and Fiona Prine had a beautiful relationship, loving and balanced and kind. Fiona understood John better than anyone else. After Amanda and I were married, Amanda started asking all the couples we knew, “What’s the secret to staying together?” John and Fiona gave the same answer, and it was the best one we’ve heard so far: Stay vulnerable. John remained vulnerable in love and in his work. He never played it safe.

When I was a baby, my 17-year-old mother would lay me on a quilt on the floor of our trailer in Alabama and play John Prine albums on the stereo. Forty years later, my daughter would call him Uncle John as he bounced her on his knee. My wife and I would sing his songs with him in old theaters or sometimes in his living room. In the summer, we’d all eat hot dogs with our feet dangling in his swimming pool. Now he’s gone and my heart is broken.

This week, John Prine danced off this stage and onto the next one, and I like to think he’s somewhere sharing a song and a cocktail with all the friends he outlived.

Jailhouse

portugal music

I took Carol dancing for the 2nd night in a row. Back to the Jailhouse, a pub owned and operated by a couple of Brits. Mark is also the entertainment rattling off songs from the 1950s though 1990s. On the nights that we have been there about 50% of the audience were Canadians, the rest Brits. Mark is a good guitar player, has a great voice and he engages the people really well. Ali runs the bar, usually by herself, and keeps track of everbody's tab.

Mark and Ali are a lot of fun and make the evening pass very quickly.

Street Mark Ali

A small portion of the lyrics from Fred Eaglesmith's song White Rose. Fred is from Port Dover Ontario. He does a great family picnic.

it was all we knew
it was all we had
it was all we wanted
it was good enough

It has been raining all day. We have an umbrella but the streets are so narrow that any car or truck passing by can soak you to the knees (pants hanging near the register at this time). I have rented a car starting Monday so tht I can compete on a level footing with the other drivers. It reminds me of 'Rainy Night In Georgia - by Brook Benton'.

Have a listen:

Take out tonight: Chicken Korma, Steamed Rice, Potato Samosa, Garlic Naan, Peroni.

NASHVILLE — The first time I heard Mary Gauthier sing, it was 2005 and a song called “Mercy Now” was playing on the car radio. My father had been dead two years by then, but my eyes filled instantly with tears at the first line — “My father could use a little mercy now” — and I had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see to drive. “I love my father; he could use some mercy now,” sang Mary Gauthier as I sat behind the wheel of my still-running car and wept.

The first time I heard Mary Gauthier talk, it was 2016 and she was asking a question at the Southern Festival of Books. The fiction writer Odie Lindsey was reading from “We Come to Our Senses,” a story collection about American veterans after the first gulf war. When he stopped to take comments from the audience, a woman on the front row asked one of the most insightful questions I’d ever heard at an author event. Later, walking down the wide marble stairs of the Nashville Public Library, I caught up with her and introduced myself.

“I’m Mary Gauthier,” she said, holding out her hand.

“Oh, my God,” I said. “I love you!”

“I love you, too,” she said.

Apparently, when a complete stranger says, “I love you,” to Mary Gauthier, she says “I love you” right back.

This impulse to empathy courses through her new CD, “Rifles & Rosary Beads.” Written with American veterans and military family members, these songs are the result of an innovative nonprofit called SongwritingWith:Soldiers, which pairs master songwriters — people like Beth Nielsen Chapman, Jay Clementi, Marshall Crenshaw and Gary Nicholson — with servicemen and women who have returned from war physically, emotionally or spiritually wounded.

“There’s no diagnoses or assessments,” said Ms. Gauthier, a Louisiana native whose name is pronounced “go-SHAY.” Instead, it’s the opportunity to turn trauma into art. By the end of each weekend-long retreat, each veteran’s experience has been transformed into a song.

In some ways Ms. Gauthier is ideally suited for this work. An alcoholic in recovery for 27 years, she understands confusion and shame, powerlessness and anger. “I’ve always been drawn to the hard story, the trauma, because I think art can turn it around,” she said in an interview. “In a lot of ways, songwriting helped save my life. Recovery stabilized me; songwriting gave me a purpose.”

In other ways, writing with military veterans might not seem like a natural fit for Ms. Gauthier, a lesbian and an outspoken liberal who received death threats because of the antiwar sentiment in “Mercy Now.” When the song was released, Ms. Gauthier had to call the F.B.I. because trolls were sending her pictures of beheadings with captions that read, “Tick-tock, tick-tock.”

When the SongwritingWith:Soldiers founder Darden Smith invited her to be part of a veterans’ retreat, she hesitated. “I had a head full of stereotypes of what I thought a soldier was,” she said.

What she learned is that the military is a microcosm of American culture. “It’s a lot of women, people of color, gay men and lesbians, Hispanic, all faiths,” she said. “It isn’t the straight, white-guy conservative who likes guns.” On songwriting weekends, politics is nowhere to be found.

Each veteran or family member is paired with a songwriter, a process that begins with the participants’ own stories. Some of the veterans take longer than others to arrive at a place of candor, but eventually the songwriter’s basic questions (“When and where did you serve?” “What branch were you in?” “What did you see when you got there?”) give way to harder questions (“Is there something you feel deep inside you need to say?”), and the shape of a song begins to emerge.

Once Ms. Gauthier picks up the guitar and begins fiddling with a melody, that’s when the floodgates open. “Melody’s like tweezers that go into the infection and pull out the wounded part,” she said. “You can almost not stay silent in the face of a melody that matches your emotion. You feel seen. There’s a myth that soldiers don’t talk. Well, this generation will.”

My father-in-law, who served in Korea, often points out that the generation after his was the first not to face the draft, and I wonder if this is the difference Ms. Gauthier means, but she shakes her head. “There’s before Oprah and after Oprah,” she said. The willingness to voice vulnerability is just part of the American psyche now.

The songs in “Rifles & Rosary Beads”— chosen from among the roughly 40 Ms. Gauthier has written with veterans during the last five years — reflect the full gamut of the military experience: fighting, injury, death, camaraderie, sexual assault, fear and moral trauma, which happens when service members can’t reconcile what they’ve done with the people they believe themselves to be. Many of the songs wrestle with the unexpected challenges of homecoming.

“Soldiering On,” written with a Marine veteran named Jennifer Marino, points out how the attitude that can save your life in wartime (“Suck it up, shut it down / It don’t matter how you feel”) is the same attitude that will eat you alive when the war is over: “But what saves you in the battle / Can kill you at home / A soldier, soldiering on.”

A song written with Beth Nielsen Chapman and the wives of six service members, “The War After the War,” acknowledges the sacrifice of military spouses. “Who’s gonna care for the ones who care for the ones who went to war?” the song asks in its very first line.

In a documentary directed by Joshua Britt and Neilson Hubbard about the making of “Rifles & Rosary Beads,” an Army veteran, Josh Geartz, says he was suicidal after he returned from Iraq with serious wounds from a bomb blast, but that his experience with Ms. Gauthier gave him hope. “The session that I had, where I was able to tell Mary, who I wrote with, things that no one on this planet knows — that’s kind of where that flicker of hope started,” he said. “Right there, that moment.”

Ms. Gauthier does not use the term “healing” in connection with these retreats. “Heal is so woo-woo,” she said, and probably unrealistic in the context of war. Songs, even powerful songs written with veterans, will not eliminate the tragedy of veteran suicide, and Ms. Gauthier knows that. “The hope is that this is a rung” on the ladder out of a dark hole, she said. Just the first rung. “But a rung is a big damn deal if you haven’t been able to find one.”

Most of the service members who co-wrote the songs on “Rifles & Rosary Beads” are not musicians, but Mr. Geartz, who co-wrote “Still on the Ride,” is a skilled harmonica player. At a CD-release performance at the Franklin Theater on Feb. 23, Mr. Geartz rolled onto the stage in his wheelchair and performed with Ms. Gauthier on his own song, as well as on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” the final song of the set.

When I left the theater that night, several dozen people were already lined up at the autograph table. I had a feeling a lot of them were just waiting to tell Mary Gauthier they love her.

I have watched this video a couple of times lately (and lots of other videos from Maggie) and enjoyed it both times. She is very talented. This is the moment when she meets a famous music producer, Pharrell Williams, in a university class and plays a song that she had written 8 days earlier. You are able to watch him discover her talent and her reaction when she thinks that he is telling her that it is not very good.

Another interesting video is Maggie on the Tom Power radio show (CBC mornings - the best interviewer ever):