Not much more to say. Two great musicians - one gone.

Gord Lightfoot with Steve Earle

Tori Amos


I have always been a big fan. Carol and I saw her at Massey Hall on October 29, 1994. I have now spent a week getting to know her music better. In my mind, she is a brilliant vocalist, pianist, and composer. Her live performances hit all three of these sweet spots dead on. You might have to listen more than once to pick up all the subtleties, but it is worth it.

This clip is from her concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival on July 7, 1992.

Update: I have just purchased the live recordings for both the 1991 and 1992 concerts at Montreux. Sounds great in the car - an accident waiting to happen.

Hania Rani


I am not certain what kind of music this is - "experimental" perhaps. Hania has composed quite a bit of music for the movie industry. I kinda like this music.

I posted a video of Alexandra Streliski a few months ago. At the time I said that she is the reason think that Christofori invented the piano. This is her performing some original work. Alexandra has been called a "neoclassical" musician. She prefers to be called "neoromantic". Regardless, my opinion remains the same.

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 very good singer. It popped into my stream again over this 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


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


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.


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