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Saturday, January 29, 2011
it looks like the opposite of a Coen brothers movie out there
Listening to:Free Mexican Airforce, Peter Rowan (ty Willie!)
Weather:19, not currently snowing!
Mornings and evenings are so beautiful around here with all this snow everywhere. This last snowstorm was very wet, heavy, and windless. Every lil branch of every tree and even the wires of my electric fence have a perfect straight stack of white snow on top. And in those low-light times of the day everything takes on a magnificent blue tint. You know how the Coen brothers movies all tend to have lots of warm sepia tones and brown and tan colorscapes (think Oh Brother Where Are Thou, Barton Fink, Hudsucker Proxy, No Country for Old Men, etc.)? Well morning and evening chez Cat this winter are like the negatives of those movies: cold and shades of blue. It's just luscious, really, especially from inside a warm house looking out a window at my meadow.

To add to the whole blue theme I actually saw those 3 eastern bluebirds again YESTERDAY out my other window, the one that overlooks my neighbor's wide yard. There at the barbed wire fenceline I saw little birds fluttering about. I stayed to watch a few moments and sure enough, as one flew up to a branch I could see a light belly with some red on it. Then since it was no longer in silhouette I could see - blue wings and back! I kept watching and saw that all 3 birds were eastern bluebirds, and presumably the same 3 I've been occasionally seeing on the wire out front and down in the puddle at the bottom of my driveway (ie. Lake McConnerd, I'll explain sometime later).

Rock and freakin roll. My power went out for a couple hours yesterday afternoon, I was expecting it and not at all worried. I have plenty of kerosene, a landline with a wired phone that actually works with no power, a variety of battery-powered lights by the bed (small LED flashlight, clip-on booklight, small electric lantern, and penlight), a fully-charged Kindle, battery-powered good little speakers and PDA loaded with Steely Dan and CSNY and whatnot. Life good. No internet, but I can only use a forced break from that shit (this shit). So I went out and did some snowshoveling, came in and straightened up my room, got a call from a friend and chatted for a bit, then my lights came on. Sweet. Nice little break. A country girl can survive.

I've had the pleasant and coincidental surprise this week of contact from 2 songwriters I knew over 20 years ago in my brief stint at Indiana University in Bloomington IN. Actually, one was contact from beyond the grave, and the other the modern usual email message.

Contact #1: Out of the blue this dude whom I don't know (or maybe I do, seems like we were in the same places with the same people at the same time, but don't remember each other) calls me at work. He was googling an old friend of his who died several years ago and found a post on my blog about the guy. He was a friend of mine, too, and when I googled around for him a few years back I discovered he was dead (just a year after his twin died, BTW). So I wrote a post about him and my brief but interesting Bloomington period. So this cat stumbles across the post, finds a number for me, and calls me to say hi and to offer to send me a CD of Curt's music that he put together for Curt's memorial back in the day. How frickin awesome is that? So I had the great pleasure of spinning the CD this morning, and hearing Curt's voice and guitarplaying again after so many years was an absolutely delightful experience. This guy was very special, and the first track on this CD just sparkles with his essence. Lucky smiling cat today.

Contact numero dos: Another songwriter I met in Bloomington emailed me. From the land of the living, upstate New York, to be more specific. He and I were both working on graduate degrees in music theory at IU when I was there. He was a rather nerdly academic, and his instrument was piano. But I've always had a soft spot for the dorks of the world and he and I shared a common love of cleanly-produced sophisticated proggy vocal pop, ie. Supertramp, Ambrosia. Like most dorks, he was really a cool and interesting fellow. Anyhoo, we touched base some years ago by email and he said he had written some pop songs and was working on getting his shit together to go in the studio and record them. Sweet, I look forward to hearing them (though many many of my songwriting friends have said that over the years and never quite gotten around to have their shit all the way together for that adventure). But last week I get another email from the guy, the studio work is done, do you want me to send you a CD? Or mp3's? Oh hell yes, send mp3's, though I suspect this guy's production values will lead me to want to hear the sparkly uncompressed real thing. But go ahead, blast the mp3's, it'll be faster and cheaper, here we go.

So when my power was out yesterday the first 2 songs I played through my dynamite little battery-powered speakers (I get no kickback, just wanted to share a good thing, call me Martha Fuckin Stewart) were the two mp3's he emailed me. Oh. Holy. Shit. This stuff is seriously good. And I believe I had both the legit cred and the street cred to be taken seriously on this. The songs are rich, great interesting changes, yet very familiar and accessible. The production and arrangements are clean, layered but not cluttered, dynamic. The melodies are sweet but not cloying. It's the shit, for real. Can't wait to hear more from this guy. If he'll let me I'll post some here for your listening pleasure, and you can tell me if I'm wrong, yo.

Tonight the heathens are having a Thomas Paine birthday chili dinner and discussion. Sounds intriguing. I am very interested but rarely willing to commit to anything involving driving more than a few hours in advance this time of year. But I know embarrassingly little about Thomas Paine, I like chili, and I loves me some heathens, so here's hoping the snow holds off for the rest of the day so I can get my Paine on.

permalink posted by cat 8:54 AM

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The Free Mexican Air Force is Flying Tonight! May we never lose our wings!!!
Indeed, amigo, indeed.
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it looks like the opposite of a Coen brothers movie out there