Day #302: Protest Songs

I am grateful for the people who write and perform protest songs. I think there’s tremendous power in songs that express the need for change and the people’s feelings about the injustices of the world. Music reaches into our very being and becomes a part of our beating hearts. It becomes etched on our memories. We need more protest songs, don’t you agree? Here’s one that hasn’t gone away … and it was protesting a fare increase on the Boston subway in 1949!

Day #301: Happenstance

I am grateful for happenstance. Don’t you find it amazing that a bunch of things find a confluence and magically appear in your life? Today, a dear friend sent me a link to prolong the pleasure of our recent drive through northern Wisconsin. Little did she know that it showcases the talents of a photographer I admire, the river I love the most, and the guitarist who I think is awesome because he is so versatile and carries all of this MUSIC in his being! Gary Noren, the St. Croix River, and Dean Magraw. Thank you to Nancy and Agate for this beauty in my day. (You must visit Agate Magazine to view this video. Because of privacy settings, clicking on the image below won’t work.)

Day #183: Jean Redpath

This morning I am listening to Jean Redpath sing and, as she always does, my heart is lifted. For many decades she was THE Scottish folksinger, troubadour, musicologist. She worked with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bob Dylan, Garrison Keillor, and Robert Burns. She researched and recorded songs, preserving them for the future. I came to know her music through A Prairie Home Companion, but she has been singing at our house ever since. I am grateful for her voice, her wit, and her knowledge. She was an Extraordinary Woman.

Jean Redpath

Day #177: Crooners Supper Club

Last night, a dear friend treated us to dinner and live music at Crooners Supper Club. We were fortunate to hear Prudence Johnson and Dean Magraw spotlight the music of Stevie Wonder, Mose Allison, and Buffy Saint-Marie. Eclectic, right? Prudence and Dean were both so articulate with their arrangements and interpretations of songs—I found myself holding my breath in order to hear every note.

I am grateful to Mary Tjosvold for creating this incredible, friendly, warm space for musicians and those who listen to and love music. The food is great, the wait staff is top-notch, the three listening rooms are comfortable and cozy, and Mary T is usually there to welcome guests.

And, not least, I am grateful to our friend for understanding how much this evening of music and conversation (before and after, not during) would mean to us. It’s already a treasured memory.

Day #95: Joan Baez

This woman has been a lighthouse for me, casting her beacon on the craggy rocks of our challenging world by speaking to truth, social action, and persistence. Her music, particularly the albums “The Joan Baez Ballad Book” and “Blessed Are,” are well loved and known by heart in this house. Heart. She has given hers to all of us for many decades. “Music can move people to do things.” I am grateful to Joan Baez for her many gifts. Read “Joan Baez: Music Can Move People to Do Things,” in The Guardian.


Joan Baez. Photograph: Ryan Shorosky/New York Times

Day #94: Rio Nido

Good friends treated us to a night with Rio Nido at Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club. It’s my favorite music venue, cozy and intimate. The songs were innovative, funny, romantic, smooth, heart-tingling, with exceptional guitars and ukelele played by the trio of musicians who are back together again after their heyday in the ’70s. A perfect winter night, warmth supplied by music and friendship. Watch for their upcoming gigs.

Rio Nido

Day #64: R. Carlos Nakai

I am grateful for R. Carlos Nakai. His music soothes me, engenders awe and contemplation, keeps me grounded, and inspires me. He has kept me going through some of the toughest times. If you do not yet know his music, I recommend you begin with Canyon Trilogy. We have been listening to Changes for 35 years. He is a master of the Native American flute and I appreciate his collaboration with world musicians. Here’s his website  and a sample of Canyon Trilogy.

R. Carlos Nakai

Day #24: The Flower Duet

This duet, “Sous le Dome Épais,” known as “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakmé, brings tears to my eyes. The music is exquisite. Written by Léo Delibes, and performed here by Anna Netrebko (soprano) and Elina Garanca (mezzo soprano), I am grateful for the talents of the composer, the orchestra, and the sopranos for inspiring me to believe everything is possible.