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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are few songs that give me hope for our future the way this one does: “Common Denominator.” Written and performed by Tom Lieberman, Tommy & the Liebermen, this is an upbeat, meaningful song (and video) when you need help adding it all up. Have a listen.