Strange Conversation

My friend Chris and I have an ongoing conversation about music – we introduce one another to new music and discuss the merits of various artists and albums.  We trade off buying concert tickets for mutually beloved artists as well as introductions to new ones.  John and I brought him to see Jonatha Brooke, he roped us in to see Chris Smither (as someone who owns several versions of “Love me Like a Man,” I was ashamed to admit I knew little of the artist who wrote it).  I have pretty eclectic tastes and a fairly wide music collection by most people’s standards, but Chris blows me out of the water, owning thousands of CDs.  It’s always a coup for me when I can introduce him to someone new.

So it was a bit trippy this morning to come in to work and find Kris Delmhorst’s “Strange Conversation” sitting on my desk.  I sent Chris an e-mail:

Are you lending or returning this to me?  I can’t remember talking about this to you or lending it to you, but I also can’t remember if I own this on CD or just have a downloaded copy from iTunes…

He was crushed to find out I already knew about her.  On the other hand, I thought it was pretty cool to finally have a somewhat obscure artist both of us had heard of.

Ehrm… Stuff.

Hi. I’m back. I was away for about a week (last post was dateline: San Francisco, even though I didn’t mention that).

In my travels, I seem to have picked up a very small gremlin who is industriously smashing my sinuses with a brick.  Also, I got home last night – no, this morning – at about 1:30.  So, that’s fun.  I am home today, feeling achy and low.

Possibly because I am achy and low, I am loving this, in that “Oh, how can I be cynical while there is still hope in the world like this?” sort of way. (Joss himself loves it too, so I am trusting that my sinus-bashing gremlin hasn’t taken a couple of whacks at whatever passes for the taste center in my brain as well).


Recently, I introduced Brenda Dayne to the musical stylings of my cousin Britt Sawdon.  As I suspected would happen, Brenda found Britt’s work to be her kind of thing and Britt’s permission was secured to play a couple of her songs on Cast-On.

I had been mulling over a third submission to the podcast, but hadn’t quite figured out what I wanted to do yet.  The temptation to do something to go with Britt’s song was too great, though, and the Muse handed me an idea that I admit is very Yarn Harlot-influenced.  Except maybe it’s sillier.  I certainly felt silly recording it, but hopefully it will amuse.

The cousinly production is up over at Episode 58: “Knitting Time.”

The Consolations that the Green Monster Brings

James Taylor singing the National Anthem at Fenway.  Ah, the World Series in Boston.

30-minute running playlist

I need to get beyond week 5/6 of the couch to 5k plan, but I’m so proud of myself for running 20 minutes nonstop, I am in a bit of a rut.  Having reached the five minute walk warmup, 20 minute run, five minute walk cooldown stage, which honestly doesn’t need much in the way of podcast monitoring (though having someone automatically tell you when to walk/run when there are multiple intervals is a godsend), I did up my own playlist for a 20-minute run with 5 minute walks at either end.  I’ve run to it now for about three weeks, and it’s so daffy I thought I would share.

“I Wish” – Victoria Beckham, Soundtrack – Bend It Like Beckham:  Surprise – an ex-Spice Girl in vertiginous stilettos gets us walking.  I really love the soundtrack to Bend It – it’s all ear candy.  This track’s synthesized ra-tat-tat gets me walking.

“Independence Day” – Melanie C, Soundtrack – Bend It Like Beckham:  “There’s a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one who doesn’t have a fella.”  Maybe, but this is a sweet, soaring tune that gets me past that first, “Groan – time to stop walking,” mode.

“Inner Smile” – Texas, Soundtrack – Bend It Like Beckham: Um, yeah.  I promise, this is the last song off of that disc.

“There’s a Girl” – The Ditty Bops, The Ditty Bops: It’s got a good beat, and you can run to it.  Not to mention sly lyrics that still make me chuckle and a great surf-guitar solo.

“Amigone” – The Goo Goo Dolls, Dizzy Up the Girl: This is where the run gets hard – a long, shallow grade upward (that killer kind: the one you don’t notice at all if you’re walking, but try and jog it and feel the pain).  The drumming on this track is all punk, relentless as a metronome, and it drags me up that hill.

“Sin Wagon” – Dixie Chicks, Fly: Natalie Maines’ yodeling wail, the sharp fiddling of Martie Seidel, and the rat-tat of the rhythm section gives me a second wind as I get the reward of going back down the hill I just came up.  (My route takes me down trails behind our house, and I do a lot of backtracking to avoid roads, since I usually have the dog with me.  If I were to trace the route on a map, it would look like spiky branches or a deer’s antlers).

Yes, we just went from folk-pop to punk to country.  Told you it was daffy.

“Mr. Blue Sky” – Electric Light Orchestra, Greatest Hits: Don’t tell me you don’t have a secret crush on this song, I won’t believe you.  Yes, ELO is cheesy.  Yes, lyrics like “running down the avenue/see how the sun shines brightly” is a cheesy way to finish out a run (especially since at around 7 a.m. when this song usually comes on is about the time when the sun is actually up this time of year), but it does make me smile, and more than that, its brightness, the fact that it’s the last running song, and the COWBELL get my feet moving even faster.  Right around the time when “Mr. Night comes creeping over” is when the cooldown begins, and off we go to the Bops again…

“Bye Bye Love” – The Ditty Bops, Moon Over the Freeway: …and Amanda and Abby’s sweet harmonies on this tune walk us home for the first cup of coffee.  30 minutes, almost exactly.  And today, it was 2.58 miles, and I beat my personal best time for the mile.  Go, me.

Get. Out.

John and I don’t get out terribly often. We’re homebodies by nature, with many domestic pursuits and interests. As a result, we end up not taking as much advantage of the many things the DC area has to offer as we think we “should.” (The shoulds and oughts of this type of thinking are particularly vexing, but that’s possibly the subject for a whole other post).

Occasionally, a better-organized friend or two will end up inviting us along on one of their outings. This is most helpful, as it both bumps us out of our slothful rut and gives us the warm glow associated with people thinking we’re not really that boring.

So it was with great pleasure that we accepted an invitation to go to Wolftrap to see Shawn Colvin and John Hiatt yesterday evening. It was a warm, muggy summer night, with the occasional puff of a cool breeze for relief. Both artists took the stage alone, with only a guitar or piano accompaniment. Both exhibited the kind of easy, folksy, humorous virtuosity they are known for.

Shawn Colvin was the opening act, and I especially enjoyed her set. I have been a fan of hers since the chorus of “Steady On” nipped my ears with its coyote-wail chorus. Her music galvanized my cathartic anger in reckless youth, it warmed me by Christmas firesides, it fizzed with windows-open, car-stereo-at-11 brio, it reassured me that there was a woman who could create beauty by facing fear and pain, tumbling and falling down the avalanche.  Listening to her sing last night was the soundtrack to my 20’s and 30’s, leaving the bad behind, embracing the good, and pulling this great music along with me as I make my way towards 40.

I had never seen John Hiatt live before, and was delighted to see that the impression I have always had of a bemused, intelligent, humorous son of the prairie was dead on. Yet behind that “aw shucks” manner is a guitar player of astonishing skill. He’s got a new album coming out in March, and from what we heard of it, we’re going to be getting it.

Of course, since life events are irregularly spaced and lumpy, I am now in New York for my annual weekend to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Fearing the afternoon storms that plague the DC/NY routes in summer, I flew up early and am now waiting for her to arrive. Suddenly, the homebody is out with a vengeance.