Sunday, December 5, 2010

Joan, Hank and Walt

I've written before of the power of music to transform.

It can change your environment, transport you back in time or send your imagination soaring.

This morning, it's cold and drippy outside. We're staying "home" today (in the rig as opposed to the house), and listening to music and reading (on my Kindle of course).

And listening to Joan Baez.

Has there ever been another voice like hers? Clean as ice and clear as a mountain stream, she always affects me.

What really gets me is that her music choices are so intrinsically tied into my life.

She makes me feel idealistic, young and hopeful. I've just gotten Very Early Joan, which I can highly recommend, a wonderful compilation. Her voice is still young and true, she never hits a wrong note.

It makes me hopeful, and I can use all the hopeful I can get these days.

While I'm talking music, I just have to bring up Hank Williams again. I know I've written about Hank before (more than once), but the older I get, the more I appreciate him. I hear everyone talk about the tin pan alley greats (the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin, and of course my special favorite Cole Porter), but most critics seem to relegate Hank to the country music category.

Hogwash I say. Has there been any songwriter who has touched so deeply on the human condition?

I don't think so.

Last night, we watched an expanded American Master's episode on Hank called Hank Williams-Honky Tonk Blues. These PBS segments are always well produced and informative and this was no exception. After watching it, once again, I caught myself looking up information about Hank on the internet.

I've read a lot about him over the years, but I found something I had never heard.

A bit of history here. As many people know, Hank was kicked out of the Grand Ole Opry in 1952, due to his alcoholism. When you hear the whole story of Hank Williams, this is just a footnote, but obviously one that needed to be rectified.

After all, has any other songwriter contributed so much to country music, before or since? Obviously not. So once again the internet stepped in with online petitions that urged the Opry to finally re-instate him.

As of October 31, 2010, the Opry finally relented (and none too soon I might add).

Upon his reinstatement, a representative of the Grand Ole Opry released the following statement.

"Hank Williams was the reason the Grand Ole Opry exists. Without him, this organization operates on false pretenses, and we are ashamed to have managed this American Institution without giving Hank his due. I speak on behalf on all of us at the Opry when I say: 'We've made a monumental mistake, and we are sorry to the entire Williams Family'""

Pretty cool, huh?

Now on to something else. Today is the 109th anniversary of the birth of Walt Disney. There isn't much I can add to all that has been written about him, except that he has been responsible for some of the fondest memories of my life.

For that I will always be grateful.

Thank You, Walt Disney.

In honor of Walt
and all these other fine artists,
I thought I'd do just a bit
of my kind of art.

Today is dark
and gray and gloomy
This is what I see out my window.

I play with it a bit
to make it more to my liking.

Then soften it a bit
to make me think
of how inviting it could be.
I would rather look at this view
than the real one.

One more,
completely unreal,
but beautiful in my eye.

As you can see,
this was no day to go out shooting,
so this is the best I could do.

Maybe tomorrow will be better
(I'm always hopeful).

1 comment:

Traveler said...

Russ and I went visiting kids and grandkids this weekend and I am just catching up on your blog. Glad to read you are having a positive experience with your Kindle, but bummed that I missed your first contest!! I think I will look into one of those lights. Love the creative photography you posted today. Inspiring as always. I really need to discipline myself to learn more about PhotoShop.