Saturday, October 22, 2011

Love and Other Songs

Hello from Duluth. When we left Yellowstone, the fall foliage was still lovely but in Minnesota it's well past peak. On the road, my former suitemate and I agreed to be roommates next summer which should work out despite having the same work schedule. We get along well and hike together sometimes, but mostly he's gone fishing whenever he's not working, so I'll have the room to myself a lot. Now I'll just have to get through the winter with a stranger.

After seven months in the mountains, things look odd in the midwest so far. I did get a peek at the Lake on the way into town and it looked lovely. I look forward to getting to know the waters again. I have a series of chores lined up for next few days--haircut, storage, appointments, new pants and belt to buy for the somewhat improved waist, and cdrs to make some discs for the woman who introduced me to some great New Orleans music in the past few weeks. After getting most of that done, I was looking forward to rewalking some old hikes but forgot it's bowhunting season in the city, so I'll probably just stick to the shore. I'd rather take my chances with Yellowstone's grizzlies than Duluth's hunters. I know bear spray doesn't work on an arrow.

After another great evening of conversation and laughter before leaving the park, it's possible that my old antlers which I mentioned last time may not be completely useless after all. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I'm heading for a quick broken heart this time around because of different goals, but good Christ, even listening to her describe her home makes me fall for her more. What's an old romantic to do but try to find a more casual middle path which works for both of us?

As for the similar musical taste which started creating the bond, the closest connection has formed over Anders Osborne’s American Patchwork, a cd I couldn’t even listen to the first night she loaned it to me because I had a touch of the blues and some of the powerful songs were hitting me too hard. The song Acapulco is one we each like—apparently it’s never too late to fantasize about starting over. She’ll be seeing him play in Bozeman in a couple weeks, and was a bit stunned when I didn’t seem interested in going until she realized I’d be 1000 miles away at the time. If I were going to spend that money and make the trip a couple more times, my main motivation would be seeing her, not him, and although I didn't tell her, I actually considered it. There's an invitation for her to show up in New Orleans as well.

And there’s Ingrid Lucia. I checked out some samples when my coworker first mentioned the name and wasn’t impressed with the fake retro Billie Holiday sound, but the cd Midnight Rendezvous she gave me has some incredibly sexy songs on it—the title track, The Kiss, and Help Yourself being the best of them.

The last of my three new favorites is Jon Cleary whose piano playing I’ll be able to see at a club a couple blocks from my hotel on one of my nights in New Orleans. He'll be playing solo instead of with the funky band I love on the live Mo Hippa. Along with the title track, Help Me Somebody and When U Get Back are my favorites there.

I'll also have two chances to see an old favorite, Walter Wolfman Washington, once with his own band at that same club, and once with different musicians at a legendary club on the other side of the city. I'm still waiting for the complete Po-Boy Festival music lineup to be announced, but there's already one band I'm looking forward to seeing there, and I'll also be spending an evening at Preservation Hall. It's already a full schedule, but always with time for improvisation.

And from one of those if you like, you might like websites, plugging in Anders' name led me to JJ Grey. I love most of his album Georgia Warhorse which you can listen to in its entirety here. It includes King Hummingbird which is seven minutes of pain about a bird he killed long ago, great love songs The Sweetest Thing and Beautiful World, sex song Slow Hot & Sweaty, and the most powerful Lullaby you'll ever hear.