“I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying, but that’s not the way you get people to work together.”

Sheryl Crow at Isle of Wight Festival 2018I had a productive weekend.  After watching Sheryl Crow perform live on DVD and YouTube, I’m even more of a fan, if that’s possible.  It got me thinking about things like how I behave at a live performance.  I watched her audience at the Isle of Wight and noticed people were dancing, singing along, and nearly everyone had their cell phone out to record.

Despite being annoyed by how often they kept showing the audience, I paid attention.  When I watch someone perform, I stare with very little blinking.  I probably look like a doof, and it’s possible my mouth opens of its own accord.  I probably don’t move or dance.  I don’t bring my cell phone because I would lose it, and it would distract me.

I cover my ears when people applaud, whistle, and cheer because it hurts my ears.  I do suspect I at least look happy, but I’m not sure.  I have a hard time remembering to worry about to how I appear to other people, and rarely think about it.  Especially when I’m not the one performing.  These are the reasons I rarely go to concerts.  But some artists reach me so profoundly, I make an exception.  Sheryl Crow backstage at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

Sheryl Crow, Beyoncè, Stevie Nicks, and Fleetwood Mac are such artists.  I’d also love to see Amy Lee perform, but her fans scare me.  Her music has evolved though, so I’m hopeful for an opportunity in the future.  I can’t wait to see Fleetwood Mac soon.  I know I’ll be staring at Stevie Nicks and Christine McVeigh the whole time.  (I might watch Mick Fleetwood a bit, too.)

 

When I saw the Beyoncè show recently, I bawled a lot.  I couldn’t help it.  She’s amazing.  I was so happy I didn’t know what else to do.  It was my first concert in years, and I couldn’t even think about anything else for hours afterward.  It reconfirmed the fact you can’t die from being too happy.  It still blows my mind how people I’ve never met enrich my life so much.

As I watched Sheryl perform, I noticed several things.  She’s in excellent physical condition and can dance well.  She moved all over the stage while singing and playing guitar.  Her range is broader than her albums reveal.  Her music isn’t the simplistic three-chord progression of many other singers who stand behind a guitar on stage.  She has mad skills.

She engaged the audience by talking to them and encouraging them to sing along, all while singing, dancing, and playing the guitar well.  She didn’t get winded or pitchy from all the activity (like some singers I’ve watched.)  She sounded better than on her albums and didn’t perform them just as recorded.  Her professionalism and experience shined brightly.  I was so impressed.  Sheryl Crow at Isle of Wight Festival 2018

She’s older than me but has so much energy.  I could tell she was having fun, which made it fun to watch.  It was the first time I saw her band.  I don’t know if they’ve been with her since the beginning, or if they change up.  There were two guitar heroes, a keyboardist/backup singer, drummer, bassist, and slide guitar player, I think.  (It’s not an instrument with which I’m familiar.)

At one point, one of the guitar heroes was right behind her, and they were in perfect sync on fingering and strumming.  I love that they’re all skilled musicians playing complex music while having fun and making it look easy.  She seems pretty laid back, but clearly she has high standards.  Watching them made me want to practice a lot more.  I’ll never be Sheryl Crow, but I want to develop mad skills, too.  I’m off to beat my drums with sticks.

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“So, do you want us to leave the room?”

 

Money, it's the music.

I had a strange weekend.  I spent most of it doing chores and thinking.  At band practice, we talked about musicians who influence us.  I’ve spent lots of time studying Amy Lee and Stevie Nicks.  They both make me want to create music.  However, I tend to focus on what they teach me and how they nurture my soul, which apparently isn’t what they meant.  My fascination with these fabulous musicians doesn’t translate to what my band members consider my musical inspiration.

I wasn’t surprised.  I tend to notice things others don’t and miss things most others find significant.  I’m bewildered by how other fans often seek out information not given freely by the artist.  I find it disturbing when alleged fans disrespect clear boundaries with those they purport to love.  It’s too much like rape, (which is not a word I use lightly.)  If it’s something the artist wants me to know, they’ll put it in their lyrics or mention it in an interview.

After some clarification as to what we were seeking, I knew the artist who came to mind instantly was right.  Sheryl Crow.  She’s the one.  So I told them.  They all went silent for a moment, then agreed enthusiastically.  I was so relieved they didn’t say anything that would have raised my blood pressure.  I was dreading comments like, but she’s white, or,  you look nothing like her.  They didn’t say any shit like that.  Yay.

Sheryl Crow

Hopefully, my eyes didn’t tell them any misstep on their part could easily have led to my leaving in disgust.  I get agitated when people don’t acknowledge the superb skills of specific famous musicians.  I should probably work on it, but I won’t.  Sheryl Crow is incredible.  This is a fact.  I don’t want to be in the same room with anyone who lies about this fact.  (Mostly because I know it will end with me bawling and wanting to fight.)  Heh.

Granted, I probably don’t know much about her.  I know what she looks like.  I know she’s strong.  I know she’s from the south.  I know she’s friends with Stevie Nicks and can play bass, guitar, keyboards, (and likely whatever instrument interests her.)  She sings and writes beautifully.  Her catalog is astonishing.  Of course, I’ve never met her, but she seems kind, wise, and humble based on her lyrics.

I’ll admit I have a hip-hop mentality.  I enjoy it when a fantastic rapper spits about being great when it’s true.  It’s an acknowledgment of reality, therefore not bragging in the negative sense.  It amuses and delights me because it’s celebrating talent and hard work in a brutally honest fashion.  When someone who has gold-plated receipts all over the place is humble, it blows my mind.  It makes me wonder if they know what they’ve accomplished.  I guess I don’t understand humbleness in the face of greatness.  I’m not upset about it, though.  Heh.

Sheryl Crow

This week, we’re going to work on some covers of her music.  In the meantime, I’m having a blast listening to her while singing along, dancing, and running around, trying to contain my excitement and joy.  I’m also looking up the lyrics online and correcting my misheard words.  She enunciates well, so there aren’t a lot of surprises.  Whew.  I’m off to continue.  😁🙃

 

Eminem: Revival

I took my time before writing about Revival by Eminem.  I have to listen repeatedly without distraction before I can fully absorb a new album.  Songs are stories layered in code.  I’m better at taking in stories created by intuitive artists.  Intuitive artists seem to slide into my world more easily than technical.  It’s as if they glow.

Eminem is an intuitive and a perfectionist.  I find it fascinating, but I also empathize with him.  It’s probably exhausting.  I read an incredible review of Revival.  It’s incomplete, but I’m sure there was a word limit.  You can’t truthfully summarize Eminem in a single article.  He’s a whole person.  😂

I’ve enjoyed playing along with the album on my drums.  It’s challenging, but fun to play.  I can’t stop singing, River.  I think this is a pre-album.  It’s something for us to absorb while he grows into his next self.  It’s Marshall Mathers mid-transformation.  Unlike the reviewer, I’m excited, about future Eminem.

Amy Lee and Evanescence are there, too.  Synthesis is a hint of great things to come, as well.  While I agree with much of what the reviewer stated, I suspect he doesn’t realize it’s excellent news about Eminem’s future.  Slim Shady died.  Buh-bye.  Marshall Mathers began his career by spitting in The Muses eye.  She’s had him in a headlock ever since.

Apparently, it’s where he needed to exist to be Slim Shady.  It’s forced him to grow up.  Stevie Nicks gently coaxed me into growing up.  I like my journey better.  😂  Shady didn’t survive the transition, thank goodness.  Stagnation murders creativity.  Marshall knows his best is ahead of him.  He just needs to figure out how to be gentle and silent before The Muse.

Jay Z figured it out.  It’s beautiful.  His last album, 4:44, is a manual.  Stevie Nicks is a teacher.  Beyoncè and Sheryl Crow are as well.  I hope Marshall hears them and recognizes his inner Jedi.  I hope his story continues to evolve in the light.  Perhaps Yoda says it best;

Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter.