“I believe there is scarcely a corner of myself that is safe from me”
(something Henrik Ibsen almost said)
If you know me, you probably then know just about how not interested in the feat of contest I can be. “Contests, a little nosegay of common flowers!” (to further misquote Ibsen).
So on a note of hill-torn paradox, I’ve entered of late the NPR Tiny Desk Concert’s battle to honor the terminally unsigned. You will see, as evidenced by the video included below, that i’m not trying all that hard to emerge the victor. I’m doing what I alway defer to, and that is in the act of statement. One of the rules of the contest was that the filming contain a desk, thus I raided my daughter’s doll house one last time. ‘Doll House’ will be the last Ibsen reference, i promise.
Let it be know that I’m not making fun of the music series on NPR, quite to the contrary, i think it stands as one of the best bare bones music shows going. It gives you some great examples of how an artist can be set astray by the vaudvillian layers called production. I’ve seen some acts on there that I then ran out to investigate in exuberance, only to find out that they were really thier most powerful and honest sardined around just one weisel-shaped microphone.
My wife thought that I could have done a much better performance of my song. I said yeah maybe, but then i might win. As you know, musicians are nothing if not notorious for being non-present parents, evidenced so much so that the contest lures one on with carrot-dangling promise of airfare, whisking one in to do one career bursting concert on their inter-nut show, dragging you around on tour, and then never once in the ant-like fine print do they ever talk about maybe paying up front for the babysitter while you are out doing all of this. Proving perhaps, once and for all, that being a musician is perhaps not the best job for a person with a life.
(photo by: Pat Cloud AKA El Cloudious)
On the other hand nobody would have ever heard my music if it weren’t for those that were willing to sacrifice themselves to a dog-eared reality-lanced muse. Alison Krauss, Stuart Duncan, Ben Harper, Michael Hedges, Chris Darrow, and John Doe are all such brave souls that have over the years more than proven their gift as a calling. Now we’re all the richer for their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of the circumference around them, and then the sound of my songs ever reaching millions of people, there being only a fraction of the residue. Even though writing is only a fabricated stage, it’s still hard to realize that I fit into this quotient anywhere. I work, as everyone does, within my own personal handicap. What stifles most budding artists, to my witness, is that they never realize that their handicaps are the sculptor’s clay, and that such an unknowing stops all thought-process.
“What is your idea of fame?” Mine maybe wrongly, or maybe rather rightly, was in elevating myself up to the point where people would take me seriously enough, realize that it wasn’t just a fluke, and then leave me in peace to do what is my given strong suit. For me that would be a life in the thin ribbed creation of written wordage. Word imagery flung haphazzard into another dimension’s flight. Or simply put, song scribe. All this, sandwiched somewhere in huddle between the casketmaker and the florist are the characters in my songs nervously readying themselves.
Business is a buzzard’s art form that I wish I could understand, but my little brain just doesn’t really read that. No apologies, no regrets. Even as a child I always had friends that were bigger and that could protect me. It’s no different today. Alison Krauss looks beautiful and frail and she sings like a cherub balancing on a point of light. But she has to be more of a chiffon Goliath to survive her many earthly endeavors. Most importantly, and poignant, is in that that side of herself she keeps transparent. I can’t even begin to comprehend her depths of multiplicity. Depths that ring bell-honest on all fronts. She is just a phenomenon that colorizes our horizons once thought to be stale grey. At present she stands as the well worthy heir-apparent to the ruby red lips of Patsy Cline, and the pokeweed gingham voice of Kitty Wells. Listen even closer and you can almost hear Billie Holiday smoking a cigarette in the dimly lit backroom of Krauss’ voice.
Enough yin and yang. Now back to the Tiny Desk song that I chose to video. In this case it was one I authored upon the estimated arrival of our daughter in 2009, and it’s called I’m Going to Love You in Advance. I for the most part almost never write about a given individual, usually doing what i say as to “let the pen scrawl the song while I keep view from my haunt in the wind combed bushes”. It disallows me, the truth be told, to write many hits, but it almost always guarantees an honest song. That said, still when i look at it I can’t help but see our daughter in vision yet unseen.
So i hope you find the video amusing and in keeping with my habitual demographic punching bag. Above all else, it’s never to late to honor a moth eaten cowboy hat. Plus as you can see, the horse is, as usual, the star. And that might be the Zen lesson for the day. Whenever you don’t understand something, look somewhere deeper within it for the power. It’s always there and not even hidden, in from out of the dark, like a villain moon spiraling around a candy heaven.
I’m Gonna Love You In Advance
it’s a see-saw situation / sometimes up sometimes down
to burn upon consideration / steal a kiss from upon a frown
what are you gonna hold that’s hopeful / what are you gonna wager in the dawn
as the sun sets out on the gravel / and hold guard upon our lawn
I’m gonna love you in advance xxx
some feelings never come round / to anticipate is often to late
you can’t smoke in the house, you can’t drink in the car / and most action is to hesitate
You’re mighty popular it might seem / if you count all your friends in heaven and on earth
times running thin no time to dance / so I’m gonna love you in advance xxx
I’m gonna love you before you know it / and when you do it will be too late
you can’t shoot me down nor break the trance / because I’ve already loved you in advance
written by: Patrick Brayer