Let’s Take A Moment Day 272

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

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(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today’s song has been called “the antidote to cheery holiday songs”, “thoroughly depressing” & “a sad Christmas song” by the writer herself, Joni Mitchell. I grew up with Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” so I thought I was already well versed in a not so happy holiday tune about heartbreak. Wrong. Presley’s is sad without question, but Mitchell’s original rendition is just desolating. The stark beauty of her voice & the piano accompaniment just squeezes my soul and wrings every emotion out of it. When Meg Ryan quoted from it in 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail” because her business was failing and she missed her late mother, just the mere mention of the lyrics made me weep.

The song is Mitchell’s second most recorded track (close to 500 covers, behind even more for “Both Sides Now”) and I have not heard most of them, but I am still pretty sure today’s version would be in the top five. The cello arrangement is absolutely stunning on its own, but combined with the singer’s pensive tone it turns the song from just sad to hauntingly beautiful.

I was introduced to it by one of my most active readers, Michael, and I will be forever grateful for his input. Today’s version is by Robert Downey Jr. who performed it as Larry Paul, the love interest of the title character in season 4 of “Ally McBeal”. I loved that show and Downey so much I still do not know how I missed his on-air performance of this song (season 4, episode 6, “‘Tis The Season”), but thanks to Michael it has a permanent spot on my playlist all year long. It is absolutely exquisite.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
“.

Ally-and-Larry

Robert Downey Jr. (L) & Calista Flockhart (R) in a scene from season four of “Ally McBeal”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Robert Downey Jr.: “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 22

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Holiday greetings to all of you on this first day of winter!

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

I have a weakness for string arrangements in any type of music.  It began the moment I heard the absolutely exquisite introduction to Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland”.  That union of a piano and violin is just so beautiful I never recovered from that first listen.  It inspired me to learn to play the viola in junior high.  I stayed with it all through high school, then in college I took cello lessons.  It became my first love to both play and listen to.  I firmly believe that whoever coined the phrase “hauntingly beautiful” did so after hearing an unbelievably powerful and heartbreakingly elegant string arrangement, perhaps like this one from my favorite movie soundtrack of all time by composer Rachel Portman.

Today’s pick was originally done with only a piano accompaniment to the singer’s voice which made for a really lovely piece of music.  The version of the song I am using today is also a  piano/vocal combination.  But with the addition of one of the most gorgeous string arrangements I have ever heard,  it goes from lovely to utterly sublime.

Ally mcbeal

Robert Downey Jr.:  “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell in 1971).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 18

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

I follow a lot of unbelievably talented & creative women on Instagram, and since their pictures are so beautiful, I wanted to share a few with you.

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Courtesy of Debra @vintagecrushin

Today’s picture comes from Debra @vintagecrushin who shares my affinity for white Ironstone among her many loves.  She creates such pretty vignettes in her home (like the one above) and is so creative she celebrated Thanksgiving in her garage which was decorated in classic vintage style (with an assist from her equally talented sister) complete with mismatched china, old silver and glass goblets.  All the pictures are up on her page for your enjoyment!!!  And my thanks to Debra for letting me share her beautiful picture!!!

Today’s song was a suggestion to me in 2016 by a reader (thank you, Michael!!!) and I have been addicted to it ever since.  It was written by Joni Mitchell in 1971 for her album “Blue” and quoted by Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly in “You’ve Got Mail” ( “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees. Do you know that Joni Mitchell song? ‘I wish I had a river I could skate away on?’ It’s such a sad song, and not really about Christmas at all, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my Christmas tree and unwrapping funky ornaments made of Popsicle sticks, and missing my mother so much I almost couldn’t breathe”).  I do love a good pop culture reference  🙂

This song has been covered by such diverse artists as Sarah McLachlan, Barry Manilow, James Taylor and Sam Smith.  But this version is my absolute favorite and something this good needs to be shared.  And it is from of one of my favorite shows ever, Ally McBeal,  when this actor/singer/hottie played Attorney Larry Paul.

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Robert Downey Jr. & Calista Flockhart from “Ally McBeal” circa 2000 (original source unknown).  

Robert Downey Jr. “River” (2000)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Christmas Song Countdown Day 5

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the Christmas Song countdown.

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Today’s song has the ability to transport me back to the warmest part of my childhood with the very first note.  And that is no easy feat.  I grew up much faster than I should have because that was my road to walk, but once you see happily ever after end in a horribly final way, you never believe in fairy tales again.

But these childhood friends of mine were my safe place, where I was kept out of harm’s way in a world with kids who did not see me differently because I no longer had the innocence of a child.  In fact, they did not even seem to notice.  They kept me in their world, no questions asked.  That was the part of my childhood I needed to hold on to most of all.  You do not forget friends like that.

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Copyright:  Charles M. Schultz

My friends, the Peanuts, already recorded this song to perfection.  But many other singers have covered this song since then, and this artist’s version is by far the solid second.  Between the combination of her beautiful voice and Diana Krall’s sublime piano accompaniment, this cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Sarah McLachlan:  Christmas Time Is Here.

PS:  Anita Baker’s jazzy, soulful version is also a worthy contender.  It definitely deserves a listen.

PSS:  The first song of the countdown was Joni Mitchell’s “River” (read that here) with an honorable mention to Sarah Mclachlan’s version.  Michael commented on that post that Robert Downey, Jr. did a “hauntingly beautiful” version of River when he was on “Ally McBeal”.   I love Robert Downey, Jr. and thought I saw every single “AB” episode when he was on it, but somehow that episode eluded me.  I listened to RDJ’s version today and Michael described it perfectly. It is hauntingly beautiful.  So, of course, I could not keep a gem like that to myself.  You can listen to it here.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

christmas

Courtesy of:  Captainwalt.com