Let’s Take A Moment Day 212

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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 artist comes from a musical family. Rufus Wainwright’s parents are American songwriter, folk singer, entertainer & humorist Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer & songwriter Kate McGarrigle. She & her sister, Anna, formed the duo, The McGarrigle Sisters, in Montreal in the 1960’s & continued together until Kate’s death in 2010. Their songs have been covered by many artists including Marianne Faithful, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, most notably her cover of “Heart Like A Wheel” which was written by Anna.

Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, NY in 1973 and his sister, Martha Wainwright (also a singer) was born three years later, the same year his parents divorced. That sent his mother back to Montreal to raise her two children. Wainwright started playing piano at the age of six and by the age of 13 he & his sister were touring with their mother and aunt as “The McGarrigle Sisters and Family”. He developed a strong affinity for opera music around that time and went back to New York for high school. After that he moved back to Montreal where he began playing the club circuit. That is how he was discovered and by 1998 his self-titled debut album was released. However, he continues to perform with his family on various musical collaborations.

In a 2004 interview with the AP, Elton John called Wainwright “the greatest songwriter on the planet”. In addition to writing his own songs, he has also done outstanding covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (Day 161) for the “Shrek” soundtrack & The Beatles “Across The Universe” featured in the “I Am Sam” movie. My favorite song of Wainwright’s is from his third studio album, “Want One” and features an orchestra & choir arrangement. As lovely as the original track is, today’s interpretation only has a piano accompaniment to his elegant vocal. You will notice at the 2:07 mark of the video that he is playing that instrument with just one hand. There is something so exquisitely beautiful about a simple acoustic number. And this version is one gorgeous example of how less is more.

My phone’s on vibrate for you
But still I never ever feel from you
Pinocchio’s now a boy who wants to turn
Back into a toy
“.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rufus Wainwright: “Vibrate” (2003, written by Rufus Wainwright).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 161

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?

Bruce quote

(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.

On this day in 1994 Jeff Buckley released his stunning debut album, “Grace”.  His voice had a depth and spirit beyond his young age of 27, thanks in part to his distinct four octave tenor range.  He began his career as a studio guitarist and performed in clubs singing songs by other artists before focusing on his own material.  He wrote or co-wrote seven of the ten songs on “Grace”, using three songs by other artists to complete his track listing.  I love all three, especially “Lilac Wine”, but his version of today’s song, a Leonard Cohen classic, is just beautiful.

I loved it from the first time I heard it, but really swooned over it after it was used at the end of an episode of “Without A Trace” (season 1, episode 23).  FBI agent Jack Malone, played by Anthony LaPaglia, is sitting in a chair thinking about his day dealing with a gunmen who had lost all hope due to the death of his wife on 9/11.  Malone is staring at a picture of the World Trade Center hung up in his bedroom.  Suddenly his eyes move across the wall to a nearby window where you see the exact same view as what was in the picture but now without the Twin Towers.  It was one of the most heart wrenching scenes of any TV show I have ever seen.  And Buckley’s voice singing today’s song only added to that  feeling.

His birth father, Tim Buckley, was a fairly successful folk singer (he appeared on an episode of The Monkees) who later incorporated other musical genres in to his work.  Tim died in 1975 at age 28 from a drug overdose.  But of all the cautionary tales learned from rock & roll, his son’s death from drowning at age 30 is just one more to shake your head at and wonder why.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah“.

L-R:  Jeff Buckley circa 1994 & Leonard Cohen circa 2010.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Jeff Buckley:  “Hallelujah” (1994, written by Leonard Cohen).

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

Stay well.