Apologies for missing the week of June 24 — the first time I’ve missed a Tuesday since I started this format in January. I was at a residency at a place called Playa, in the dreamy wilds of south-central Oregon. I was situated next to Summer Lake, a seasonal desert lake fed by snowmelt, 20 miles long by 10 miles wide. The locals say it dries up entirely most summers, but this year it has water. A few of the dancers walked halfway across it. They said it was about a foot deep.
I was busy with three things really: (1) I’d get up in the morning and write songs, (2) I’d go for a run in the nearby Fremont National Forest, finding sections of the 175-mile Fremont Trail, (3) I’d head back to Playa and jump in the pond. Also met some lovely artist fellows and did a lot of thinking. I’m thinking about my residency at Joshua Tree, when I started writing songs in earnest, nine years ago. I’m thinking about controlling the stage as a solo artist. This is relevant for all performance of course, but I’m especially interested in how one person with a guitar can manage the flow of a set and rapport with an audience. I’m thinking about Anaïs Mitchell, who I heard last year and this year at Eaux Claires, who does this as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.
I’m thinking about swing. I wrote a song at Playa about fiddles, and how I’d like to have one. It’s called “Fiddle Song.” I’m thinking about Tommy Peoples, who has about the most unique swing-concept I’ve heard. I’m thinking about the national forests opening back up as the rains come to New Mexico. I’m thinking about another visit to Rio Grande del Norte National Monument this coming weekend. I’m thinking about jumping into the river and saying thanks.
Here are the lyrics to one of the tunes from at Playa, a song called “The Loom”:
I’ll take my coffee with some grit
I’ll take some tapes of Springsteen, some ‘70s shit
And I’ll hop into the van some night, heading some place where it rains
The warp and the weave will wobble
We’ll be willing, wishing, and wise
Waiting for the storm clouds to lift
And the bridge to arise
It’s only half a centimeter wide
So you can’t take your backpack or the precious things inside
It’s a filament of memory spun from our pleasures and pains
When our place in the pattern presents itself,
Our porous persistence will pause
This tapestry is what it will be,
Not what we thought it was
Yes, the warp and the weave will wobble
We’ll be dumbstruck, drunken, and torn
Waiting for sunset to come
So the bridge might be born
Comments are closed.
• Gone Walkabout
• Music as Drama
• Crossroads II
• 10 Best of 2014
• January: Wyoming and the Open
• February: New Mexico and the Holes
• Coming Up
• Notes on The Accounts
• Crossroad Blues