This is a performance I've always loved. The particular version I listen to most often is the Mandolin Rain / Black Muddy River Medley performed on the "Here Come The Noise Makers" (Live Disc 2) album. A sample of a recent live performance of the medley from YouTube appears below. Why do I love this track? To begin with - Mandolin Rain.
I love the simple melodic intro to this track, piano, organ, followed by stripped back pad synths and simple piano as the first verse begins.
There's something about the longingness in the voice and the feeling behind the lines "Listen to the tears roll down my face as she turns to go" and "Listen to my heart break every time she runs away" that get me every time. Simple and heartfelt.
The references to the rain will always hold a special place for me. The rain is one of those sounds and atmospheres that I just love
In this medley the feeling winds down after around 5 minutes in, as the segway to Black Muddy River kicks in around 5:48. The response from the crowd is testament to the feeling this segway creates. Black Muddy River was originally performed by The Grateful Dead. Perhaps this will lose me kudos with some, however I prefer Bruce Hornsby's
particular take on this track. It is more stripped back and emotionally bare which for me seems to work better with the lyric. "
When I can't hear that song for the singer A
nd I can't tell a pillow from a stone"...
"I will walk alone by the black muddy river
Sing me a song of my own..."It is just such a reflective, bare, and heartfelt performance. The clip below provides a glimpse, however the live version on
"Here Come The Noise Makers" (Live Disc 2) is the version which really moves me. Enjoy.
Last weekend I recorded a performance of my composition "Before April". In a strange coincidence, a few days later I read this post about the "Out Back Project"
, a 15-minute audio piece to be composed from the memories contributors have of their backyard. I immediately contacted the talent behind the project and am pleased to contribute my track as the score. The title "Before April" refers to the time shortly before the arrival of my first child.
At the time I was living in Sydney, in a unit, with a tiny grassed area flanked by a very tall graffitied concrete wall, the only thing separating us from the Gore Hill Freeway into Sydney.
I composed this track thinking of the complete unknown that lay ahead for us with the pending arrival, as I looked out to our very limited living space outdoors. That April we moved to Newcastle, returning to our roots, closer to family, in our first home with a large and varied outdoor environment for our little guy to explore. We have not looked back since, and the concrete wall I once saw from the window of my studio has been replaced with the top of citrus trees, rooves and an expanse of sky.With that, please enjoy the track via the YouTube clip above. If it connects with you, you can download the track in the format of your choice from here. Enjoy.
Earlier today I was telling a friend how much I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday and I plan to go for a long hike. Alone. Ideally passing no one. This sounds a little reclusive and sad, but this activity for me is life-giving. The solitude is energising. The image accompanying this post is a photo I took while my wife and I were traveling Iceland in
2009. After leaving Mývatn
in the north of the country we were heading east towards our next stop, Egilsstaðir
. Traveling as a duo (at that time pre-children!) and in the off-season, the scenery, lack of fellow tourists, barren and pristine landscape, and sheer isolation made this leg of the journey forever unforgettable.
At the point this photo was taken we pulled our 4WD up in the middle of the national highway (Route 1
, the Ring Road which circles the country), turned the engine off and listened. I kept a journal of the trip and the following is my account of the experience as recalled that evening:Saturday 4th April 2009...the road to Egilsstaðir consisted largely of barren ice fields and mountains, great for photos and an insight into what the vast, uninhabited and hostile interior of Iceland must be like. At one time we stopped the car in the middle of nowhere, no other cars, rocks, or any life in sight. We turned off the engine, got out of the car and just listened. Nothing. Once you sheltered your ears to stop the sound of the breeze blowing past your ear, the only sound was the occasional drip of thawing snow and ice. Total isolation... I will never forget that experience.
In the most regular of circumstances
we are surrounded by sound. Our constant exposure to what we hear means that after a while we don't really listen to much of it at all. It becomes background noise. An unconscious reminder of being accompanied. My Icelandic experience is rare. W
hile I love music and sound as I do, there is an energising peace in solitude. I hope to find it tomorrow.
It’s not every day a founding member leaves a band you’ve been listening to for more than half your life.
Mid way through today I saw a post on Twitter referencing Mike Portnoy’s departure from Dream Theater. Just didn’t see that one coming. After being a driving force in the band for more than 25 years, and from all accounts visible to the fans a pretty controlling band member, he announced his departure today
via his website.
I always thought Dream Theater would continue to produce powerful music as a seldom-changing 5-piece for many years to come, until perhaps one day linking arms as a band and announcing their final studio album and farewell tour.
They have already announced in their press release
plans to continue after Mike’s departure – on the one hand I’m happier to hear this than if the group disbanded completely, but it’s going to be a big change.
The drum intro in the opening bars to 6:00
from 1994′s Awake album will always be one of the strongest musical memories I have. I hope the connection can continue with whoever picks up the sticks next. It’s a big kit to fill.
Bergen, Bryggen, Norway
I once had a conversation with a friend about how amazing, yet impossible, it would be to see every photograph you ever appeared in. Not just the ones you were aware of, but even those when you were walking past in the background of someone else’s shot or in some other way completely unaware that you were going to become a part of someone else’s life. Perhaps indefinitely. Though you would never know.
Imagine what you would see. Your life from a different perspective.
Tonight I posted a comment on twitter, saying I was enjoying a beer and listening to Lumsk
. (For those who don’t know – and I imagine this is quite a few – Lumsk are a Norwegian band with an amazing mix of instrumentation creating music which ranges from classical, traditional and even operatic to dark, brooding and heavy. It is intelligent and widely varying music.)
Now keep in mind this band hails from the other side of the planet to Newcastle, Australia. Yet within minutes a local follower replied that he was only listening to this same band last week. This got me thinking. Surely Lumsk is not conscious of having a fan-base so far-reaching. My fellow twitterer just happened to hear them in a small shop in the back streets of Bryggen in Bergen when visiting a few years back. And me? I read about them in an online forum for people learning Norwegian language.
Needless to say neither myself nor my follower had come across the band by any commercial marketing means or radio airplay. It was all just a matter of chance.
Who knows how many other fans there are that they will never know about. In the same way, every night of every week in every town there is someone playing a piece of music that is connecting with someone. But that connection is often never verbalised or expressed. It may be forgotten, or it may lie dormant yet still have a significant impact in the listener’s mind for a very long time.
Imagine a musician or band pulling together in one place all the fans they ever connected with. Even the least successful may manage to fill a stadium.
So – if you like something, make it known. The creators of the music who crafted it from out of nowhere would surely love to hear of it.