What a Wonderful World

“And I think to myself / What a wonderful world…” (from “What a Wonderful World,” by Bob Thiele [aka George Douglas], George David Weiss) Today’s my birthday. It’s my second pandemic birthday, and while last year I felt a slight tinge of sadness about not gathering with family and friends, this year my feelings ofContinue reading “What a Wonderful World”

Secondhand

Happy Friday, folks! This afternoon, I went to Costco to do a big shop for my sweety and me and for a friend, and, while driving, Apple CarPlay was on a totally random play, picking from my entire music library. It was pretty cool… heard some things I hadn’t played in a long time! SweetyContinue reading “Secondhand”

The Course

Today I’m sharing a folk song I heard during an online gathering over a month ago and which has stayed with me since. “The Course” is a stirring, soulful anthem by Ayla Nereo, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, dancer and filmmaker from northeastern California, USA. The song evokes, for me, a sense of fellowship and the togethernessContinue reading “The Course”

Sandman’s Dust

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, my sweety and I have numerous friends in Colorado, USA. We all hold heavy hearts at the senseless killing of ten women and men at a grocery store in the city of Boulder on Monday. Sweety and I spoke with some of our folk today andContinue reading “Sandman’s Dust”

I Grieve

Late last evening, after a full and busy day that ran well into the evening, I was unaware of the shooting in Boulder, Colorado, USA, until a near-bedtime visit to Facebook told me a friend there had checked in as safe during a major public crisis. No doubt that message, and all it meant, wasContinue reading “I Grieve”

Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya

Last night as I lay in bed at 1:00 am, unable to get to sleep (the change to daylight savings time always messes me up), the song “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya” randomly popped into my head. I have no idea why. The song was the only major hit for New England, a group discoveredContinue reading “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya”

New Amsterdam

Recently I wrote, in a post on Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News,” about my record-playing parties at my parents’ home where I’d often play only one song from a record, take it off, put on another, and so on. A more modern take on that practice is to buy only one track from an album,Continue reading “New Amsterdam”

Thank You

It’s a year ago this week that things really started unravelling in my city of Winnipeg, Canada, with the COVID-19 pandemic. By around Friday, March 13 of last year (and I am not sure I picked up on the significance of the date at the time…), most non-essential stores and venues were talking about closing.Continue reading “Thank You”

Second Hand News

It was 1977. The year Fleetwood Mac released Rumours which, flabergasting to me, was their 11th studio album. I suppose I must have thought the band had just started up with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s arrival and the popularity of Rumours. But there also seemed to be a kind of a “new band hype”Continue reading “Second Hand News”

The World Song

Time is such an interesting concept. A few weeks ago, well, January 17 at 10:03 pm, to be exact (according to the Shazam app), I heard a song, and my iPhone told me it was Petula Clark singing “The World Song.” Based on that time of the evening, it had to be while my sweetyContinue reading “The World Song”

Carry On Wayward Son

“Carry on my wayward sonThere’ll be peace when you are doneLay your weary head to restDon’t you cry no more” (from “Carry On Wayward Son,” by Kerry Livgren) If you were living in the 1970s, I think it would be nearly impossible not to immediately recognize the above lines as the unaccompanied introduction sung byContinue reading “Carry On Wayward Son”

Fix You

“Tears stream down your faceWhen you lose something you cannot replaceTears stream down your face and I…Tears stream down your faceI promise you I will learn from my mistakesTears stream down your face and I…” (from “Fix You,” by Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion. Full, unofficial lyrics are available at AZLyrics.com.) Today,Continue reading “Fix You”

New Clothes

“It’s raining outsideWater falls from the skyAnd it’s sad but it cleans all the dirt from the streets” (from “New Clothes,” by Amy Belle) A new day, a new week, a new month. A chance to begin again, again. And similar to the lyric, rain may not always be welcome and uplifting, “but it cleansContinue reading “New Clothes”

Big Jet Plane

So, hands up, everyone who’s yearning to get away on holiday! It’s now over a year since the first COVID-19 cases developed worldwide, and most of us have spent ten or more months in some form of restricted lifestyle. Like the character in the video for today’s song, many are trapped in unrewarding routines (orContinue reading “Big Jet Plane”

Goose Snow Cone

Content warning: this post contains discussion of mental health. I first heard Aimee Mann’s music in the film, I Am Sam, which starred American actor Sean Penn as a single father with an intellectual disability, at risk of losing custody of his daughter. The soundtrack is made up entirely of covers of Beatles songs; MannContinue reading “Goose Snow Cone”

Things to Live For

Jackson Maloney is an American poet and singer-songwriter living and creating art in Colorado, USA. I came to know him through a mutual friend and at online community gatherings held early in the 2020 lockdown, including early-morning poetry sharing sessions. He released his first collection of poems, Becoming, in 2018, and the ten-song album ThingsContinue reading “Things to Live For”

Bros

In my two previous posts on the London, England alternative-rock band Wolf Alice (“Turn to Dust” and “Don’t Delete the Kisses”), I’ve mentioned their single, “Bros.” This morning I figured, it’s about time I posted about the tune. It makes a good “Friday song,” as I hope you’ll agree. The official music video portrays manyContinue reading “Bros”

Capsule

Today is a fine day. A morning meditation shared with friends across the country; appointments made for car and house maintenance; a few text chats with various friends and family; then this afternoon, time outside with my sweety. We walked along the river path in the sun with the temperature hovering around freezing. It wasContinue reading “Capsule”

Limelight

Formed in 1968, Rush has to be one of Canada’s most extraordinary rock acts. And clearly, institutions agree. In 1996, band members Geddy Lee (vocals, bass, keyboards, composer), Alex Lifeson (guitars, composer) and Neil Peart (1952-2020; drums, percussion, lyricist), were named as Officers of the Order of Canada, the Canadian government’s highest distinction for aContinue reading “Limelight”

You Make Loving Fun

In the midst of internal upheaval in Fleetwood Mac, the band released “You Make Loving Fun” as the fourth single from the historic 1977 album, Rumours. Christine McVie (formerly Christine Perfect) wrote and sang the song. Early this morning, in the lifting of a few days burdened with anxiety and darkness, this great piece ofContinue reading “You Make Loving Fun”

Mary

On many days, I know in advance what song I might post here, but it is often the inspiration of a moment, a serendipitous co-mingling of music with life. That is maybe an uncertain way to go, but it has kept my days interesting while outside everywhere, the 2020 dumpster fire has smouldered. On thisContinue reading “Mary”

Good Mother

Yesterday, I shared reminiscences of my record collection and one of my favourite artists, Brian Eno. Ah, memories. As each December ends, Sweety and I look at memories we’ve made together, and with family and friends, in the past year. We also look ahead to what we would like to do in the coming twelveContinue reading “Good Mother”

Colorblind

Tonight, Sweety and I took part in an online marking of the winter solstice. In part, it was like an inventory of the losses and heartaches the year has brought for many in attendance, and there have been many; some big, some small and yet, here we are. We are blessed in so many ways,Continue reading “Colorblind”

Elevator to Heaven

Neither any of my siblings nor I have musical talent. It wasn’t something any of us learned as children, though we all share a deep love for music, and that certainly was something influenced by our parents, and later by friends and the bands we grew up listening to and sharing as a family; somethingContinue reading “Elevator to Heaven”

The Birds

Maybe you’ve been a follower of this blog for a while. In that case, you’ll know I take a lot of inspiration and acquire much of my new music from the recommendations of Guy Garvey, the lead singer of Elbow during his weekly program, Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour on BBC 6 Music, on Sundays (2:00Continue reading “The Birds”

Belong

This morning, I listened to part of the archive of Friday’s episode of KEXP’s The Morning Show with John Richards, as I’d missed the start of the program that day. In Richards’ opening set, he played “Belong,” an R.E.M. song covered by the Hobart, Australia band, Quivers. I Shazamed the piece, but the app couldn’tContinue reading “Belong”

Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, III: Lento – Cantabile Semplice

Today I ponder on the eve of the eighth anniversary of one of the pivotal days of my life: the day our dear friends’ daughter was killed along with 27 other people: children, educators, the killer’s mother and himself in two incidents (at a home and a school). Upon returning to my office from aContinue reading “Symphony No. 3, Op. 36, III: Lento – Cantabile Semplice”

Let It Be

The day has flown by today. I was up early and did the usual routines, playing with Perry Como the Cat and all that. And having had that one last opportunity to take my road bike out on Tuesday, I gave it a season’s-end scrubbing and buffing in the basement, then covered it up forContinue reading “Let It Be”

Thank You for Being a Friend

Most people will remember the song “Thank You for Being a Friend” as the theme for TV’s The Golden Girls, which ran from 1985 to 1992. The show used a cover version recorded by Cynthia (Cindy) Fee. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Andrew Gold (1951-2011) wrote the song and recorded it in 1978, and itContinue reading “Thank You for Being a Friend”

Downtown Lights

With another weekend here and us firmly in December, this would typically be when people would be filling the stores, doing their holiday season shopping. Well, not in my city, Winnipeg, Canada. Stores continue to be restricted to selling essential items only for in-person shopping; all other sales are by online/phone orders, with delivery orContinue reading “Downtown Lights”

Oh, the Boss Is Coming!

Today, I was doing a moderately strenuous ride on my bike trainer; close to an hour of almost steady climbing during a ride that lasted 90 minutes in total (including cool down), with 687 metres (2,254 feet) elevation gain over 32.3 kilometres (20 miles) travelled. I rode a bit beyond the 30 km structured workout,Continue reading “Oh, the Boss Is Coming!”

I Wandered by a Brookside

I have been taking a course over Zoom on the topic of intentional life transitions. Tonight was the third of four classes, and it was an illuminating evening, as was the coursework in preparation. Among the tasks we were to do between classes was to go and “wander aimlessly.” I had a lot of troubleContinue reading “I Wandered by a Brookside”

Love & Hate

Love & Hate. Right & Wrong. Us & Them. Black & White (or any colour contrast…). Today as I observe the ongoing coverage of the United States election, I try to wade through the biases of two extremes that have expanded to take up so much space in our consciousness. I just want to knowContinue reading “Love & Hate”

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

Today I did another “thing” on the bike. Not a long distance outdoors, like the 100 kilometres (60 miles) I cycled on September 18, but inside, on the trainer. I rode one of the most challenging climbs on the smart trainer platform, Zwift, the Alpe du Zwift, a virtual course designed through GPS data toContinue reading “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

Holiday

Holiday, anyone? “If we took a holidayTook some time to celebrateCome on, let’s celebrateJust one day out of lifeHolidayIt would be, it would be so nice You can turn this world aroundAnd bring back all of those happy daysPut your troubles downIt’s time to celebrate” (from “Holiday,” by Lisa Stevens, Curtis Hudson) If there wasContinue reading “Holiday”

Worlds Away

Many have said that after the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the 1980s were a wasteland for music. I beg to differ. The emergence of post-punk, new wave, new romantic, synthpop and other genres, combined with other major genres like folk, progressive rock, heavy metal, arena rock and others, led to many different sounds for modernContinue reading “Worlds Away”

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves. As autumn begins. My sweety loves to create a family dinner. Over the years, we’ve had the good fortune to share our Thanksgiving dinner table with our own and other families, sometimes folks who had no relatives here to be with, or were experiencing severe challenges, or came to be with us forContinue reading “Autumn Leaves”

Love Right (prelude)

The American musician, composer, producer, educator, blogger, author, activist and all-around awesome human, Noah Baerman, made a brief appearance on this blog once before when I bought one of his recommendations on one of those days when Bandcamp was waiving fees, forwarding 100% of payments to the artists. That recommendation and purchase inspired the postContinue reading “Love Right (prelude)”

MLK/Pride (In the Name of Love)

My philosophy on anything the British musician, visual artist, sound designer, music producer, theorist and activist Brian Eno puts his name to is simply, “buy it.” That practice has never failed me since first picking up one of Eno’s albums at the behest of one of my brothers in 1976 (as I’ve mentioned before here,Continue reading “MLK/Pride (In the Name of Love)”

Summer 2

Gratitude. For life. For love. For everything. Yes, everything. I learned about three years ago, through Jeffrey Duvall, a beautiful, soulful, kind and generous spiritual guide and very dear friend I’ve known since 2008, of the immutable connection between grief and gratitude. And, how receiving all the sorrowful experiences of our lives helps us to moveContinue reading “Summer 2”

In a Manner of Speaking

Sweety and I have a friend we met through another, longtime friend, but have only seen a handful of times over the years. We have connected on social media and come to know her better in the past year or so, much of this through the pandemic where online conversation was one of the fewContinue reading “In a Manner of Speaking”

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Okay, so we’re stuck in the 80s for another day… call it a distraction from the challenge I’ve told you about, with me not wanting to let go of summer. It’s real, folks, I tell ya… Anyway, today’s selection reminds me of summer. The most powerful memory I have of hearing Tears for Fears wasContinue reading “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”

Taking Tiger Mountain

Today I was thinking of posting an ambient piece — something to chill out on. You see, last night, I was not feeling tired at all, and so I stayed up to watch two episodes of a new series I found on Netflix, Away, about a NASA mission to Mars. I enjoy a quality scienceContinue reading “Taking Tiger Mountain”

Listening Wind

Today I was thinking of the 1980 album by Talking Heads, Remain in Light. In my opinion, it’s their best and most inspired work. A visit to the vinyl collection in the basement and a look at the album and liner notes reminded me that Brian Eno, David Byrne and Talking Heads co-wrote the album’sContinue reading “Listening Wind”

Washing of the Water

I’ve loved Peter Gabriel’s music for years. He’s one of the most amazing, influential and versatile musicians I’ve heard. I was introduced to his music by one of my high school friends, who was prominent in our group, though meek and mild and never pushed his presence. Thinking back, I admire that quiet strength. HeContinue reading “Washing of the Water”

Deadwood, South Dakota

Today in the car, Nanci Griffith’s rendition of the song “Deadwood, South Dakota” came on autoplay.  I’ve posted Griffith’s songs twice before: “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness,” and “Late Night Grande Hotel,” and the latter is one of the selections on Sweety’s and my wedding CD. In these posts, I talk about Griffith’s longContinue reading “Deadwood, South Dakota”

A Gaelic Blessing

Welcome to Classical Sunday. I’ll say right off that I would never have wished for the global pandemic. It is horrible to know that so many people have suffered and died, many alone, and countless peoples’ health and livelihoods are still under threat. Our family and friends have remained healthy, and we hope to continueContinue reading “A Gaelic Blessing”

I Want to Know What Love Is

When I think of it, it’s funny how the relationships in youth often seemed so predicated on competition, on one being better than the other. Today, Sweety and I were on a mission to find some fresh-picked corn-on-the-cob. There’s a farmers’ market we went to once this summer, but it did not feel safe toContinue reading “I Want to Know What Love Is”

The Dreaming

Today a dear friend and mentor shared an article from DailyOM.com. This website promotes “… a universal approach to holistic living for the mind, body, and spirit and supports people who want to live a conscious lifestyle.”  The article, “Aboriginal Dreamtime,” is about the Indigenous people of what is now known as Australia. It’s aContinue reading “The Dreaming”

Every Time I Think of You

Lately, I’ve thought a few times about the band The Babys, which began forming in London, England in 1973, though they weren’t active until 1975. One of the guys in my high school group of friends had at least one of their records and is the only person I’ve ever known who owned any ofContinue reading “Every Time I Think of You”

Celeste

Tonight I’m revisiting the 2020 Brian and Roger Eno album, Mixing Colours. The album has been on my mind again lately, and later today, as I travelled through the various aspects of the day. (Please see my previous thoughts about the album, Brian Eno and his musical roots, in my posts on the pieces “Ultramarine”Continue reading “Celeste”

What the World Needs Now Is Love

After the last two days’ posts, I gravitated toward posting something by Burt Bacharach today. First, it was a track from Painted from Memory, his 1998 collaboration with Elvis Costello (which Sweety and I also listened to with our Brightman/Stewart/Lauper friends… we have been very tight with them for years, and after the husband’s passingContinue reading “What the World Needs Now Is Love”

Yellow Moon

Last night over Winnipeg, Canada, the Moon appeared big and yellow in the southeastern sky. A friend and neighbour had told us on Friday night, at an outdoor, socially-distanced dinner hosted by another couple of neighbour-friends, that it would appear like this, and so we all took note to watch the next night.  On Saturday,Continue reading “Yellow Moon”

In My Place

Sweety and I were married on a Saturday; it was July 25, 2009. It wasn’t quite as hot as today will be. It was a perfect, non-humid 25°C (77°F).  We had a small wedding, which was initially going to be at the home of friends. As the date drew nearer, Sweety’s mom was having challengesContinue reading “In My Place”

Thank U

Today I was looking for a song about gratitude, and when I thought about it, Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U,” from her 1998 album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was ideal. Let me tell you why.  I’ve mentioned before that a few years ago, my mum died. Months after, I took part in a retreat themed onContinue reading “Thank U”

Pick Me Up

Have you ever had a close relative or friend that you knew you could count on, no matter what? If so, isn’t that the most amazingly comforting thing, ever? Especially when you truly need it? Life hands us all sorts of things, and some are bad; some of them are hardwired into us, some happenContinue reading “Pick Me Up”

Ultramarine

Today, I’m feeling a little low on energy. I’ve been cycling in the high heat and humidity, so am taking a couple of days off. It also has been an emotional day, attending the COVID-socially-distanced, outdoor interment service for our dear friend’s mother; she was a delightful, vibrant and kind soul who was taken tooContinue reading “Ultramarine”

Arena

Today’s selection is another 1980s song. It’s by the English electronica band Colourbox, who released albums from 1982 to 1987. They were among the 4AD record label artists that collaborated on the project, This Mortal Coil, from which I recently featured the cover, “Song to the Siren.” “Arena” comes from the band’s 1985, self-titled record.Continue reading “Arena”

Sailing

Sweety and I have seen Rod Stewart in concert in Winnipeg, Canada, three times, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing him each time. We saw him once with my mum, and twice with dear friends — once in the tenth row at what’s now called Bell MTS Place. This was a couple I have talked about before,Continue reading “Sailing”

Green, Green Grass of Home

So, six weeks ago we, along with our next-door neighbours and another couple of neighbours down the street (she of that latter couple being the ringleader of the project) de-thatched, raked, de-thatched again, raked again, aerated, and once again raked our lawns, then spread manure, a mix of different grass seeds, and then fertilizer. (OverContinue reading “Green, Green Grass of Home”

Song to the Siren

By 1984, my musical tastes were quite distant from those of my friends (I mentioned in an earlier post that they were diverging around that time). I think this was a symbol of my sense of our decaying friendship; even “friends 2.0” started to disperse, and I was exploring different groups of people trying toContinue reading “Song to the Siren”

I Put a Spell on You

Nina Simone was unknown to me until she was the featured artist of the week on a recent episode of BBC 6 Music’s Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour, where he played her 1965 recording of “I Put a Spell on You.” I’d likely heard other music of hers before, just didn’t know who she was. I’veContinue reading “I Put a Spell on You”

When I Come Home

I paused the blog yesterday out of respect for the music industry’s Blackout Tuesday movement. It was a day of action, not without its complications and controversy as there were varying opinions on what people should or should not post or hashtag. In the end, I did what felt right in my heart, to showContinue reading “When I Come Home”

Goodnight, California

I’m not sure why but I often confuse Kathleen Edwards with Sarah Slean. I suppose there are some similarities in their styles, though their voices are quite different. Maybe it’s because they are both highly successful singer-songwriters who come from Canada.  Or, maybe it’s because like Slean’s album, The Baroness (discussed in my post onContinue reading “Goodnight, California”

Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot

Today, I had the gift of an online visit with some deeply soulful men who are close to me and essential in my life. It felt good to spend time together and share our life experiences, words of sorrow, hope, joy; many feelings, and much compassion. The gathering brought me near to these men inContinue reading “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot”

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Edit, March 30, 2020: Since making the post below, I’ve read this article, and have been thinking twice about the wisdom of gathering eight, ten, even twenty feet apart. It seems there’s still so much that isn’t known about the virus, so maybe it makes sense to exceed the recommendations of public health officials, outContinue reading “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

Enjoy the Silence

Our youngest lad and I don’t seem to speak a lot about music, though we share some similar likes. We both enjoy country music, though I tend to gravitate to the grittier, outlaw-country side of the genre. And it seems that seeing his older brother’s appearance several years ago at Dauphin’s Countryfest in Manitoba’s Interlake ignited ourContinue reading “Enjoy the Silence”

Peace and Quiet

Just as with the Arts & Crafts compilation album, X (please see my post on March 3, 2020, for the fantastic track from it, “Lonely Is as Lonely Does”), which I bought in the 2013 festive season, I picked up Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins’ album, Garden Songs while on Christmas holidays inContinue reading “Peace and Quiet”

Trade Winds

When I reunited with some of my high school buddies in about 1982, they’d branched out into a bigger group of friends: in addition to the original crew, I now had friends who were from north St. Vital in Winnipeg. Parents of one of these friends were very welcoming. They invited a group of fiveContinue reading “Trade Winds”

Speed of the Sound of Loneliness

One night around 20 years ago, after I came home late from work, my sweety greeted me, saying, “Come here… you’d GOT to hear this song!” She’d videotaped a musical performance on a late-night TV talk show and it would the first time I would ever hear Nanci Griffith. The memory is a bit foggy,Continue reading “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”

Drive

A friend, with whom I’ve connected, disconnected and reconnected several times over our 42-or-so years of knowing each other, introduced me to R.E.M. when they were becoming big in North America, particularly on college radio, when we reconnected around 1981-82. He was in community college at the time, and I was working an office jobContinue reading “Drive”