Mike's Life

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Tag: Music

Symmetry & Flow

Orderly flowing slopes and soft depths.
Receding planes in odd perspective colored by contrasts of light.
Escher-esque designs and pseudo-static loads of b.s.
Integrals and derivatives give way
to imagery via words and neat doodles,
and the air is afloat with melancholic notes from speakers.
Strategic chess that’s only 4 moves deep
still beats ninety percent of those claiming to know the game.
Finally, with His word in my hand and Him in my heart
I understand that “Emotional Being” doesn’t have to mean “being emotional”.

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Listening to Eva Cassidy

Recently I discovered the late singer Eva Cassidy. She has the most amazing voice. I’ve read that she only gained popularity and relative fame after her death. Once again, Pandora radio has given a gift to me.

Pandora Radio gave music back to me

Pandora Radio Gave Music Back To Me

Music has played an important role in my life. Music was an early connector in the relationship between me and my wife (R.E.M. and many others). The power of music helped lead us to accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It’s hard to beat that! We currently enjoy a lot of Christian music but our musical tastes flow in almost every direction. My wife Beth was actually in a band at one time (you’ll have to talk to her about that!), while I failed out of piano lessons at age 7. Last summer I bought an old guitar at a neighborhood garage sale. It has been a goal of mine, or maybe more of a dream, to learn to play for over 15 years.  It was actually a questionable decision at the time to plop down the relative few dollars that the old thing cost. I had zero energy to haggle on the price. Anyhow, I would have been haggling based on the money I had (or didn’t have) in my bank account and not based on what I thought it was worth. I knew enough to know that it had probably been a nice guitar in its day. I’d rather have a beaten down well made guitar than a cheaply made and cheaply priced piece of junk. I thought about it as I wandered around the driveway for 20 minutes looking at all the other stuff the older couple had on display; old tools, used fishing gear, refurbished snow blowers, and an old red fire-fighter’s axe that was owned long ago by the man’s father. Certainly there have been times during the past decade where I could have afforded a nicer guitar had I chosen to learn to play then. Back then, however, I didn’t make time for things like learning to play music, writing, art, or even reading for pleasure. Being unemployed, like I was then, and like I am now, has changed things for me. So, feeling  just a little like when in the past I’d made a spontaneous purchase on the newest techno-gadget, I bought the thing. The odd thing was that, although the guitar cost about 20 bucks, and the tech-gadgets were in the hundreds of dollars, the uncomfortable feeling in my stomach was about the same. It is all relative, I suppose. I need not have felt guilty about buying the guitar though. It was a good buy, and for a good reason, and it would provide a mental health benefit as well. As it turned out, the thing broke about 10 days after I got it. It lasted just long enough for the desire to learn to play start to burn inside me. Well, this certainly created a convenient opporunity (excuse) to buy an inexpensive (but decent) new one. Learning to play has been very slow going, although I am still going, and intend to keep going.

Pandora Radio single-handedly brought music back to relevance in my life. I think Beth would share equally strong sentiment about Pandora. After our children were born music took several steps backward on the priority-meter. Music never leaves you, thankfully, but for 5 or 6 years we did not explore new music or listen to much of our existing collection. Between 2001 and 2007 all the sounds emanating from our speakers came from “Baby Einstein”, “Blues Clues”,”Dora The Explorer”, and any number of Walt Disney films. Pandora woke us back up to the beauty of music and to the vital role that music has played in our lives. Our children, ages 5 & 8, love music and already have their own separate musical tastes. 

Some of the great artists Beth and I have discovered through Pandora are Eva Cassidy, Josh Rouse, Snow Patrol, Missy Higgins, Say Hi (To Your Mom), Ben Harper, Jose Gonzalez, Janove Ottesen, Vienna Teng, Iron and Wine, Allison Crowe, Nickel Creek, Pierce and E.J. Maggi, The Decemberists, and many others.

What sounds best right now, is to go listen to my Eva Cassidy playlist on YouTube. Am I ever plugged in!

Much of the information contained in this post comes from my Pandora Radio profile. You can view our full Pandora profile and all of our bookmarked music at http://www.pandora.com/people/trueleader04