Saturday, January 2, 2010

Here Comes That Rainbow Again (Kris Kristofferson)

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to LD at The Adios Lounge - his December 31 post (which I discovered mid-morning January 1) was life-changing for me, not in a hyperbolic sense but truly, madly, deeply...

It is no secret that I love music... but, much as I pride myself on discovering new songs and giving new artists a chance, I do tend to wrap myself in the cloak of comfort with tunes and musicians who are familiar and therefore safe - when the going gets tough, the tough steels herself with, and crumbles to, the soothing strains of Dar Williams, Dave Carter, Joni Mitchell, Todd Snider, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Danny Schmidt, etc... and, in the grand scheme of things, they are quite the impressive company of friends...

I've mentioned before that, a bit over a year ago, I was invited to be a regular contributor to Star Maker Machine, a weekly-themed music blog - that site has led me to so many others (you can read their blogroll in the right sidebar), and it's been a sincere joy to be a participant in, as well as a voyeur of, a diverse circle of amazing music...

Names of lots of new-to-me artists have been bandied about, and sometimes I'd click on a link to listen... but, after a snippet or two, I'd move back into my safety zone - with mom's passing almost six months ago, I retreated even further inward, pulling the metaphorical (and sometimes) literal covers over my head to "surrender the day" (lovely image, Dar)...

I'd been reading about Spectacle, Elvis Costello's show on The Sundance Channel, most recently on the Joni-list, and had been meaning to get around to checking it out... but hadn't yet - rewind to the first paragraph of this post, in which I read LD's entry, watched the YouTube video of Jesse Winchester's song and bawled like a f*cking baby. The single tear trickling down Neko Case's cheek had been preceded by coursing tracks of my own, during which time I experienced an epiphany visceral and profound - why hadn't I been paying attention to the signs, the portents, the attempts at introduction, all these months?!?

I am fond of quoting the Buddhist proverb that "the teacher appears when the lesson is ready to be learned" - I can honestly say, at that moment, a weight was lifted... my grief began to dissipate... and a message was delivered. I am allowed to mourn but there will be no more wallowing - Mom was letting me know that I need to find my "be here now" self again...

So... I've been scrambling like a madwoman (in a good way, Martha!) with the OnDemand feature of my cable company - I found the full episode and watched it (at 3 a.m.) and I viewed, at 11 this morning, a re-run of Spectacle, Season 1 with Norah Jones, John Mellencamp, Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson... and f*cking cried all over again...

During the course of the show, Kris said the song he was about to perform was inspired by a scene from Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath... and that Johnny Cash wrote in his autobiography that it might be his favorite song - I am still astonished this tune has been floating around out there for 28 years... and this morning was the first time I'd heard/heard of it...

There are two more episodes available for viewing OnDemand... and I've bookmarked those for later in the day ("the teacher appears" indeed) - lesson learned... and I'm off to follow the trail of Jesse, Neko, The Decemberists, Brandi, Andrew Bird, Avett Brothers... and all those other musical breadcrumbs that have been left for me in the last year, if I'd only been listening (pun fully intended!)...

P.S. Not to jinx myself but... I realize this is my fourth post in as many days - I do believe the epiphany extends to acknowledging a desire to embrace life once again...

P.P.S. I am quite proud of the fact that Richard Julian (who used to open for Norah Jones and then segued to being a member of her band, The Little Willies, while retaining his solo singer-songwriter status) appeared in my house concert series in June 2002 - okay... I have/had my moments of coolness... :-)

SONG: Here Comes That Rainbow Again by Kris Kristofferson

BOOK: The Soul Would Have No Rainbow if the Eyes Had No Tears and Other Native American Proverbs by Guy Zona

POEM(S): Back Yard by Elizabeth Spires

It didn't rain.
And it didn't rain.
And it didn't rain.
Returning, after a month away,
from a place up north.
we saw the parched and dying yard,
the hose coiled like a snake.

As if the present were past,
I walk from this thing to that,
touching dry leaves.
Here is my daughter's herb garden
where we buried the snail.
Here is the dogwood
that bloomed when T. was dying.
Here is the sunflower, ravaged by July,
and here is the rose of Sharon
coming, in August, into its own.
Here. Here. And here.
The arbor. The wisteria.
The bamboo, tenacious as ever.
The empty swing, motionless in the heat.

The Beautiful Lawn Sprinkler by Howard Nemerov

What gives it power makes it change its mind
At each extreme, and lean its rising rain
Down low, first one and then the other way;
In which exchange humility and pride
Reverse, forgive, arise, and die again,
Wherefore it holds at both ends of the day
The rainbow in its scattering grains of spray.

QUOTE: "My deepest impulses are optimistic, an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect." ~ Ellen Willis


  1. Rainbows, indeed. Always been a great song. And I imagine in every rainbow there are colors we haven't seen yet, just like there are friends we haven't met, yet. Just like you - one of those hidden colors that comes forth when the Light hits it just right and at just the right time. . . and I love the way Danny sings "I believe . . ". Truth is, I think, we believe and we depend - on rainbows and how they always show up 15 minutes before it's too late.

  2. Hey, Fred ~

    Thanks for weighing in so heavily... and so lovingly - your gentle wisdom is always welcome here. Obviously, with my Oz connection, rainbows have always been dear to me... a portent of things to come as well as a reminder to seize the day - I do believe... in signs, and in friends, who appear when they are needed... <3

  3. i had the pleasure to be at the Rosanne Cash, Kristofferson etc Spectacle taping last year. it was October right before Columbus day. This summer I got to go to the John Prine taping that will be aired in a few weeks... It was a great show. I am glad Elvis Costello has done this series and recognized amazing singer songwriters. Elvis Costello is often at NYC concerts when he is in town. I saw him in November at Dylan.

    He decided that two seasons of Spectacle is enough... Season 1 is out on DVD but it is still at a high price...

    Happy New Year... enjoy...
    stay warm

  4. Hey, sharon ~

    How amazing you were there for the Rosanne/Kris/etc. taping - the John Prine episode (with Lyle Lovett and Ray LaMontagne) is due to air tomorrow night (can't wait!)...

    Springsteen follows the next two Wednesdays (parts 1 and 2) - I hate to hear that Elvis is ending at two seasons... because I could envision *so* many more artists being showcased (MCC, right?... :-)

    Happy New Year back at you - temps are starting to get back to normal here (finally!)...