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I believe in artichokes

Italy did ruin me. After that first trip I came back disgusted by bodega coffee, which now smelled of old socks. Before, it was just fine. I rolled my eyes at red sauce joints, detouring old standbys like a stranger. If eating can be seen as a religious or spiritual experience I had been to the mountain. In time I would return on pilgrimages, always holding the simple pleasures in my thoughts.  An artichoke, methodically fried in good olive oil, with some salt. Black truffles, good butter and fresh pasta twisting around the back of a fork. A very cold and tiny glass of porto bianco sipped in a Genoa bar, with my friend Federico. A man cleaning sardines on a block of wood in the street. A woman selling green figs that she wraps into a newspaper cone. I have thousands of these memories, these artifacts. But I live in Moscow, where there has been an embargo for years now, and there is no population that expects perfect mounds of fresh cheese. They ship powdered palm oil here, that gets …

a borrowed name (the lucky ones)

When the call came so many years ago, I hid after playing that gold guitar in the living room until I got it right. My voice sounded foreign, outside of myself. Throat beyond the old windows banging in the afternoon sun. Names were considered - Son something, after Son House. I don't even remember the particulars except that Tom Waits mentions Martin Eden in Shiver Me Timbers -
          And I know Martin Eden's
          Gonna be proud of me

I saw this name in the credits of that short film and felt right about it. It wasn't me that sang about a child and regret, about love and a soul being saved. That was Martin Ruby, all him. 

Martin went on many adventures, howling at the moon, swinging low, yelling about how the cops stole your flowers. It was a suit I could pull on, look in the mirror and see someone else. And then I could take it off, and listen to the recording at the kitchen table and feel like I was hearing it for the first time. 

We all make fun of those musicians who go by a one word name, or a changed name, a borrowed name. It is all laughable if you look at it from the easy chair. But try to stand up and wear your heart on your sleeve, warbling like a lost chickadee and you will understand far better how these things happen. We all start from somewhere, an awkward, embarrassing nest we fall from, or fly above. It is a very messy business. 

Last summer I got a fresh call, a request to do a cover of a song. All of the proceeds from the project would go to a wonderful cause, the David Shedlrick Wildlife Trust. Helping to save an endangered species is a joyous act. So, I put on Martin's suit and let the muse take the wheel. There is a moment when the song disappears - children laughing and playing take over. There is a weeping harmonica. There were lyrics I wrapped my head around, from the genius of Palaxy Tracks, the band behind all of this. The toys came out of the closet, I tried to channel the dead and the living and the dust settled. 

And then, the idea of a music video was floated. I made one n the middle of the night, after the day's work was done, after the children were sleeping, their hands like angels. 





You can donate to download here: https://palaxytracks.com













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