Night Drive Yellowhead highway How bright the stars How dark the night How long have I been sleeping? Sleep overtook me on my westward flight Held me in its keeping I had a dream; it seemed so real Its passing left me shaking I saw you're here behind the wheel On this very road I'm taking Hurtling westward through the prairie night Under the spell of motion Your eyes were clear and bright in the dashboard light Dreaming of the western ocean The dusty towns left far behind Mountains drawing ever nearer Your face was then as it was tonight Ever young Ever clearer I know this road And its every curve Where the hills commence their climbing We rested here If my memory serves The northern lights were shining You lit a smoke We shared some wine We watched the sky in wonder Your laughter echoes after all this time In that high and wild blue yonder I don't know why I write these lines It's not like I could send you the letter It's that I love your more after all this time It's that I wish I'd shown you better Years have slipped Beneath my wheels Dwindling in my rear view mirror As time has passed Your life has seemed less real But these night drives bring you nearer So tonight I'll wish upon these stars As they rise upward to guide me That I'll see you here just as you are Now, as then, beside me Scares me how the years have flown Like the leaves drift in September They've lost sight of you as your legacy's grown But this road and I We remember
5:30 pm –
Saturday July 29 5:30 pm – 11:30 pm
It will be a fun thing to see Kris Kristofferson entertain at the age of seventy! This should be really good! From FFWD…
|Rhodes scholar and road warrior
Kris Kristofferson has no need to coast on his merits
CALGARY FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
July 27 to 30
Prince’s Island Park
It’s been 59 years since he wrote his first song at age 11, but despite that precociousness, Kris Kristofferson, star of song and screen, was a mere janitor when he turned 30. Of course, he was probably the only janitor in the world who had completed a Masters in English at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship and had also been an Air Force captain.
It’s been a long, strange road for the Brownsville, Texas native. He lived up to his childhood nickname (Straight Arrow), becoming a Golden Gloves boxer while attending Pomona College in California and then following in his father’s footsteps into a U.S. air force career.
But, while he was in England falling in love with the poetry of William Blake, he was snagged by impresario Larry Parnes. Parnes managed icons of the early 1960s like Tommy Steele and Johnny Gentle, but turned down a contract with The Silver Beatles, who later dropped a word from their name and became the biggest pop band in musical history. Kristofferson recorded some tracks under the name of Kris Carson, but the tapes came to nothing due to legal issues.
So, he returned to the States, married Fran Bier in 1960 and had a kid. He was teaching at West Point in 1965 when he ditched out for Nashville instead, becoming a caretaker at CBS Studios. On the other side of his broom he watched Bob Dylan record Blonde on Blonde, but knew he would be fired if he approached the songwriter. He did, however, give all of his songs to another singer named Johnny Cash. Again, nothing came of this.
In a 2005 interview with ABC’s Andrew Denton, Kristofferson confirmed his regret for one of the most amazing actions of his life. During a stint with the National Guard in Tennessee, he landed a helicopter on Cash’s lawn, stepped out and handed him some demos. “It was a huge invasion of privacy,” he said. However, Cash ended up recording “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” which became a hit and the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year for 1970, and a long friendship between the men was formed. Ray Stevens also had a hit with the song. Soon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and others were lining up to record Kristofferson originals.
Hanging in Nashville had its drawbacks, however, as Kristofferson was imbibing about a bottle-and-a-half of Jack Daniels a day when a pregnant Fran left him. His family also disowned him.
The songwriter embarked on an intense affair with Janis Joplin, hoping she would record his song “Me and Bobby McGee.” When he first heard her version after her death, he broke down and cried. It became her only number one single. Roger Miller also had a hit with the song in 1969, having begun recording it even before the songwriter finished writing it. It seemed the hard living and years of studying gifted poets were paying off. He once said, “Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself,” and then added, “You’ll break that rule and regret it.” Years later, he answered “No” when questioned as to whether Joplin had been crazier than he was.
His 1970 marriage to singer and actress Rita Coolidge begat another child and three albums as a couple until their 1979 divorce, while his Kristofferson (1970) (re-released a year later as Me and Bobby McGee), The Silver Tongued Devil and I (1971), Border Lord (1972) and Jesus was a Capricorn (1972) could do no wrong. In the meantime, he began to appear in movies like Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Sam Pekinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.
He won a Golden Globe for A Star is Born with Barbra Streisand. While watching a clip of the 1976 film nearly 30 years later, he quipped, “She’s a mighty good sport to sing with somebody that sings like me,” just before admitting that she had been a 10 out of 10 on a scale of difficulty to work with. A 1979 role in the ill-fated Heaven’s Gate, which bankrupted United Artists studios, seemed to dim the actor’s star for a while and signalled the start of tough times career-wise. (For Kristofferson’s incredible revelations to Andrew Denton about the political assassination of the film by Washington, see abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s1422317.htm)
While his film career had taken off, his albums began to crash – starting with his fifth, Spooky Lady’s Sideshow in 1975. Although he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985, both careers got caught in the crossfire after he travelled to Central America and spoke out about the United States’ “bullying” of the Nicaraguan government.
Kristofferson and third wife, Lisa Meyers, went so far as to adopt the two daughters of a slain El Salvadorian woman, Maria, who had been a nanny for him during his single-father-on-the-road years. He and Meyers, whom he married in 1983, also live with five children of their own at their secluded Maui home, which he says is why he has been on the road less frequently during the last decade.
His political statements didn’t help his career as it plummeted from stadium shows back to honky-tonks. While its nadir may have occurred when he appeared in the movie Big-Top Pee Wee in the 1980s, a bright spot arose. He joined Cash, Jennings and Willie Nelson (now his Maui neighbour) to form The Highwaymen in the mid-’80s. The group released several successful albums and Kristofferson told a CBS reporter, “I always looked up to them all, and felt like I was kind of a little kid who had climbed up on Mount Rushmore and stuck his face out there.”
His star settled in again in the 1990s. He appeared in the critically-acclaimed European movie A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries (1998). He was a wild half-vampire character as Whistler in the Blade trilogy, creating a fresh legion of fans to join those who had loved him since 1970. After elective heart bypass surgery in 1999, he was also in Tim Burton’s remake of Planet of the Apes. He became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
After three marriages, 10 children, about two dozen albums and more than 80 films, This Old Road, his 2006 album, is straight-up and breezy, but not afraid to look bullshit in the eye. In contrast to the last couple of Johnny Cash albums, which felt like the singer was saying goodbye, Kristofferson sounds like he’s got decades of spit and fight left in him. While he’s unafraid of referencing the past, he is still raging against the political cuckolding of the American public while spinning songs of perspective, gratitude and love.
No wonder the smart, sexy ol’ grandpa is the draw at this year’s folk festival. It’s not because of what, or who, he’s done, but because of who he still is.
This is a ridiculous time of the morning to open my eyes wide…and be ready for the day! I’m pretty excited that the boardwalk is almost completely screwed into place and that my days of hard physical labour are coming soon to a close. Canvases are prepared and ready for painting and truly I am feeling that this will be a good thing for my heart.
This evening I begin my annual attendance at the folk festival, with Friday’s acts including….
Friday July 28 5:30 pm – 11:30 pm
Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band
Lorrie Matheson, Kris Demeanor and Chantal Vitalis
I’m really pleased about the entire line-up this year and always find new favourites among the bands and individuals who are brand new to me. My son will attend with me all day on Saturday and my daughter on Sunday. It will be a celebration of hard work in July and give an opportunity for fun and good food.
- Wings (1927/8)
- The story of two men who have gone to war and the girl they both leave behind.
- The Broadway Melody (1928/29)
- All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
- A group of young World War I German recruits pass from idealism to disillusionment with war.
- Cimarron (1930/31)
- Epic western about the Cravat family settling the Oklahoma prairie.
- Grand Hotel (1931/32)
The Godfather films exemplify tremendous acting and marvelously woven tales about an Italian family. Such amazing acting!
|CAST: Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Richard Castellano,
Sterling Hayden, Al Lettieri, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda,
Talia Shire, John Cazale, Rudy Bond
The Godfather II
|CAST: Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall, John Cazale, Diane Keaton,
Talia Shire, Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strasberg, G.D. Spradlin, Richard Bright,
Gaston Moschin, Tom Rosqui, B. Kirby Jr.
DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola
"In some ways, Urquhart’s writing process seems deliciously mysterious to her. "I never know when I finish one book whether another one is ever going to happen, because it always seems like an act of such unlikely magic, on some level. It’s like a miracle, really, that it happens at all."
Though Urquahart may choose to shroud parts of the writing process in mystery, even from herself, the lyrical confidence of her writing seems like evidence of the thought and care she consistently layers into every book. Her most recent novel, The Stone Carvers, seems a complete example. Urquhart says that, for her, the book is "about the redemptive nature of making art. I always hope that a book will teach me something that I didn’t know that I knew. By the time I’m finished I want to know something I didn’t know when I started." Not art for art’s sake, but at the same time, "it need not be the great big huge work of art either — just making something: just taking experience, reshaping it and reordering it — whether that experience be celebratory or terribly tragic — is redemptive"
"Do you have a novel in mind?"
"Not really. I don’t, actually. I don’t think I will until I can be in one spot for an extended period of time. And then likely something will happen. but there’s no guarantee. I never know when I finish one book whether another one is ever going to happen, because it always seems like an act of such unlikely magic, on some level: it’s like a miracle, really. That it happens at all."
I recommend The Underpainter, The Stone Carvers and Away.