Night Drive by Garnet Rogers

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

All Sorts of Weather

Sunday’s folk festival did NOT disappoint!!  A record attendance of 13,000 people…and all sorts of weather!!
 
A few key players yesterday…vertical bass player Ronnie Hayward and for me, the most beautiful, Garnet Rogers!!  I have attended many concerts over the years, but never have I heard a guitar sing in this particular style!  I purchased one of his cds, Night Drive that features a song that gave me chills!
 
Temperatures plummeted from a 35 degree heat to somewhere around 20 in a matter of minutes, with a wind that sent gusts 85 kms an hour across the grounds.  You could really see the quick mindedness of all of the volunteers, managers, performers and attendees.  My daughter and I actually watched a mind-blowing performance by Ellen McIIwaine, Cassius Khan and Indian performers Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (one of Ravi Shankar’s students), Salil Bhatt and Ramkumer Mishra (king of slide guitar) during the huge wind…and it just added to a somewhat spiritual dimension to the performance.
 
It was during New York’s Dar William’s mainstage performance that the rain began to pour down.  I liked the entire experience of cuddling under a single umbrella with my daughter…laughing, giggling and moving to the music that I love so much.  She sang several tunes that I love, but most endearing, one titled The One Who Knows.  She shared with the crowds that those who were nestled under tarp sheets with their children would remember these experiences for a lifetime.  And it’s true!  Camping and ‘roughing it’-experiences are the very best…so real!  I was thrilled that two of my children could get down to enjoy the time with dear ol’ Mom when they might have been with a ton of good friends instead.
 
Big mainstage events included work by Matthew Good and Ani DiFranco.  We were second row for both of those.  A magical event in music for me again this year…now to the studio!

Saturday Festival

The Saturday workshops at the folk festival were awesome and my son and I were consumed from one act to the next…each musician offering something special of themselves.  My son said at the end of the day, "I feel inspired."  This is simply-put, but true…a testament of a day well-spent and rich!
 
Some of the artists that literally pulled me out of myself were slide-guitarist Ellen Mcilwaine, along with her tabla player, Cassius Khun; fairly new (evoking the sound of Billy Holliday) Ndidi Onukwulu along with Juno-winning guitarist Madagascar Slim (AMAZING!); Aurelio Martinez of Honduras; Little Axe with his fantastic bass player Doug Wimbish and drummer Keith Le Blanc!  WOW!  Ari Up vs. Dubblestandart, Feist and Son Volt were all on my must-see list but of less consequence to me personally.  My son will for-certain be buying a CD produced by Dubblestandart! 
 
The biggest surprises (surprising because I felt a sense of indifference after reading about them :0)) of the day/evening were Luke Doucet (innovative) and Dave Alvin (glorious blues guitar!) and with his beautiful narratives filled with a sense of politics, justice, spirituality…the deeper, historical Kris Kristofferson.  There were a few tears shed as Kris shared stories of Johnny Cash…Janis Joplin…and amazement as he sang the songs that had everything to do with that period of my life.
 
On the top of my list today is Dar Williams, a revisit to the poet of yesterday; someone who actually shook our hands and spoke to us after his workshop yesterday, Leroy "The Grandmaster" Young and at the mainstage, Matt Good.  I know that there will also be many surprises at the workshops…these are always the best.  Here is the line-up for the Mainstage tonight.
 

Sunday

July 30

5:30 pm –

10:00 pm

Eliseo Parro

Dar Williams

Daby Touré

Matthew Good

Ani DiFranco

Friday Festival

The highlights of the first evening of folk festival were Jeff Healey, Macy Gray and the wonderful Indian Meal Combo (chicken curry, chickpeas and potato, rice and fried flat bread).  Awesome!  I was not so much impressed by Bedouin Soundclash as it seemed the younger crowd was.  I think that their sound was too redundant for me, although they pride themselves in an eclectic style with varied technical aspects…sounded very emo-techno to me, an untrained critic.
 
The crowds were huge!  The weather cooperated and the clouds were beautiful at sunset.  Today’s line-up at mainstage is
 

Saturday

July 29

5:30 pm –
11:30 pm

Roches

Kathleen Edwards

Dave Alvin

Little Axe

Son Volt

Kris Kristofferson 

 

It will be a fun thing to see Kris Kristofferson entertain at the age of seventy!  This should be really good! From FFWD…

http://www.ffwdweekly.com/Issues/2006/0727/in.htm

 

Rhodes scholar and road warrior
Kris Kristofferson has no need to coast on his merits
>>PREVIEW
CALGARY FOLK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Kris Kristofferson
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.

 

 

Early Morning

 

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

Aurelio Martinez

Robbie Fulks

Jeff Healey

Bedouin Soundclash

Macy Gray
Emcees:
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.

 

New Step and Other Things

I was pretty pleased that my friend came by and built the step down into my studio that I have needed for quite some time…also some caulking was done around the foundation to ensure that the water wouldn’t seep in when the heavy rains come.  I got a few pieces of my landscaping boards cut at the same time.
 
My children both worked hard…we set down so many more stones that my dearest DJ brought home on his past trip…from as far away as Wells, Nevada….the Great Divide between Montana and Idaho….Prickly Pear Creek…all so beautiful in the light!  We learned that there was too much of a dip in the first layout of the rocks…so in a matter of an afternoon, all moss and stone was pulled out…the grade built up and things set right again!  Wowsers!
 
It has been a ‘magical’ thing to build…build all sorts of stuff this summer.  I am blessed!

The Godfather

My son and I watched The Godfather and The Godfather Part II over the last few days and will complete the series with Godfather Part III by tomorrow afternoon.  I had seen these in the past, but we have agreed over time to watch all of the Academy Award winning Best Pictures together.  We have viewed the following films in chronological order…we’ve had fun observing some of the early effects, storylines and characterization.  We are learning about how over time, movies have evolved. 
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!

 

Corona

It’s 10:00 at night.  Laurie-dog and I just came in from another marathon-evening of landscaping…and NOT of the painting-variety.  It was too dark to take a bird’s-eye-view photograph…but apart from three pieces, I’m finished spiking the sleepers into my boardwalk (with 24" bar) to the studio and out to the new gate.  I’ll order the topsoil now and fill the flower beds, rake the grade and plant some seed.
 
After that, I’ll install the landscape cloth and order the gravel for the section nearest the gate and a light layer on the ground fabric.  From there, it’s a matter of using deck screws to install the boards.
 
Apart from working on the second flat rock patio over time, I’ll be through landscaping for the summer of 2006.  Quite the effort has been made and single-handedly! Yippee!  While I was at Home Depot today I picked up a 24 " square of hardboard to paint a Pelican piece in acrylic…while I’ve been slinging a sledge hammer, I’ve been visualizing a series of pieces, all square formats and I’m feeling ready to begin.
 
I’ve popped a bottle of ice cold Corona…and Laurie-dog is at my feet.  A very wonderful feeling…satisfying…
 

The Fisher King

 
Summertime…and when I’m not digging, hiking, painting or spiking, I like to relax and watch movies.  This morning I put on my coffee after my run and sat down to watch The Fisher King, a movie I saw several years ago and never forgot.
 
To begin with, Robin Williams is just an exceptional actor in his role as Parry….add to that the fact that this movie captures a sense of magic and ritual and this is one to add to my collection of favourites!
 
I like the moment in the film when Robin, lying on his back naked in the park, relates the story of the Fisher King.  I’ve included a link to a wonderful site that gives some of the legend and mythology around the notion of the grail and some Arthurian ‘stuff’.
 

Jane Urquhart’s Writing Process

I love the characters that evolve in Jane Urquhart’s writing, as much as those created by Mary Gordon.  Both women are amazing writers. 
 
Tonight I completed Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood and while compelling, the work itself did not emerge for me as art…rather, an intentional exploration and an intellectual journey.
 
Over the past many years I have been fond of pouring over one author after another, mostly female writers.  Pearl S. Buck and Margaret Laurence, Sharon Butala (and if you are reading this and you are the one who borrowed my copy of The Perfection of the Morning; please return it!), Carol Shields, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Gordon, Urquhart and now Atwood.  Second to these, I have enjoyed Anita Diamant (while her reading list is relatively short) and Anita Shreve.
 
I’ve found some interesting ‘bits’ in my reading about Urquhart tonight…these thoughts capture some of the challenges I feel as each new canvas presents itself to me.  While the ideas that are given birth in my mind are so many and absolutely clear…it is more a mystery what happens as the image emerges. 
 

"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"

 

When asked,

"Do you have a novel in mind?"

 

She says,

"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.

 

http://www.januarymagazine.com/profiles/urquhart.html

 

 
    The Godfather

    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


    DIRECTOR
    : Francis Ford Coppola
    STUDIO
    : Paramount Pictures
    RATING
    : R
    WEBSITE (IMDb):
    www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646
    RELEASE DATE: March 24, 1972
    QUOTE: "I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse"

     

    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
    STUDIOS
    : Paramount Pictures, The Coppola Company, American Zoetrope
    RATING
    : R
    WEBSITE (IMDb):
    www.imdb.com/title/tt0071562
    RELEASE DATE: December 20, 1974
    QUOTE: "You broke my heart. You broke my heart!"