I Love Music

My darlings,

How can it already be August 18th???  This summer has come and passed so quickly.  There have been so many fun outings and trips I’ve done in the past several weeks.  So, allow me to share with you now that I am coming off the most incredible week of concerts I have ever experienced………!!!!!!!!

I could write volumes about how much I’ve appreciated music’s healing power in my life in the past year.  But I won’t belabor the point, because I fear that words cannot even capture how much I love music and value it in my life now.  Just hear me say this, “I LOVE MUSIC,” and multiply it by a factor of like 10,000 million gzillion.  So you get my point.

So I’ll try to capture the amazingness that was this past week full of live music with a few pictures and comments.

So Iron and Wine opened the show at the Idaho Botanical Gardens on Thursday night. It was really just Sam Beam playing acoustically by request--people up front would just yell out songs they wanted to hear, and he would oblige. He was so amazing--sounded so clear and just like he does recorded. It was hard for me to listen, in a way, because his music is basically the soundtrack of the spring that my husband and I met and fell in love. It brought me to tears hearing all those songs that played while we were getting to know each other and hanging around in each other's dorm rooms, and then kissing and laying in bed together, wondering what would come of this young love. I was tempted not to go to the concert out of my fear of how I would feel listening to him, but I'm so glad that I went. Most of this past year I've tried to rise up to challenges rather than let my fear of them keep me from the experience. Music hits me so deeply now--it cuts through all my thoughts and arguments and memories and just hits me right in my soul. After he came offstage, Sam walked along the fence and just greeted and talked to everyone who came up. I shook his hand and told him thank you for playing and sharing his music. I told him that in a way it was hard to listen to for the memories it invoked, but that ultimately it was healing. He was so gracious and also said thank you for my kind words. He is such a gifted writer; I love the way he tells stories with his songs. He only played for an hour, but when I went home I listened to him for like two hours, and just let myself bawl my eyes out in remembering that sweet time with my husband--then boyfriend, now ex-husband I suppose. It's so painful, yet so freeing to just lay on my couch for hours, listening to music and letting my tears fall down my face. I feel overwhelmed in the moment, but I know it's more overwhelming thinking of holding all that in for the rest of my life.

So Iron and Wine opened the show at the Idaho Botanical Gardens on Thursday night.  It’s an incredibly beautiful concert venue that’s basically a lawn in front of the Boise Foothills.  It only holds a few thousand people, so it feels quite intimate.  Sam Beam played solo and acoustically by request–people up front just yelled out songs they wanted to hear, and he obliged. He was so amazing, sounding so clear and just like he does on record.  It was hard for me to listen, in a way, because his music is basically the soundtrack of the spring that my husband and I met and fell in love.  It brought me to tears hearing all those songs that played while we were getting to know each other and hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms, and then kissing and laying in bed together, and then wondering what would come of our young love.  I was tempted not to go to the concert out of my fear of how I would feel listening to these songs, but I’m so glad that I went.  Most of this past year I’ve tried to rise up to emotional challenges rather than let my fear of them keep me from the experience.  Music hits me so deeply now–it cuts through all my thoughts and arguments and memories and  excuses and just hits me right in my soul.  After he came offstage, Sam walked along the fence and greeted and talked to everyone who came up.  I shook his hand and thanked him for playing and sharing his music.  I told him that in a way it was hard to listen to, for the memories it evoked, but that ultimately it was healing.  He was so gracious and also said thank you for my kind words.  He is such a gifted writer; I love the way he tells stories with his songs.  He only played for an hour, but when I went home I listened to him online for like two hours, and just let myself bawl my eyes out, remembering that sweet time with my husband–then boyfriend, now ex-husband, I realize.  It’s so painful, yet so freeing to just lay on my couch for hours, listening to music and letting my tears fall down my face.  It’s overwhelming in the moment, but I know it would be more overwhelming to hold all that in for the rest of my life.

So here is one of my favorite Iron and Wine songs:  The Trapeze Swinger

 Please remember me, happily
 By the rosebush laughing
 With bruises on my chin, the time when
 We counted every black car passing
 Your house beneath the hill and up until
 Someone caught us in the kitchen
 With maps, a mountain range, a piggy bank
 A vision too removed to mention
 But please remember me, fondly
 I heard from someone you're still pretty
 And then they went on to say that the Pearly Gates
 Had some eloquent graffiti
 Like 'We'll meet again' and 'Fuck the man'
 And 'Tell my mother not to worry'
 And angels with their great handshakes
 But always done in such a hurry
 And please remember me, at Halloween
 Making fools of all the neighbors
 Our faces painted white, by midnight
 We'd forgotten one another
 And when the morning came I was ashamed
 Only now it seems so silly
 That season left the world and then returned
 And now you're lit up by the city
 So please remember me, mistakenly
 In the window of the tallest tower
 Call, then pass us by but much too high
 To see the empty road at happy hour
 Gleam and resonate just like the gates
 Around the Holy Kingdom
 With words like, 'Lost and found' and 'Don't look down'
 And 'Someone save temptation'
 And please remember me as in the dream
 We had as rug-burned babies
 Among the fallen trees and fast asleep
 Beside the lions and the ladies
 That called you what you like and even might
 Give a gift for your behavior
 A fleeting chance to see a trapeze
 Swinger high as any savior
 But please remember me, my misery
 And how it lost me all I wanted
 Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
 The colored birds above there running
 In circles round the well and where it spells
 On the wall behind St. Peter
 So bright on cinder gray in spray paint
 'Who the hell can see forever?'
 And please remember me, seldomly
 In the car behind the carnival
 My hand between your knees, you turn from me
 And said the trapeze act was wonderful
 But never meant to last, the clowns that passed
 Saw me just come up with anger
 When it filled with circus dogs, the parking lot
 Had an element of danger
 So please remember me, finally
 And all my uphill clawing
 My dear, but if I make the Pearly Gates
 I'll do my best to make a drawing
 Of God and Lucifer, a boy and girl
 An angel kissin' on a sinner
 A monkey and a man, a marching band
 All around the frightened trapeze swinger

So the headliner that night was Brandi Carlile.  I wasn’t very familiar with her–only had heard a few of her songs on the mainstream radio–but had heard that she has the best and most unique female voice currently out there.  She was SO amazing.  They totally rocked the house, and I loved so many of her songs.  I wish I had such a strong voice and could move people as a singer the way she and other musicians do.  She also has amazing hair, I might add…  And, she’s from Seattle, so how could I not like her..?

"The Story" So the headliner that night at the Botanical Gardens was Brandi Carlile. I wasn't very familiar with her--only had heard a few of her songs on the mainstream radio--but had heard that she has the best and most unique female voice currently out there. She was SO amazing. They totally rocked the house all night, and I loved so many of her songs. I wish I had such a strong voice and could move people as a singer the way she and other musicians do. She also has amazing hair, I might add... And, she's from Seattle, so how could I not like her..??
 All of these lines across my face
 Tell you the story of who I am
 So many stories of where I've been
 And how I got to where I am
 But these stories don't mean anything
 When you've got no one to tell them to
 It's true... I was made for you
 
 I climbed across the mountain tops
 Swam all across the ocean blue
 I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
 But baby I broke them all for you
 Oh because even when I was flat broke
 You made me feel like a million bucks
 You do and I was made for you
 
 You see the smile that's on my mouth
 It's hiding the words that don't come out
 And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
 They don't know my head is a mess
 No, they don't know who I really am
 And they don't know what I've been through like you do
 And I was made for you...
 
 All of these lines across my face
 Tell you the story of who I am
 So many stories of where I've been
 And how I got to where I am
 But these stories don't mean anything
 When you've got no one to tell them to
 It's true... I was made for you
 
 Oh yeah, well it's true... that
 I was made for you...

So a few weeks ago I was home listening to the current recording on Pandora that is Mumford & Sons playing a live show and featuring their new album “Wilder Mind.”  I love that title, by the way.  I’ve grown to love my own wildness–not to resist it or resent it, but to embrace it as a wonderful and integral part of who I am.  Cheryl Strayed’s powerful autobiography Wild helped me acknowledge my own wildness–both its destructive capacity as well as its precious uniqueness.  Thoreau said this:  “All good things are wild and free.”  I am good.  I am wild.  I am free.

"It was my life—like all lives, 
mysterious and irrevocable and sacred.  
So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.  
How wild it was, to let it be." 
--Cheryl Strayed

So I decided that night, rocking out to Mumford while laying on my couch staring at the ceiling (not for the first time, I might add… :/ ) that there was no reason (not even a Presbytery meeting…) for me not to drive out to see Mumford in Walla Walla, WA.  (Anyone remember that hilarious piece from Mike Birbiglia about visiting “Waya Waya, Washington??”  If you haven’t heard it, click the link.  It’s hilarious.)  So Mumford are headlining a select few shows they’re calling “Gentlemen of the Road.”  They’ve chosen some relatively small/potentially obscure towns that normally wouldn’t be host to a huge music festival featuring one of the biggest bands in the world.  Thus, Walla Walla:  the quintessential farm town meets college town.  It is located in an absolutely stunning part of southeastern Washington.  You know that opening line from “America the Beautiful”

O beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

Well that pretty much describes Walla Walla, or at least the drive right up to the town.  There were endless rolling hills of wheat resting under the wide open blue sky.  Slowly the fields transitioned to orchards, where they grow delicious peaches and apples.  And those orchards eventually give way to the onion fields–you know, the ones that produce the famous “Walla Walla Sweet Onions.”  The local minor league baseball team is actually named the “Walla Walla Sweets” (which of course endearingly reminds me of the Lake Wobegon Whippets) and their mascot is Sweet Lou.  I had a few friends from high school who attended Whitman College for undergraduate, but I’d never actually been to Walla Walla.  It is in the heart of wine country–I guess I forgot to mention the thousands of acres of vineyards that also surround the town–and the town is filled with lovely shops and tasting rooms.  The GOTR tour is so unique and incredible because it’s designed to essentially take over a great town for a whole weekend, so that it’s like a full-immersion experience of place, people, and music.  They achieved their intention, if I do say so myself.  The weekend was sooooooo amazing.  Posters for GOTR were plastered everywhere and welcomed everyone to the town for the festival weekend.  Everyone camped on the local golf course across the highway from where the main stage was, and the town was set apart as a pedestrian zone, so basically there were just thousands of people walking around, listening to various shows and enjoying a truly “festive” festival atmosphere.  It was so awesome, and the music was only part of what made it so great.

So a few weeks ago I was home listening to the current recording on Pandora that is Mumford and Sons playing a live show and featuring their new album--

GOTR cement GOTR union jack i heart walla walla pilgrimage to music mecca Sweet Lou Tent City

It took me six and a half hours to get there after work on Friday, when it should have been four.  Mother Nature decided to implement a scorched earth policy on Eastern Oregon, which meant that the freeway closed when the wildfires began jumping the lanes and trying to spread to the other side.  That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke:  Why did the fire cross the road?  …  To burn the shit out of more wilderness on the other side…  At first I was worried about how I’d get there when there is literally one road into Boise and the same road out.  Fortunately the gas station manager told me a way to bushwhack up and around and back down to Baker City, where I could get back on the open highway and keep heading north toward Walla Walla.  I had a spiritual revelation while driving, which is that sometimes our path takes us places we weren’t planning on going, but which ultimately are more beautiful and enjoyable than the direction we were originally headed, and which protect us from dangers we would have encountered had we continued in the original direction we were heading.  My drive took me through miles and miles of Idaho backcountry, and ultimately up through Hell’s Canyon.  IT WAS SOOOOO GORGEOUS.  There’s some crazy part of me that wants/thinks I can actually drive like every single road in the state of Idaho.  I know I won’t ever really do that, but I can say that my unexpected detour on Friday evening took me through an incredibly beautiful part of this state that I now call home.  I’m grateful for that excursion–that it reminded me that most of life is following a series of unexpected turns through wilderness, peaks, and valleys that reveal to us the great beauty of life.Hell's Canyon

So I caught about the last 45 minutes of the Foo Fighters’ epic show on Friday night.  Dave Grohl broke his leg playing a show in Sweden a few weeks ago, so you gotta hand it to him for playing almost three hours of hard core rock from a huge throne built just for him on this tour.

Most of Saturday I enjoyed strolling through town, visiting lots of cute shops and people watching.  I did see a great show by this lovely couple who make music together, Grace and Tony.  I listened to their album the whole drive home, and particularly love this song:

NOVEMBER by Grace & Tony
 Broken bones draggin’ along
 Humming empty words to empty songs
 Falling through the motions to a level I'd never known
 These were disappointed eyes
 Lit by burning bridges all around
 Left alone with what I’d sewn for years and years and years
 I was living right where I belonged
 And then something happened just along the way
 Something picked me up and dragged me through those days
 And I was wrong when I
 Decided I would never meet somebody like you
 You saved this life
 Suddenly a chemistry
 Of good and bad began to work as one
 Dreams of happiness were blown away by total bliss
 November held a love I’d never known
 And then something happened just along the way
 Something picked me up and dragged me through those days
 And I was wrong when I
 Decided I would never meet somebody like you
 You saved this life, this life

And on the eighth day, God created Mumford & Sons.  And it was good.  Like I said at the beginning, I don’t think I even want to try to explain how amazing it was to sit at their feet and sing my heart out and jump and dance and party it up for almost three hours.  They were amazing.  If you ever get the chance to see them, do it, and enjoy every second of their amazing performance.

There are more pictures I want to add of the band, but wordpress sucks and is being stupid now, so it won’t upload them.  I’ll try to fix the problem later.  😦

Lastly, this has nothing to do with the concerts I’ve seen, but it’s a song I love and wanted to share with you all.

 The Civil Wars "Poison & Wine"

 You only know what I want you to
 I know everything you don't want me to
 Your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
 You think your dreams are the same as mine
 
 Oh I don't love you but I always will
 Oh I don't love you but I always will
 Oh I don't love you but I always will
 I always will
 
 I wish you'd hold me when I turn my back
 The less I give the more I get back
 Oh your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
 I don't have a choice, but I still choose you
 
 Oh I don't love you but I always will 
 I always will

That is all.

Liz

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