Strong Winds, Destroy our Homes?

21 10 2016

‘Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih. Somebody cry why, why, why?’ Some of you might remember Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ and these lines form the song ‘Homeless.’ ‘Strong wind, destroy our home. Many dead tonight, it could be you.’ Fortunately for the Pacific Northwest, last weekend’s storm was not as strong as had been forecast. Yet, some of us still sing, ‘We are homeless, homeless.’ Interestingly, this song creates two related thoughts, the first, we don’t know nature as well as we believe, and the more resources we have to understand and adapt, the more likely we will survive intact. The second thought, that Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album is one of the ancestors of Millennium Blues.

First, the impact of this weekend’s storm was lessened due to their being two central points of circulation within the storm itself. These decentralized points contributed to the overall reduction of the storm’s wind speed. In terms of social knowledge, perhaps equating the two eyes as the homeless and the sheltered is not so far fetched. Since each of these groups have adapted/adopted behaviors which allow for their continued survival among the resources they have access to. Some of the in common behaviors may be reaching out to peers, and acknowledging the power of nature and natural law. While those with more limited resources may place more emphasis on utilization of resources in more efficient manners, and those with greater resources may place more of a focus on political skills, or delegation of resources and responsibilities.

The second thought that the song creates for me, and how it relates to the Millennium Blues is perhaps more an outline of how these factors work together. As in music, the differing ideas created by the rhythms and melodies which result in the harmonic vibration  of a new note are at the essence of exploring Millennium Blues as an art form. The new ideas which are imparted to a new demographic of listeners, as well as presenting older ideas in a new rhythmic structure are the essence of music and art, being able to be a part of this tradition, as ancient and venerable as it is, is one of the reasons that Millennium Blues will continue to play homage to ancestral arias, as well as blaze ahead in the direction of sound that no band has thought to tame.

Hey Look a Squirrel!

14 10 2016

I’m sure you know that the blues are a very natural part of music, and nature is of course part of the blues, I’ve thought since I began to listen to lyrics, that most great songs included elements of nature. Here is one of my adventures with one of Mother Earth’s smaller children, which is also available in my book The Handbook of Poetic Phonetics.


I’m still not sure why he called me. It may have had something to do with my eccentricity. The front desk attendant had called to ask if I would help to get a squirrel out of another guest’s room. It seemed like an interesting challenge, so I accepted, and went off on a squirrel hunt. The Japanese couple showed no signs of relief as we entered the room, perhaps if I had been wearing a uniform? The squirrel was in the walk in closet, so I went in to talk.
Squirrels are normally very excitable, and I’d imagine that being trapped in a closet had pushed the little guy into an enhanced state of wtfness. I remembered an interesting part of Alice Walker’s “The Temple of My Familiar”, wherein she describes being able to communicate with any creature whose eyes we may look into. I was about to put her information to the test. As the squirrel was demonstrating his level of freaked-outedness by doing several laps around the shelves of the closet, the attendant was getting curious about what was going on, and was talking about calling a professional.
They say that squirrels are quite friendly, and as we were getting to know each other, the desk clerk opened the door. The squirrel ran out of the closet and into the room. The couple was slightly more interested now, and I grabbed a towel from the back of a chair, as the squirrel ran back into the closet. The clerk was still
asking to calling a professional, and I assured him that I would be able to handle it. After following the squirrel into the closet, I shut the door. As before, I was following the squirrel’s eyes and imagining the trees that I was sure the squirrel was missing.
I was imparting the idea of safety, and to demonstrate such, I spread the towel out with my hands and bowed my head to the squirrel as a way of waving the white flag. At some point the squirrel had stopped running around the shelves, and I was slightly startled when the flightless Sciuridae perhaps imitating the fighting Uruk-hai, hopped onto my shoulders. This must have been the point when the squirrel was testing me to see if trust would be possible. For some reason, after another lap around the closet shelves, the squirrel stopped on a shirt hanging from the shelves and stayed. Because of the look I was receiving, and the fact that for the first time, the squirrel had stopped within my reach, I felt that it was now time.
Using the towel as a glove, I picked up the squirrel with my hand, opened the closet door and walked to the window. I wish I had more recollection of the looks on the guests and the desk clerks face, though I really just wanted to get the squirrel to the open window. As the squirrel was very close, jumping towards the window was the best bet in the squirrels mind. Free, trees and grass for the rambunctious rodent. The only harm I received was a scratch so light, it took several hours to bleed through. I only noticed in the morning. I do hope that the Japanese couple were entertained enough to have an interesting story for their travel home. I still wonder if I should have charged the hotel.

The Truth is the Truth

11 10 2016

As in “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and “One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain”. Self-evident: for a phrase from a bunch of bible thumping white guys, who had just defended their turf against what was probably the largest military industrial power for most of the 18th century, it packs power. Of course, as a musician I prefer “What It Is, IS What It Is” which has the same meaning, but lends itself to rhythm with much more mojo.

Mojo, the magic, the method, what gets it done. Mojo, which woke me up in the middle of the night to hear Mike Murdock describing ways in which he had been blessed by his biblical belief. The stories he shared were detailed and decisive through his delivery. He mentioned tithing his last hundred dollars one day; and the next sitting in a church where a guest pianist was playing and remarked on how the lord had told him to give Mike a hundred dollar bill. Not necessarily remarkable for any who practice peace, though I was struck by a memory of Jun-san, a Buddhist nun I met on the Walk for Justice to raise awareness about Leonard Peltier. Jun-san had shared one of her first visits to the U.S. in which she was ‘moved’ to go to a certain street corner, and wait there. After a few moments, someone drove up, asked her if she was Jun-san and when she replied, the person said ‘I was told to bring you money’ and gave her a few hundred dollars.

What it is, is What it is. These stories are self-evident, the truth that Mike and Jun-san shared essentially proof of Oneness, Connectedness, Divinity, and my favorite, the Funk. Truth, Tradition and Tribe are a commonality in each of these stories. The fact each of these people experienced the favor of the force from vastly varied foundations furthers my faith, belief and gratitude while providing insight into what I believe may be the greatest jedi mind trick of them all: LISTENING.