Since early September, when my baby Sam was scalded, it has been one thing after another in this family and in this life. And the year ended with an onslaught of new woes.
No, I don’t want to talk about it.
The music on my half hour ride to and from work got narrowed to the most transcendent and comforting. For a very long time the only thing I could listen to was Russian chant and polyphony, the Sacred Treasures version, which omits all of those bass voices singing dramatically. It just has the sweet parts. Imagine the autumnal Ohio countryside, fading into grey November and white winter:
As time went on I was able to incorporate other soothing and sweet music, like Vashti Bunyan, the archetypal sixties earth angel, who traveled by horse and wagon through England and into Scotland, finally arriving in the Hebrides, where she settled and had her babies.
This is one of my favorites, and while it emotes Spring let me assure you that if you listen to this song on the greyest day of November, when you are really sad, it will palpably make everything better, at least for two minutes:
Not that she did not have a melancholy side. I listened to this song a lot, though more in December than in November, which was mild aside from a week of winter:
I also listened to my old favorite, Nick Drake, until I was sated:
Lately I have even ventured, cautiously, into jazz. I have been listening over and over to early Pharoah Sanders, one of the great musicians I got to know as an 18 year old college kid, raised in an all white town, who found himself with three black roommates from Detroit, one of whom loved music. I cannot listen to about half of this album, as it is atonal and chaotic, which hurts my head. I appreciate Mr Sanders soulful sax, but it works better for me when it is melodic:
But as transcendent as that is nothing compares to this for sheer joy:
At this rate, barring further trauma, by Spring I may be ready for rock and roll….
Painting by Ohio artist Frank Hobbs