Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Water Sustains Me

I can't remember the last time I laid on the beach with my iPod. Just me and Johnny Flynn......

I have a lot of plans for this week with my family and most of them circle around the water which is funny since I can't swim. I mean I'm not inept, I can float but I wouldn't be be able to save myself or anyone else should there be trouble. So, my plans circle around the water, but not actually in the water. But even I can admit that there is something peaceful about the water.

I bought clothes for everyone to take family photos and photos of the kids on the beach. I've tried this before but when I'm anywhere near the beach a rain cloud seems to follow me. I think we had one remotely sunny day the last time we were at the beach. I'm not really a beach person so maybe that's part of the issue. I'd rather vacation under huge every greens than a hot sticky beach, while I chase my porcelain doll of a daughter around with sunscreen and cover ups, but I know most people feel differently. My ideal beach vacation involves littel sun, my iPod tuned to THIS song and a vacant beach but for myself and agin, ever greens. Sue me, I like trees.

So, the beach it is. I'm just excited for the change of scenery. I also bought a cool hat in an attempt to keep the sun off of my shoulders, I'm excited for that! I certainly love the water, even if from afar. I'm all over the indoor pool!!!

I also got a new CD for the trip. Laura Marling and her voice is friggen amazing! Another "thank you" that I owe to Johnny Flynn!

Tell me she isn't amazing!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thank You Johnny Flynn!

I hate going to concerts in the summer, well, the outdoor ones anyway. A little rain won't kill me but it's the oppressive heat that causes me such grief. I wouldn't even have minded the crazy ass downpour that hit Merriweather last night because the heat is chased away was mind altering. I swear, heat like we had today makes me want to beat the shit out of someone. I'd pick someone stupid, but still. How people work on roofs, lay tar or build fences on days like today is beyond me.

This is why I sit under the pavilion whenever possible. I'm not against lawn seats if a band is worthy, and this one was but I have to really like you because I'm all about personal space. The water, I can handle. Some drunk 17 year old who can't hold his liquor as he rolls down the hill while trying to impress some chick, not so much.

It was hard to sit in our seats with sweat running down by back so when the wind picked up and whipped under the tented area of the pavilion, I was glad that it signaled a storm coming. Something had to give because the heat was making me feel evil and during one of the opening act, Matthew and the Atlas, it started pouring and I mean pouring like a bitch! Rain seemed to be comes sideways and it whipped up under that tent and got all of us! I'm not complaining because I'd rather be wet than hot but I felt bad for the people on the lawn. The show was sold out so there were A LOT of people on the lawn!

I'd never heard of Mumford & Sons before Johnny Flynn. I discovered them while doing my searches for more of his music and in my daily Johnny Flynn Google alerts. I like to keep on top of what he's doing so I don't miss anything which is easy to do. It's not like his tour schedule is going to be on MTV. Had I not been following him so closely, I could have missed how great Mumford & Sons are.

I bought tickets a while ago, around the same time I bought the Johnny Flynn tickets and I've been excited about going. Clearly I love Johnny Flynn more than anyone else but Mumford & Sons are in the same "family" as it were. Very talented and they put on a hell of a show. They had two opening bands, one I really liked (Matthew and the Atlas) and other wasn't really my thing but I LOVED Mumford! I'm so glad I sent to see them because I don't think you can really appreciate them until you see them live.

I would have liked to take 1100 photographs like I had at Johnny Flynn but Merriweather's camera policy blows. No professional cameras. So stupid to tell people they can only bring shitty cameras. What's the point in that? Of course you aren't supposed to shoot video either and you'll see in a second how well I followed that policy.

They opened the show with Sign No More and played all of the songs from their CD as well as new songs they've been working on. Everything sounded great, especially my favorite of their songs, Timshel.

I've been to tons of concerts, a lot at Merriweather but this is the first time that someone clapped so hard behind me that I could feel it in my chest. The place was really loud and full of energy. I could feel the whole place stomping during The Cave. It was nice. They mentioned this was the biggest show they've ever played, which rocks!

I'd totally go see them again!

This is a quick video of the rain:

On a total side note, seeing this was like a stab in the heart! 1990? Really??

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

If a Song Were My Mistress......

I love this song more every day. It's easy to gauge since I can't remember the last full 24 hours I went without playing it. I'm not sure I'm capable of it. I love it so much that I secretly want to beat my husband when he asks me to turn it off. It's worth it though. Calling it a really good song seems blasphemous when it really is poetry more than anything else.

I also love that my 4 year old calls this "Our song" and sings to it in the car.

The Wrote and the Writ. Brilliance.

"The letters that you left behind
No longer shall I read
Your blood's between the pages
And I can't stand to see you bleed."

Oh Johnny Flynn, how you tease me.......

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nothing Like the Smell of Racism in the Morning!

We've lived in this house for over four years. I'm terrible with dates and always have been but this date is easy to remember because it was my actual scheduled due date with my son and since he came early, we ended up moving just two days out of the hospital after my c-section. The market sucked then as it does now so you took what you could get. As it was they'd wanted us to move within 30 days and knocked up and sick as a dog, that was an impossibility.

So we moved here when I was still so sick that I was unable to go to settlement for either sale, which has always annoyed me. Before I had my son, that's what I did for a living. I sold new homes and went to settlement after settlement so it was difficult to sit home and send my husband. I like to control things and would have enjoyed running that show. It was the coldest month of the year as well so I didn't feel comfortable having Owen out in the bitter cold, first time mom shit and all.

When we bought this house we knew there were certain things that had to happen. We needed new windows because as God is my witness, the windows in this house were older than I am! When we opened them (when that was even possible) they would fall in on us and when they were "closed" you could see daylight through the cracks. We just wanted to feel more secure, have our heating and cooling bills go down and not have to prop the window open with the box my zoom lens came in. We also needed a new fence.

Our property is over .7 of an acre and most of it is in the back yard, where we need fencing. There is a fence already there and while as a photographer, I find beauty in it, I think I'm the only one. It's old, it's worn, there are holes in it. Mostly from our neighbors backing into it (without the balls to admit it) but most of all, it's just poorly constructed. What moron builds a fence without having the top slats end on a post? I've never built a fence and even I know that's more secure.

Anyhoo, the guy we hired showed up with his crew this morning at 7:57 AM. I know this because I was sitting in the sunroom with my laptop and looked down as I saw him parking on the side of my house. He didn't knock on the door and instead got busy setting up and then they started to remove the first section of old fencing.

At 8:20, and I know what time it was because again, I was in the sunroom watching Kipper and I had my laptop on a pillow in my lap, I saw two Anne Arundel County cruisers coming down my street. They weren't just driving by, they were going somewhere. I saw one slow and then pull onto the private drive on the side of my house, where the workers were parked. This is the private drive to the 3 homes on the drive.

I got up and walked into my daughter's room to look out and make sure nothing was going on over there, even though I knew nothing was. I saw one cop car pull all the way to the back of the drive, while on his radio, look around and start to pull back out, rolling his window down to speak to the workers. Then he drove back to the end of the drive, waved off the other cruiser and they both left.

Here's why this is offensive, some jackass called the police because there are black people in my yard? What kind of phone call was that from one of my racist ass neighbors? "I SEE BLACK PEOPLE!" WTF?

I don't blame the police for coming because I'm sure they were responding to a call, which they should do but don't then make up something like, 'Hey, what's this car doing parked on this private drive, in the yard of this private residence?' Why do they even care? My guess is that they don't. If I want a car parked in the center of my lawn, I CAN DO THAT! MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND FIND SOMETHING WORTH DOING!

What would make someone see a flatbed truck pull up and think "Someone's gettin' robbed!" I get that one of the workers has his own car, which is super nice but still, what about that says a crime is 'bout to be commited besides the fact that they're black? That's hella offensive!

This is the car, which is now parked in my driveway because they got another shipment of fencing and needed to move it. No worries, the driver of that truck was white so no one called the police. All whiteys are safe in Anne Arundle County today!

Please, I beg, don't as my neighbor, no matter who you are, EVER tell me that you did that because I'm gonna call you out on your fear of all things black.

All this early morning activity almost made me forget how sad I was that my rustic old fence was going the way of the county dump. So, racism aside, I'm going to miss my rustic, old, worn, broken fence. I've taken so many photos that I love of my children in front of it and I'm sad that the new fence, no matter how awesome, just won't look the same in photos. It took everything I had not to ask them to leave a section behind but my husband would have laughed me out of the house.

Even one of my favorite self portraits wouldn't be the same without my fence in the background.

Finding beauty in simple things. That's what I bring.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Fell in Love With Johnny Flynn Last Night...Again!

Seeing Johnny Flynn live is the equivalent of waking up one day and realizing that you've never had good sex. Everyone should be this good. When I think of how much money I've spent on shitty music, it makes me ill. Everyone I give my money to should be as talented as he is. It took everything I had this morning as I sat looking at my "other" CDs to not gather them all and throw them in the trash. He makes it look simple, but I know it really isn't. You can be taught how to play guitar or even violin but talent like this, you're born with. It isn't available to just anyone. Guitar, brass, violin, mandolin, and that voice. That voice. I'm starting to think there is nothing he can't do.

I've heard before that lightening doesn't strike twice. I can tell you that last night I learned that that is total bullshit! I was both lucky and smart enough to see Johnny Flynn play at Sonar in Baltimore on October 25th of last year. I'd never seen him live before and it doesn't seem like all that long ago when I didn't know who he was. A friend sent me one of his songs (Brown Trout Blues) via email. I fell in love with it instantly which is my way. I either totally hate something (which is usually the case) or I love it so much that it quickly becomes an obsession. Johnny Flynn is my newest obsession.

I loved this random sign in the alley above the door into the venue.

We got to Ottobar in Baltimore super early and were gleefully first in line. We had to wait outside about an hour but I felt zero shame in that. I got there early because I knew what I wanted and I was hell bent on getting it. At the last show I was able to stand directly in front of his mic stand and miss nothing and I wanted the same this time around. I know they'll probably be a time when it won't be so easy. He deserves more fame than he's got because he's so talented and clearly works hard and I think I want that for him. I'd like him to be successful (which he is because he makes music he loves without compromising) but I'm not sure I'd wish fame on anyone. It looks like a gigantic phony pain in the ass to me and I'll miss that spot at the mic.

After I claimed my spot, front and center and waited maybe 30 minutes or so, the music started. There were two supporting bands, the first of which was made up of members of The Sussex Wit. For the life of me I have no idea what their name was because I never heard anyone say it. I'm sure they did and I just missed it but a chick next to me asked the singer the name and he said it and I still missed it. Sucks to be me I guess.

He played keyboards and sang with no shoes on. Something I would have probably done as the redneck in me hates to wear shoes. It's nice to know that's universal.

The second was Caitlin Rose whose voice I loved. I had a hard time figuring them out because while she was hella cute, she was wearing boots, short shorts and a leather jacket and had an Indi kinda voice but she had two British brothers in her band, one which played the slide guitar. I kinda had an idea what I was in for when I saw the slide guitar, which I noticed was made in Nashville.

Even though I'm originally from Nashville, I've never been a fan of the slide guitar. I've heard magic worked with it but that twangy Nashville sound, I've never liked. They were good though. It just made me wonder where they're or she I guess is originally from so I came home and Googled her. She's from Nashville, which totally clears everything up for me. I also watched a few videos on her website which were pretty cool. She's interesting and seems fun. I like to look at someone and not see their potential and then be smacked down when they open their mouths. It's refreshing.

Enter Johnny Flynn.

He spent time setting up the equipment and tuning his resonator guitar right in front of me. I think this guitar is the coolest thing I've ever seen and I've seen it so much that I think I could pick it out of a lineup. It looks like it's got a metal veggie steamer on the front and I remember him saying last time that it was made in 1934. So it's an old guitar that he spends a lot of time tuning between songs, but it sounds wonderful!

The first song he played was The Box, which sounded awesome! It really was fun to have drums and all the other instruments there to get the full effect. I loved him so much when I saw him in October and I wasn't sure I'd appreciate the band being there. There's something amazing about hearing a beautiful voice like that in a room with nothing but an accompanying guitar. It's very intimate but if a concert with a full band can be intimate, last night was.

They played most of my favorite songs but not all. Playing all of his songs that I love would be impossible but they played the favorites, which is what I expected. I'd really wanted to hear Kentucky Pill last time and didn't, which I found odd, but whatever. I just wanted to hear him and wasn't disappointed. But it had been the first time I'd ever seen someone live and their CD wasn't out yet and they didn't play the first single from their new CD.

They all sounded great and the drums were powerful. The Wrote and the Writ is my favorite of his songs with Shore to Shore, Barnacled Warship and Brown Trout Blues just behind and he played all but Shore to Shore so I can't complain. Someday I'd like to hear that song live but I'm not holding my breath. Not sure why he hasn't played it because it's an excellent song, but it is what it is. Maybe he plays it other places and I just missed it. Although I've checked set lists and have yet to see it listed. Someday....

Love this one:
Although it was the end of the tour and he as well as everyone else was clearly exhausted, the music didn't suffer. He said they'd driven over 7,000 miles on this tour in a van with 7 people inside. I saw the van as I was leaving and the doors were open. What he didn't mention was that along with the 7 of them is all their shit. I don't know 7 people I would be capable of doing that with so I have even more respect for him now, especially since he has a new baby at home that he must be missing.

When starting out Churlish May he forgot the words and had to start over, but he's entitled. At least he didn't just gloss over it and keep going. I appreciated that he started over. It was kinda funny.

This is some of Kentucky Pill which went right into The Wrote and the Writ

Johnny Flynn is something we share in my house. My kids love him too! I don't really give them a choice but thankfully they seem to really like when I play him. They both ask for him by name and when I told my two year old I was going to see him last night, she ran across the kitchen singing "Cold bread, cold bread, we had!" In fact, I think that's the best thing about Johnny Flynn for me. I get to share him with my kids. My 4 year old so who has speech delays, sings his music daily and calls The Wrote and the Writ, "Our song." That's HUGE!

Another thing I love about Johnny Flynn is that that kind of talent is inspiring. I was inspired to record some of his songs last night. I was inspired to shoot over 1100 photos of he and the band last night. I was inspired to listen to his music all the way home and I was inspired to write as well, which I did and have spend the whole day doing. I got ideas during and after that show that I couldn't wait to get in my lap top. At 12:30 AM I wanted to at least make notes of everything so I wouldn't forget it today when my kids woke me up at 7 AM.

These are some of my other favorite photos of the night:

Everyone loves sharing what they love with their children. I read them books I love, we watch shows I love and I sing them songs I love daily. How nice it is to see and meet someone who is that for you. I don't want my children to grow up to be just like me. I want them to grow up with an understanding of how important self expression is and how vital it is to your well being. I want them to appreciate good music and fine art and have a love for it like their momma does.

I adore him so much that it was hard to walk away and leave him in Baltimore. The mother in me wants him to go home and spend time with his kid. The HUGE Johnny Flynn fan in me wants to beg him to come back. I thanked him for a kick ass performance and told him I hoped he'd return and left it at that after my husband took a few photos of us together.

Seriously, I can't even look at these photos without smiling! Totally priceless.

On the way to the show I was hella excited! I took this crappy photo on the way because it's something I always do:

On the way home I took this photo to show the excitement I was clearly feeling.

He also signed this for me and signed something for my friend Sam who loves him also. He asked me both times I've met him if my name had an e on the end. I just think that's funny. My husband said it's a British thing. Whatever. I don't even care.

While I was talking to him and he was signing my things, these two young girls (this was an all ages show) came up and started talking to him like teenagers do. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I got the feeling that his head was going to explode. If he wasn't spent by that point, he was well on his way after that.

So in trying to figure out which show I liked better, him alone or with the band, I came to this conclusion, I just can't decide. While I loved hearing him alone and the things he was able to do with that guitar, becasue he was alone and had to, it was nice to hear a band behind him and his sister siging as well. The drums were powerful on songs like Kentucky Pill, The Box and Barnacle Warship and the bass was a nice addition. It was also nice to see him play all of the other instruments this go around as it was just he and the guitar in October. I certainly am glad I was able to bring a real camera this time. I brought a PnS last time because the venue was less open to cameras. I never understand that. My photos are going to be on Flickr and my videos on You Tube. I'm spreading the word my friends. Isn't that a good thing?

I love Johnny Flynn, have I mentioned that?

You can see my blog from the last Johnny Flynn concert HERE.