Sunday, August 20, 2006

Christmas music, making music, daily practice and other things

Christmas carols, dying wishes, and what’s needed for a good performance -- these three elements have played into the last several days, during which I’ve also been thinking about vocation, changes, moving house, Ireland, Nashville, New England, and of course, music. All this through the prism of music and back, in a way.

I ran across a blog started by a woman after she had sat with her stepfather in the time between when he’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness and when he died, which turned out to be thirty-seven days. I am not putting the link here, you’ll find it if you need. The idea in a way is more powerful than her telling of it: she decided then to wake up each morning with the question of how would she live if she only had thirty seven days left. Very different answers to that one for each of us, of course. But a show stopping thought, if not neccesarily a daily practice I'd embrace.

Good performance: I was reading Tommy Sands' memoir, Songman. In a passing comment in a chapter about a deranged fan, he noted that to give a good performance one needs mentally to fling one’s mind open wide and embrace the audience. And one’s heart, I would add. Plays in with the ideas sparked above, too.

Christmas -- okay, it’s August. So it is a good thing to be doing reviews of Christmas records. I am going to revisit this closer to the winter holidays, but for now I will say the best one I’d heard so far that I had not before is Harvey Reid and Joyce Anderson’s Christmas Morning. An old favorite or two, in case you’d like to get going on your holiday listening too: Narada's Best of Celtic Christmas, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison’s Merry Christmas, and Tish Hinojosa's From Texas on a Christmas Night. Christmas music is not only for the Christmas season, and that continues the ideas above, if you're open to it..

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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