If you want to kiss the sky better learn how to kneel...

Tonight our acoustic music (mostly) band played during the Third Thursday street fair in Pittsfield. We added some new tunes - "Mysterious Ways" and "Beautiful Day" - shared some of our favorites - "Slip Slidin' Away" and "One of Us" - and had a ball singing "Let It Be," "Isn't It a Pity," "Changes Come" and "Anthem." My two vocalists, who also play drums and recorder (and a little keyboard, too) are excellent musicians - they sing like angels - and can harmonize with one another like they were sisters. And while we are still finding our groove, there is a sort of Cowboy Junkies feel to many of our arrangements - slow, plaintive, slightly edgy with a sensual beauty - that feels very cool.

(check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHRFZFmEq9o)

In our candle lit sanctuary we sang songs of faith through the experience of contemporary secular music. I am especially loving "Falling Slowly" by the Swell Season and our very funky and sensual take on U2's "Mysterious Ways." That line: "to touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal if you want to kiss the sky better learn how to kneel (on your knees boy!)" sounds like an affirmation of faith to my rock'n'roll ears. Better than many creeds and a whole lot easier to comprehend. And the other - "you have suffered enough and warred with yourself its time that you won: take this sinking boat and point it home we've still got time" - should be required listening for every preacher in every seminary. Life is hard enough without all our guilt and confusion making it worse! (end of sermon) The quiet sensual pathos of "Falling Slowly" continues to be a prayer of solidarity for me. And then to play with Paul Simon's, "Slip Slidin' Away" - with that line about God's ways being unavailable to the mortal man..." - is just too much fun. And so another day comes to an end and I rejoice in the music and the friends who make it all possible.


Black Pete said…
Hey, thanks for this, RJ. "Slip Slidin' Away" has been off my radar for a long time, because I am turned off by Paul Simon's voice (embodied dreariness)--I'll google the lyric and give it some attention.

Break a leg--not a string!
RJ said…
You bete, black pete. I got a kick out seeing Simon on a recent Public Broadcasting Show re: being awarded a Gershwin prize and with his band this song had real punch and pathos (at least to me.) And then he did a month long gig at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts in which this song reappeared, too. So, being the quick learn I am, I gave another listen and found it made a connection in my heart with an African American gospel tune "Hush, Hush Somebody's Calling My Name" (same guitar shuffle sound)so we've sometimes tried doing them back to back. I could blather on forever about other things I like to play with in the song but... thanks, man.
Black Pete said…
No problem. And hey, I have two of his albums at home, anyway! My wife Joyce and I saw him in Winnipeg in the Born at the Right Time tour, when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant with our daughter.

The fetus kicked like a demon throughout the concert, and the doctors who kindly drove us the 90 minutes to see the show remarked that she would emerge from the womb dancing. In retrospect, they were not far wrong.

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