Archives for posts with tag: music

I’m well exhausted but can’t go to bed without giving you something new!

My day was consumed with my friends’ wedding, which I (and a lot of other friends) played music for. I don’t have a recording of us ready to share but I can give you the originals of the songs we covered. I think that my favorite is the weepies song, but it’s all pretty great.

Mumford and Sons – The Banjolin Song


The Black Keys – Everlasting Light


Cat Power – I Found a Reason


The Weepies – Somebody Loved


Jackie Wilson – Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher


I haven’t much time to write today; I’m off to see a double feature at a drive-in cinema. I had no idea that you could still find those. I’m pretty excited, actually. I’ve never seen a movie at a drive-in, and tonight I’m going to see two. In excellent company. First up is Man of Steel, which I don’t care about at all but other people in our crowd are excited to see. I’m really looking forward to Now You See Me. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s the new heist/illusionist movie with Michael Caine in. That’s all I needed to know to be drawn in.

I’d like to share a few things with you that I’ve found moving. Let’s begin with Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait with a Straw Hat.

Vincent van Gorman

Last week this face greeted me every time I stood from the desk I was working at. And every time, I thought, what a lovely painting of Dave Gorman. If you weren’t previously aware of the genius that is Dave Gorman, you’re welcome.

I hardly know how to introduce this next piece. Close your eyes and listen to this video for a moment before you actually watch it.

And finally, a poem from one of my favorites, Ogden Nash.

The Beggar

(After William Blake)
Beggar, beggar, burning low
In the city’s trodden snow,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy dread asymmetry?

In what distant deep of lies
Died the fire of thine eyes?
What the mind that planned the shame?
What the hand dare quench the flame?

And what shoulder and what art
Could rend the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to fail,
What soft excuse, what easy tale?

What the hammer? What the chain?
What the furnace dulled thy brain?
What the anvil? What the blow
Dare to forge this deadly woe?

When the business cycle ends
In flaming extra dividends,
Will He smile his work to see?
Did He who made the Ford make thee?

Hello again, world. I’m fresh back from rehearsal with my full time band, Ami Moss & The Unfortunate, and I thought it would be nice to write a little about music tonight. I love it. I spend at least 10 hours a week on The Unfortunate and a few hours on my orchestra (the Chicago Cacophony Orchestra – I’ll tell you more about it some other time) and all my friends know that if they ask me to do something with them, I’ll come if I can. Over the years I’ve been invited to play in a lot of concerts and added pieces to several different albums. Here’s one from almost a decade ago:

Psalters – Divine Liturgy of the Wretched Exiles

Wow… there are so many great memories associated with this album. It was recorded in several places, but the parts I laid down were recorded in Mr. Bailey’s shack: a haunted cabin up on Lookout Mountain, GA. The same Lookout Mountain where the climax of American Gods takes place. Coincidentally, I read American Gods for the first time while I was on that trip and I didn’t know that was going to happen. It was during the same trip that I realized that I like stories even more than I like music.

I’m looking forward to collaborating and conspiring with some of the same crew from those days for the Carnival de Resistance in September. Which I’m practicing stories for nowadays!

I’d love to hear what you think — and what you think of the Psalters’ other albums.

Tonight, I’m going to start an orchestra. I’ve been meaning to do it for years. I’ve always thought it would be fun to find people to play chamber music with, but tonight I’m finally going to make it happen. It turns out that Alexander McCall Smith (the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books) stole my idea… way back in 1995. He was with some friends at a school orchestra concert and remembered how much fun it was to play music with other people. They looked around for a just-for-fun amateur orchestra and when they didn’t find one, they started the Really Terrible Orchestra. It’s about the joy of music without pretension.

I’ve had several conversations over the years with friends who used to play clarinet (or french horn or trumpet or…) but haven’t had any opportunities to play since high school. Starting tonight, I want to give them that opportunity. Does this describe you? Are you in Chicago? Feel free to drop by tonight at 8:30 and we’ll see what we can make happen.

And now, something completely different:

Once upon a time, I posted favorite poems here now and then and called it the poem of the week. I don’t think I ever made it by any sort of weekly deadline, but I’ll give it another go!

Here’s one by Roald Dahl, read by… some guy on youtube who’s been reading me poems for years. Roger Ebert introduced him to me ages ago.

I’m on the road this weekend with my band, The Unfortunate. I tried to tell you all about it this morning, but my post was somehow lost in the intervoid. It’s been a blast, though. Right now we’re minutes away from our fourth show in three days and we’ve got another show tomorrow.

I love this life, though. I love the other parts of my life, but I could sure get used to more periods of playing music and meeting interesting new people every day.

When I get the chance, I really want to tell you all about our show that felt we were extras on an episode of The Office, the wonderful community house that hosts basement shows, the family of 10 that has shows on the porch of their 150 year old farmhouse, and the coffee shop here in Normal, IL where the owner already knows my sister. But that will all have to wait–it’s time to play some music.
(P.S. If you’re in Chicago, or can be tomorrow night,  you should come see us at the Tonic Room in Lincoln Park)


Here is one of the more beautiful acts of protest against the war on terror that I’ve seen.  Erik Hillestad from Harmony Ridge Music responded to American jingoism in 2002 by traveling to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba,  Palestine and Syria to record mothers singing lullabies to their infants. Is that brilliant or what?

As a bonus, the tracks from Palestine were recorded on my birthday.

I’m home. Of course I’m home. I’ve been home for days. I haven’t had time to sit down at the computer for more than a few minutes and if I ever did I’d be too busy feeling guilty about not having started my novel yet to write anything here. In fact, that’s what I’ve been busy doing for the last hour or so: feeling guilty about not yet having a novel started and it’s already almost the 7th!

Anyway, the Harvest Gatheriing was wonderful, of course. I didn’t even bring my cello on account of the mashed finger but I played accordion and bells and ersatz piano with Jonni, Ami, Daniele and the Illalogical spoon. I got to hang out with Jon and Hannah and Jonni and Jeremy, Andy, Paul and Ashley from Jackson, MI. Of course, spending hours locked in a box with people is one of the best ways to deepen friendships (or the opposite) and I must say I’m glad to have spent 27 or so hours with Ami and Brian, Brach and Rebecca.

We spent Monday down at the Clarks’ house in SC and drove home on Tuesday while you were all voting.

I’ve managed to plough through my backlog at work but I’m feeling the pain of a week away from play rehearsals. Not to mention the fact that I still haven’t even started my novel!