This post was inspired by a post from a lovely blog I follow, From My Carolina Home: Going Down a Rabbit Hole of Music (and if you do not currently follow this blog, I suggest you check it out – lots of great posts on crafting, home decorating, and life!).
Returning to a Traditional Way to Listen to Music
You might of noticed if you read my post from Saturday, What’s on the Design Wall: “All the Trimmings”, I’ve been tediously working with a lot of small fabric scraps and half square triangles. For example I had to sew 200 2″ x 2″ half square triangles together to create the first section of the quilt All the Trimmings.
Watching a movie would be a great way to distract myself from the tedium but since I had to make sure the seams all lined up, I’ve been listening to music instead.
For years I’ve been listening to music on shuffle. I use iTunes and have a collection of favorite tunes loaded on my iPhone, or I listen to Pandora or Amazon, Prime Music or the awesome Colorado Public Radio Jazz station KUVO (which is available to stream online also) smartphone apps.
Lately, however, I’ve been trying something different – instead of listening to shuffled music, I’ve been listening to entire albums.
For those of you who listened to music before the music download era, do you remember buying an album (whether vinyl, cassette, 8-track, or compact disc/CD) and LISTENING TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM straight through?
Many albums are concept albums and/or the recording artists had a reason for the order in which they arranged the tracks.
For example – have you ever tried to listen to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon shuffled into other songs? It doesn’t work as many of the songs on this classic album were designed to connect and flow into each other.
So for the past several weeks, whenever I am in my sewing studio working on a project, I’ve been listening to entire albums (songs in consecutive order as many of the artists intended) and it has been an AMAZING experience!
Listening to albums in their entirety have brought back a lot of memories and I thought I would share a little bit (and perhaps too much on some) of those memories about three (3) of the albums I’ve recently listened to while sewing.
Nothing Like the Sun – Sting
I was a huge fan of the band The Police during their heyday and thought the lead singer Sting was like one of the hottest men walking the earth (you are quite impressionable as a pre-teen, ha!). But I did not really grow to appreciate the breadth of his talent until he went out on his own.
His first big solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles came out in 1985 and I loved it but his next album Nothing Like the Sun blew me away. This album featured his ongoing collaboration with some amazing Jazz musicians such as the amazing saxophonist Bradford Marsalis.
Sting spent time in South America and one of the most powerful songs on the album, They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo) is a powerful metaphor referring to mourning Chilean women who dance the Cueca, the national dance of Chile, alone with photographs of their disappeared loved ones in their hands as a symbolic gesture of protest against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet whose regime killed thousands of people between 1973 and 1990 (Wikipedia).
They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo) is a chilling and powerful song, hut the for me one of the most powerful and beautiful song on this album is the song Fragile. It always bring a couple tears to my eyes when I listen.
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
I love to attend live concerts, especially when I was in my 20s and 30s (yup I am older now!) and one of the most memorable concerts I attended was when I saw Sting and his band (including Bradford Marsalis) play at the RPI Fieldhouse when I lived in Upstate New York. He was touring for the Nothing Like the Sun album and played many songs from the album as well as classic songs from when he was with The Police.
I remember nearly falling over a railing I was holding on when he came out shirtless with just an acoustic guitar to sing Message in a Bottle as one of the encores with the audience joining him in harmony midway through the song.
It would have been quite a fall and I would not be blogging to you right now so it was good I paid attention at the last minute!
I found this obscure video on YouTube which was likely from that tour, to give you a sample of my experience except Sting is fully clothed in this video (smile):
Innervisions – Stevie Wonder
I grew up listening to Stevie Wonder as I primarily listened to whatever my parents were playing on their turnable which was usually R&B, Jazz or Blues. I remember watching the Grammys as a small child and it seemed like he was always awarded Grammys.
He did receive a Grammy in the mid 1970s for the incredible album, but I did not really appreciate the depth of Stevie Wonder’s greatness and talent until I was an adult.
I think sometime in my 30s I bought the CD Innervisions just to add it to a library I was building of classic albums and ended up falling completely in love with the album and realizing his genius.
The album is an incredible masterpiece and I think it is best appreciated listening from start to finish. I do not have a favorite song on this album as each song is a work of musical art.
Here is a sample courtesy of YouTube:
Wait a minute. I do have a favorite song from this incredible album – the sad but beautiful All in Love is Fair. I always have it on my iPhone playlist.
Degüello – ZZ Top
I first heard of ZZ Top in the 1980s during their “Pop Music” MTV phase with songs like Sharp Dressed Man and Gimme All Your Lovin. But in the early 1990s, while living in Houston, Texas, some friends at a dinner party one night introduced me to their earlier work to include the completely bad*ss album – Deguello!
When I first heard the songs La Grange, I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide, Cheap Sunglasses, etc. I was blown away!
Here’s a little sample courtesy of YouTube:
And yes, I had to stand up from my sewing machine on some of the songs and dance about the room. But during the song La Grange I was able to just sing “Hmm, hmm, hmm” in a gravely voice while still sewing!
If you like rock, like real yummy Texas Bluesy Rock, here’s another sample for you (but don’t try to craft/knit/sew to it or you might mess up your piece – ha!):
There is currently a pretty cool documentary about ZZ Top currently on Netflix called The Little Ol’ Band From Texas
I lived in Texas for 8 years and it is like living in another country outside the United States – it really is a unique place with a distinct culture! Everyone needs to visit Texas at least once in their life!
And More Music…
I was originally going to discuss 5 or more albums on this post but I knew I might lose a couple of peoples’ attention if I kept running on about albums (hey Tierney isn’t this supposed to be a blog about crafting?!?!).
But here is a list of some of the other albums I enjoyed listening to in their entirety while I worked on my endless half square triangle quilt:
- Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits
- The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
- Zebop – Santana
- What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
- Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
- Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
- Too Long in Exile – Van Morrison
- Ten – Pearl Jam
- Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers
- Tapestry – Carole King
- Court & Spark – Joni Mitchell
- A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
- Talking Book – Stevie Wonder
- At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash
Listening to great music gives me a lot of comfort during these challenging times and inspires me to keep sewing!
Now if you prefer listening spoken word over music for your crafting and you enjoy podcasts, I’d like to recommend a new podcast by one of my blogging buddies, author Tammie Painter: The Book Owl Podcast.
I’ve been following Tammie’s blog for a while and it was fun to actually hear her voice!
Currently there are only two episodes (well three if you count the introduction episode) and I’ve highly enjoyed them both. She takes a topic related to books/literature and presents her research in a humorous and engaging way.
You can find the podcast wherever you get your podcasts. I used Apple podcasts and I was able to pull up the podcast through the Podcast app on my iPhone.
Of course I hope this puts pressure on Tammie to give us another episode soon (smile)!