Friday, April 19, 2013

Pretty music

In light of the horrifying events that continue to develop in Boston, I feel the need to send my love to Boston and my friends who are in lockdown there: Lee & her family, Sandi, Jennifer, Marina & family.  I send you my love and anxiously await news that you and everyone in that gorgeous city, and in the town of Watertown, are safe and able to go about your normal lives again.

In response to such anxiety, I also want to share with you a moment of kindness and inspiration.

Two things you need to know:
1.  My husband and I love live music and have gone to countless shows around the country, together and separately.  Our first date was a Patty Griffin concert.  He proposed to me at a Lucy Kaplasky show (Ms. Kaplansky announced it from the stage).  I have gone to big shows in various degrees of pregnant - Austin City Limits with morning sickness, Yo La Tengo a week before my son was born, and front row of The Decemberists postpartum, leaking breast milk (that's the show where Colin Melloy, lead singer, flirted with me!).

2. We share our love of music, both live and recorded, with our two kids.  Our daughter listened to The Ramones in utero and we've made both kids lullaby and mixed cds, loaded up old iPods and handed them over to the kids.  We take the kids to outdoor shows on the riverfront and last summer our daughter got to see one of her favorite musicians, Neko Case, at the Forecastle Festival!

So, now you're caught up.

Yesterday, Dawn Landes, a Louisville-born singer/songwriter now based in Brooklyn, visited with the president of the university where my husband works, and the president had asked Rick (the husband officially has a name) to attend the meeting.  I can't divulge the purpose of the meeting, but I can say that Rick must have told Dawn that his daughter would love to come to her show, but since it was at a bar, we couldn't take her.  Here's where I came in.  I was outside, planting petunias when my phone barked (which is what it does for texts because I'm strange).  Text from Rick:

That's right, the incredibly kind Ms. Landes invited our family to the sound check she was doing with one of mine and my daughter's favorite bands, HEM!  Since we couldn't bring the kids to the show, she invited us to listen early.

When we arrived at Headliners, HEM was just finishing their sound check, but Dawn saw us come in and asked if the band would play one more song.  Here's where it starts to get thrilling for me.  She asked my daughter what song she'd like the band to play.  My daughter froze.  Mind completely blank.  So, I jumped in: "Not California."  And that gorgeous band played my favorite song of theirs, for an audience of four, my family.

But wait, that's not the end.

After HEM finished playing, the lead singer Sally Ellyson smiled at us and quickly came off the stage to meet us, starting with the kids.  She was incredibly kind and gracious and funny.  She asked my kids a ton of questions about what they liked to do, if they played instruments, and asked my daughter to show her a dance move.  She told us about her son and her baby girl and chit chatted with us like we were old acquaintances.  It was lovely.

Dawn had her sound check next with HEM guitarist Steve Curtis and it was delicate, intricate, and beautiful.

(This video is weird and wonderful, but what I really wanted to post was the live version she recorded in Black Cab Sessions with my friend Ray Rizzo playing a small notebook or passport as percussion.  Here's a link to that video -  motherscratchin' Blogger couldn't find it -

Thank you Dawn and Sally and the rest of the band who are profoundly talented and kind.  It was wonderful to finally meet you after over ten years of loving your music.

Here's to the success of your albums and the rest of your tour and for making a sad week a whole lot brighter.