The Professional Guest: Music and Musings

As falls wichitaBecause you have to hear Pat Metheny and the album I talk about while you read, please put your headphones in now and click here: Ignore the annoying five-second ad first and continue reading. You can watch his video later. It’s a lazy scene of a Kansas neighborhood sailing by.

I’ve been an audio file since I first learned the definition of it. I’ve always had artistic aspirations and could do the visual things….drawing, painting, seeing color. But I also had an ear. I could hear sound, mix, engineering, and more. I have friends who are musicians like Carole Holley, Bruce Balgaard, Terry Esau, Lee Blaske, Carol Zimmerman, Mary Beth Carlson and Ben Rosenbush who not only understand the creation of music, they know the mixing and mastering. These are gifted local Minneapolis musicians and I want nothing more than to be near them when they create their art. In Heaven, my mansion will be in their same neighborhood. Location, location, location.

I am also a fan of the big clubs: Lynnerd Skynnerd, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Phil Keaggy and Prince. I “hear” what they are doing. I remember attending Wooddale Church one Sunday in Eden Prairie, MN. I think it was an Easter service so there were plenty of stellar musical offerings. I hadn’t received a printed bulletin to see who was performing, so I just sat and listened and enjoyed the choir, pipe organ and various performers.

During the offertory, I was busy digging through my purse looking for my checkbook as the first plucks from an acoustic guitar rang out. There was a startling clarity to the notes and I stopped digging and looked up to listen to the solo guitar player on the stage.I was up in the balcony and even with my glasses on, I could not see who he was. But I heard the music and my mind said, “That’s Phil Keaggy.” The ushers came closer passing the offering tray back and forth along the rows, but I could not get my pen out to write a check. I was spellbound by the music. For five or ten minutes, I was no where near Wooddale Church. I was transported to the heavenlys where I remained until that solo musician played the last note and sat down. It was only after church had ended when I found a bulletin and read “guest soloist: Phil Keaggy.” I knew it. I knew his music and guitar playing for years. (Listen here if you want to.)

I, myself had spent a couple years running sound for live bands. Seems that I had an “ear” for it. They say that women have better hearing than men do for running sound in an indoor arena, I agree with that. Women know when people need to do their talking and connecting so we run the sound down low….only bringing it up when the dancing shoes come on. We also seem to understand the midrange—the intelligence—a bit better.

Start playing Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays “September Fifteenth.” here.
When I moved and got rid of nearly everything I owned, I didn’t miss my dresser, chest of drawers, king size bed or floor-to-ceiling mirror. I did miss my sparkling water fountain. But what I really missed was my CDs, specifically my Pat Metheny album, “As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls” which a drummer friend of mine happily took, along with about 50 other of my best album collections after he tuned up my bongo drums so I could sell those on Craigslist. That makes me me both happy and sad.  Happy because a musician friend recognized the value of all that good music and took them home… no one will appreciate them more….sad because I could not keep them and take them with me as stackable CDs, complete with album design art. Sigh…..

For the Pat Metheny album, maybe it was just the CD, the physical presence of it that I had wanted to keep, something to hold in my hands or look at admiringly. I had long ago abandoned my radio/CD player so really the only way I could listen to it was to pop it into my computer. Does anyone have CD players anymore? Even my car didn’t have a CD player so there was no listening there. I still have the music on iTunes and carry it with me…but there was something about knowing I had a Pat Metheny CD with me, in my home….Uff.

One of my happier memories is of when my Swiss friends, Bertrand and Sylvie came to visit me in Minnesota. I had a comfy chair right in front of the bookshelf where I kept all my CDs. Back then I still had a CD player/stereo. That’s the chair Bertrand found and claimed as his own. Each day, I would be planning the meal or the destination with Sylvie, and Bertrand would be choosing the music. Some of those albums, I hadn’t played in years, like the Allman Brothers “Live at the Fillmore East,” Mott the Hoople, Larry Carlton and Deep Purple. It was fun having a new guest in my home, especially a European my same age who also knew the same music I did, resurrecting the music of a generation.

Today has been a day of listening to “Yes: Big Generator” and “As Falls Wichita, so Falls Wichita Falls” again, which in my mind are some of the most wonderfully composed (and mixed) music offerings in the known universe.

As the music trails off, I do, too. Time to go wander off with my Muscovy ducks here in SW Florida. But I miss it… I miss “As Falls Wichita Falls” …music that I used to listen to back when I lived in the Northern country. Time to listen to it again. That’s my heaven on earth.



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