What I’m Listening to – April 23

Lazy Sunday mornings. Kids sleep in after a late night of solving middle school social problems. The beasts wake me with demands of food and opening the back door.

I turn on the CD player to accompany puttering around the house, and prepare breakfast. I see the pile of CDs I’ve listened to in the afternoons. With the new job, I have an hour between the office and starting my chauffeur, cook services. Once dinner is done, I’m usually running to my own evening activities: teaching, rehearsals, or soaking in the many community cultural assets.

These hours of reflection and listening to music are precious. Some of the playlist for this past week was:

Billy Childs – Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro
My introduction to this music came at my former admin position. Deborah Sacarakis, the artistic director for the guest artist series at Zoellner, brings stellar artists to Bethlehem. Hearing Esperanza Spalding, and Lisa Fischer live at Baker Hall earlier made connecting to this album even sweeter. The featured artists on the album were replaced by his touring musicians; all spectacular. The drummer of this performance was wicked.

One of the things I miss was the privilege I had to meet the artists backstage, or catch a bit of the sound check. I was also able to connect a group of Lehigh students to meet the artist before the concert and take pictures with him. I’m hoping that in their future, they recall the moment fondly.

These memories are implanted in my head. They surface when I pull up the CD.

Don’t take my word for the excellence of the music. Here’s a review. Or watch this mix of videos with the artists

Convinced yet? Buy It.

Last week was Easter Sunday. My husband has a tradition of listening to the Andrew Lloyd Webber’s concept album of Jesus Christ Superstar. I still get chills hearing Ian Gillan singing “I only want to say (Gethsemane).”

I’ve added to the tradition with Peter Gabriel’s “Passion: Music for The Last Temptation Of Christ, a film by Martin Scorsese.” It’s one of my favorite Peter Gabriel albums. The instrumental album mixes electronics with western and middle eastern instruments beautifully. Here’s track number 12.

Right now, I’m listening to Vance Gilbert’s Old White Men album.

The first time I heard Vance was in Bowling Green, Ohio. A friend was trying to launch a folk music series in the restaurant that regularly featured live jazz. I was smitten with his music and audience banter. When I moved to Bethlehem, I saw he was playing at Godfrey Daniels. Feeling a bit homesick for my Bowling Green friends, I thought to go hear him. It was my first time attending a concert at Godfrey’s. My husband went with me. Vance played “Old White Men” and we both found that same speck of dust in our eyes.

We bought the album that night. I take it for a spin when I need a little grounding. Vance’s music does that for my soul. I signed up for his newsletter on his website for a little Vitamin Vance. He blogs about his gigs or sometimes his reactions to events. His response to the Sandy Hook shooting was the tenderness and anger I wanted to express. He did it for me.

I hear Vance live at Godfrey’s whenever I can. I hope after you read this, and dig a little bit into his music, you might make an effort to remember I said it’s a show you don’t want to miss. No need to thank me. Thank Vance by supporting his music.

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