Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer

It’s been a cool and wet spring here this year – people have been making a lot of jokes about summer only lasts 24 hours in Wisconsin (and voiced a lot of concern whether the corn crop will actually reach “knee high by the Fourth of July” this year).

In truth, it’s only today that summer even begins, officially, with the solstice. Sometimes “that was the longest day of my life” is voiced in exasperation, but when you’re talking about hours of daylight, it’s just fine. People like walking in sunshine, and the more the merrier.

The sun is coming up this morning; maybe it’s been waiting for the music … Continue reading “Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer”

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Uncle Warren’s Attic: Whirlwind by Maddie Poppe

Whirlwind - Maddie PoppeWe still watch American Idol closely and enjoy the revived version featuring judges Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan, which just wrapped up its second season after crowning the 17th Idol, one Laine Hardy.

The program faded on Fox after gaining a reputation for selecting fairly generic “white guys with guitars,” and I’m afraid Hardy fits that stereotype, but last year’s winner, Maddie Poppe, broke that mold and so did almost everyone in this year’s Top 10 except for Hardy. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Whirlwind by Maddie Poppe”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: She Remembers Everything by Roseanne Cash

she remembers everything

Roseanne Cash told a story in her memoir Composed that inspired Steven Pressfield so much that he included it in his book Turning Pro, about the mindset needed to make a living creating art.

She had a dream one night that she was at a party at Linda Ronstadt’s house, and she walked up to Linda while she was talking to a man named Art. She tried to inject herself into the conversation, but Art looked at her dismissively and said, “We don’t respect dilettantes,” and turned away. The dream cut to the core of the uneasiness Cash had about the way her career was going, and she took her music more seriously from that day.

Rosanne Cash She Remembers EverythingThe story moved me, and when I found Roseanne Cash’s new album, She Remembers Everything, in the vinyl section of Barnes & Noble, it came home with me and has been spending a lot of time on the turntable. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: She Remembers Everything by Roseanne Cash”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: 5 show stoppers

It wasn’t so long that I put Simon & Garfunkel’s immortal 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme on the turntable and – as happens every time – had my breath taken away by Art Garfunkel’s glorious rendition of “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her.”

It’s one of those songs that, when I hear it, everything else stops. I fall into a trance, overwhelmed by the song’s beauty, the flow of the lyrics, the smile it brings to my soul and (often) the tears it brings to my eyes.

(And by the way, is it possible any more to think of any of those four herbs without thinking of the other three? They go together musically like peanut butter and jelly.)

Here are four other tunes that do that to me, two you surely know and two that may be new to you, unless you know me well.

Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: 5 show stoppers”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: Know by Jason Mraz

mraz know 1

Let’s drive out to the desert at midnight

To dance in the dust in our headlights

And score some good seats for the sunrise

Something must be said about the encouragers, the light bringers, the purveyors of love, for they are so few. When I was a young one, the Lovin’ Spoonful believed in the magic of a young girl’s heart, sang about laughing for hours under rain on the roof, and celebrated daydreaming on someone’s new-mowed lawn.

Paul McCartney was lambasted for writing silly love songs, even though they brought joy to the universe. The “true artist” is seen as dark and brooding and nihilistic, showing us the stark truth about our tawdry existence. Lift our spirits? Trivial stuff and nonsense.

I was dimly aware that Jason Mraz has been a popular singer, but I didn’t really grok until he was a guest mentor on American Idol a few weeks ago. I was so taken by his charming duet with Walker Burroughs, “Have It All,” that I tracked down Know, the album the song appears on – on vinyl, of course, as God intended music to be pressed. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Know by Jason Mraz”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: No more days without music

LP collection

My somewhat substantial collection of LPs – long-playing (vinyl) records for you young’uns – spent much of the past eight years in boxes. Last fall I said to myself, “Self, this is ridiculous. I want to hear my music.”

I dug deep and bought an industrial-strength shelving unit, a state-of-the-art turntable, and a separate tone-arm shell, cartridge and stylus designed to play 78 rpm records. The records came out of the boxes, and I set up the turntable and an amplifier next to the computer desk where I spend most of my working hours.

With music thus restored to its rightful place in my life, I am a much happier soul. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: No more days without music”

Act IV Mission Statement

act iv mission statement

Uncle Warren is at the end of the third act – 22 years growing up and going to school, 22 years in radio, 22 years in newspapers, and 22 years (ish) ahead – ready to move on and having just wasted $13 on lottery tickets that were uselessly destined for the shredder, as he knew would happen even as he turned over the money.

“That’s it!” he muttered. “No more waiting for the ship to sail in. Today I set out on the voyage and seize my own destiny. No more fear, no more procrastination. I shall take the first step in the journey of 1,000 miles – well, no, I have been on that journey for years but have wandered far afield, hither and yon, but it’s time now to get on track and stay on track. Down the stretch they come, and which project crosses the finish line first?”

At the end of each path is: a finished book. I am writing and editing books – good books, worth reading; timeless books, worth preserving; historic books that must be remembered, full of the sights and sounds and thoughts from before we were born that show us how far we have come and how far a journey we still have to travel. (So: Not just books but recordings – audio and video – of a time before this one, when yellowed paper was crisp and white, when the rusty metal gleamed, when the paint was bright and shiny and no one dreamed it would fade so in the sun.) My aim is to brush off the dust, listen to the echoes, and share What Was so as to better understand What Is and What May Be If We Will It.

“What May Be If We Will It” – not “What Will Be” because the future is a blank page today, and not “If We Have The Will” because we do have will and need to decide what to do with it.

The future is a decision.

Let’s see what’s out there!