A Boy And His Guitar – Tony Lucca – Music Monday

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing quite like seeing music live. Well, last Saturday I got to attend the Tony Lucca show at The Prophet Bar down in Dallas’ Deep Ellum. I brought along my dear friend Kelly and had one of the best nights I’ve had in recent memory.

There were three acts slated for that night: Griffin Schmucker, Zach Balch, and the headliner Tony Lucca.

Griffin was…okay. The drummer was awesome, actually. Everyone else seemed to be going through the motions. They didn’t feel connected to the music. I blame this on Schmucker himself. He was a little too high on the smell of his own “glory” to care about servicing the audience or the music. He was serving his own ego. From what I have seen, that never works out well. Now, he may have just been nervous. However, when you mention you’re doing a charity show, you should know all about the charity instead of being dismissive about it. How can you get people to care enough to come out and spend their money on a cause if you don’t care? Further, he made some snotty comment about the audience not being able to spell his name so of course Kelly and I took out our phones and spelled it exactly right in order to Google him. Don’t talk down to me. Don’t assume your audience can’t do something. Don’t be rude to people there just because they may have come to see someone else. This is how you lose potential fans! Plus, he introduced only himself and his BFF the guitarist. Um, now you’re rude to the band? Wow. No, thank you.

Zach and his band were great, thankfully. Every one of them, especially Balch himself, was engaged in the music. They LOVED what they were doing and it showed. Sitting ten feet from the stage I could feel the drums in my chest. Especially, I enjoyed the two songs that were just Balch, his back-up singer, and a violinist.  The banter was great as well. He engaged with the audience, he engaged with his band, heck, he introduced them all and gave them credit equal to himself. He played to us, with us, and that is priceless.

That being said, Tony blew them both out of the water.

I knew he would, but I was not prepared for how MUCH he would. It was just him and his guitar up on the stage and yet he filled the room. He wove pictures and emotions that were touchable and filled up little corners in my heart. His banter was real and inclusive, reaching out to share his experience with us and make it ours. My favorite song was Anchored, a love song for Los Angeles. I also really enjoyed Fight Song, Long Love Letter, Starting Over, Foxy Jane, and Death of Me. If I don’t stop there I’ll just start listing every song off the three albums Kelly and I bought after the show.

At one point during the encore, when he was singing a song called Always, I felt tears filling my eyes and beginning to roll down my cheeks. Looking over at Kelly I saw that she was right there too. Now that, right there, is the mark of a master to me. He didn’t just fill our ears with joy, he touched our souls.

If that weren’t impressive enough, he didn’t just stand there playing his guitar and singing. He used his voice and the microphone as instruments in and of themselves. I’ve said that music is my drug and my religion. Well, some of the things he did with his voice made me feel like I was flying high and in church all at the same time. I wanted to yell “amen” and “hallelujah” after certain of the vocal acrobatics he performed.

After his performance, Kelly and I nearly tripped over ourselves to buy the three available CDs. As we stood there, clutching our treasure, Tony came out to mingle. I made a couple aborted attempts to speak to him, but was stymied by people wanting photos. Kelly told me to stop being shy and I smiled. When the young ladies wanting their photos were done, I touched Tony’s arm and he turned to face us, smiling.

Now, you all know I am a goof. I say embarrassing things to people who have awed me. So this was the portion of the evening where I babbled my thanks for his performance and that listening to him was like being in church, and how he was part of Kelly’s live show education. He took all of this in with grace and charm, thanking us for coming and for our kind words. He shook our hands, and we floated away, blissful. In the car, I realized that we had neither asked for him to sign the CDs, nor asked for pictures to be taken with our phones. Duh.

That being said, we had a fanTAStic time with just a boy and his guitar.

 

Who have you seen live recently? How was it?

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Music Monday – You Must Drown

Zly

Image via Wikipedia

Drowning is easy, especially if you have ear-bud headphones. That way, you get to bypass all the white noise of your surroundings. The music goes straight into you and if you close your eyes you get a private show. Any kind your brain associates with what you’re listening to.

Is it any wonder then that most of my favorite singers are men? **shivers with pleasure** Ahem. Where was I? Ah yes, drowning. It’s good for the soul.

Depending on which music hits us and how it hits us, we can fuel just about any state of mind with the right playlist. Writers frequently use music to get into the mindset of our work. We want an action scene? Something fast and furious might help us focus better. Romance? Lord is there a wealth of music out there to help us out.

What’s even better? We can use music to frame our minds for the rest of our lives as well. We’ve all used music to set the mood in romantic situations, for working out, and even to help us wake up in the morning. Why shouldn’t we use it to amp us up or calm us down for other situations? It’s no accident that a lot of therapies involve beating the crap out of some sort of drum.

What music gets your motor running? Soothes the savage beast inside? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

 

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Fangirl Friday – Captain America (Beware Spoilers)

The First Avenger

Last week I saw Captain America in the theater. It did one of my very favorite things a period film can do. It remained true to the mind-set of the time in which it was set. I get really frustrated with period pieces that feature anachronistic sexuality **cough**Titanic**cough**. Heck, Cap didn’t even get to first base in this movie! Which, I must say, was a breath of fresh air. He was sexy (even as a 90 pound weakling, Chris Evans is gorgeous, but I might have a thing for skinny guys) and brave and honorable. I loved that the only kiss was actually stolen by a woman.

Respect meant something real and tangible once upon a time, as did honor and loyalty. Of course, that’s what Captain America as a character is all about, right? So it would have been extremely out of character to have him shag the woman he loved before they had even had a first date. Sorta like Superman getting drunk in a bar. Ahem.

The whole film was beautifully done from the beginning to the sneak peek at the end of the credits. The colors were lush and vivid. The acting was solid, consistent, and elegant. The script was tight, and flowed well. What? Superhero movies aren’t allowed to be great cinema? Look, critics can moan and bluster all they want about their elitist view of what makes for a good film. Nine times out of ten, I won’t want to see what they see as “great art” because it doesn’t entertain me. If I want stories of unrequited love, emotional abuse, or people muddling through a series of horrible life choices then I have my own memories to look at, okay?

To me, good movies help me escape, give me hope that better is out there. They affirm that good guys DO win and bad guys are obliterated. This film did that. Not because Cap was the paragon, but because there was someone out there who believes his virtues and morals are valid and showed that on the screen. Real life is crappy enough without being force-fed “realistic” films. Plus, the fight scenes and explosions were really cool.

So, what about y’all? What do you want in your entertainment? What movies get your motor revved? Is there a movie you think I should review?

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Sharing Is Caring

The best part about books you love, authors you adore, is sharing them with others. We like to say things like, “Go read Storm Front by Jim Butcher, it’s awesome times a thousand,” and then leave it be. For those of us who collect books like other people collect stamps, we do not share the actual books except to a few select people. We’ve been burned before. We loaned our Douglas Adams collection to our best friend and never saw it again. Because their kids ate half the pages.

However, some people have passed our test. They borrowed our precious books and not only returned them, they kept the binding pretty and even shared some of their own collection in return. These are people we keep with us always. Which is why, even though I had barely spoken to him since we broke up, I loaned two books to my ex-boyfriend and didn’t bat an eye.

Yes, you read that right. I contacted my ex to see if he’d read the most recent two offerings in Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series. When I found out that he had NOT, I was horrified and immediately offered to loan him both books at once. Maybe we couldn’t hack it as a couple, but man are we sympatico as readers. He needed those books. I needed to share them.

 

Who have you shared with today?

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Fangirl Friday – Harry Potter – I Open At The Close

Coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school...

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I blame Nick Rhodes. Honestly, almost all my fandoms can be blamed on a member of Duran Duran. I started reading the books when Mr. Rhodes made a (seemingly) offhand remark about Muggles.

Now, with the series at a close, I look back at one of the most influential series of our time. Reading had been on the wane until J.K. Rowling made it fun again. Make no mistake, there are lessons to be learned in the series. Things like friendship, loyalty, hope, and a score or more other virtues were woven into the seven books chronicling a young wizard’s growth.

Each book was darker than the last, which some folk complained about. I agreed with it. Our world gets darker as we grow older and accept more responsibility. Things get harder. We have to make more and more sacrifices. Even so, Rowling handed us Pandora’s box, with hope still fluttering around inside it. Hope that good will triumph over evil, that there are still honorable, kind people in the world.

I love those books for many reasons. First, they are an escape. Even if we don’t pay mind to the broader meanings, dragons and goblins and magic transport us out of our mundane existences to a more exciting place. Second, as stated before, they bring hope, a desperately needed commodity in this world. Third, they brought reading back. Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, which is all well and good, but bringing reading back in this age of instant gratification was nothing short of a miracle, yes?

People learned patience as they waited for each new book or film in the series. And even though there were those jerks who bootlegged things and put them up on the internet days before release, we still had to wait while they were being created. No matter what else she does in the future, J.K. Rowling has gifted the world with wonder, inspired new generations, and for that I will always admire her.

 

How did you all feel about the Harry Potter series? What did you learn (or just enjoy) while reading? If you’ve never read them, then why? Please share your thoughts here!

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Wordsmith Wednesday – Depression

Heavy topic, I know. Thing is, there are so many of us who suffer from depression that we can’t NOT talk about it. From those of us with the clinical kind to those of us with the situational kind to those who have loved ones in the grip of this monster, it’s a pervasive, crippling force that we all have to deal with. Shall we start with a definition?

 

via dictionary.coma condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Until recently, I thought I had dealt with it since puberty. Looking back, I see that I was probably dealing with it long before that, puberty just ratcheted up the tension. At puberty I became aware of the possibility of suicide. Also, hormones. I have been in therapy, even been on medication. Unfortunately, the one time I found a medication that worked, my “doctor” decided that meant I was bi-polar and added an anti-psychotic to the cocktail. Hello, zombie hordes, behold your new queen!

I quit all the medication and therapy in disgust, feeling that the doctors working for county care didn’t want me to be well, just quiet. One good thing to come out of that time was overcoming the contemplation of suicide as an option. Because it is not. Ever. I’m not going to say that suicide damns your soul because to someone who is suicidal that just flat doesn’t matter. Here’s the cold truth. Your death won’t make the world a better place. In fact, it will make the world absolutely horrible for the people who love you. Yes, we exist. I include myself because even if I don’t know you, your death will break my heart. Why doesn’t matter.

Depression is a horrible ugly road to travel. The smallest thing can send us on a spiral down into an abyss of horror and pain. We can’t climb out, no matter how hard we try. Most days it’s all we can do to get out of bed in the morning. We pray for the Grim Reaper to show up and take us out of all this hurt even while we fear his appearance.

Here’s the good news. Just as the smallest thing can send us down, the smallest thing can also lift us up. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always a train. We can have good days.

 

How has depression touched your life? What do you do to battle your own demons?

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Puppet – Music Monday

I used to write poetry, back in the days when I didn’t know about fanfic and I didn’t think I could write short stories. I thought I would share one I wrote about music. It doesn’t rhyme, and it’s a train-of-thought, stream-of-consciousness sort of deal about what music does to me. Enjoy.

Puppet

Pounding through me like an insistent lover, the music takes me over.

Like a puppet with invisible strings, I begin to move to the sounds engulfing me as the band plays on, the world shrinking until there is nothing but the music and me.

And then it devours me, becomes me.

I am the music, it is me – the blood in my veins, the air in my lungs, the soul within, and the visage without.

 

 

 

What does music do to you? For you? With you?

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