Saturday, September 30, 2017

Flashback: "I Don't Like Your Music."

Cajun jam, Lafayette, Louisiana. December 2014.



In June 2013, I wrote this post in memory of what someone had said to me about my music. Since that post, I've added some ska, border band rockabilly, among other things.


June 9, 2013

I Don't Like Your Music

I was listening to a shuffle of my music today, and I began to chuckle. I remembered the comment someone made to me a few months ago.

"I don't like your music."


I was taken by surprise, and I think I just said, "Oh."

What I wish I'd have said was: "Which of my music don't you like? Is it my

Blues
Classical
Jazz
Bluegrass
String-band
Country-western
Country-rock
American folk
Mexican folk
Americana
Rock
R&B
French
Spanish
Ethiopian
Georgian
Cajun
Rwandan
Congolese
Malian
Irish
Scottish
Motown
Modern swing
Zydeco
Cuban
Navajo
Reggae
British pop
Electronic
New Age
Gospel
Soul
Tanzanian
Burundi

You can find nothing in there that you like? Really?

Some recent acquisitions:


Dolor de AquĆ­ by Jarana Beat (indeed, the entire album, Echalante). Two of the musicians are New Mexican - Albuquerque and Las Cruces. There's so much going on this video visually, physically, and aurally you have to watch it at least, I don't know, 60 times.





The Missouri Waltz, as sung by Missourian Merideth Sisco (and the entire Winter's Bone soundtrack)




A modern, East-LA version of a Son Jarocho song (regional music of Vera Cruz, Mexico), La Bamba. Very rich. Complete with the jawbone of an ass.




Hellhound on my Trail, by Big Joe Williams. Oh, that deep Delta voice.




Lianne La Havas' Age. Can you watch this without smiling? I don't think so.





Over the Rainbow/It's a Beautiful World by Israel Kamakawiwo Ole




Enjoy.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Louisiana: Lights and Lines

Lights and lines, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


September 2017



The University of Louisiana-Lafayette's Ernest J. Gaines Center hosted the first of a series of writers' workshops this month.

Lights and lines, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


A great admirer of Mr. Gaines, I was all in for this opportunity!


Lights and lines, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


I wasn't enthralled by the selected artwork intended to inspire our creative juices. However, the lights and lines of the Hilliard Art Museum's upstairs space hooked me big. 


Lights and lines, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.



Although light outdoors when I arrived, it was dark outside when I left. A shimmery moon shined onto strands of water that fell from a ledge.


Lights and lines, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


Lights and lines, Hilliard Art Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.

Be there with me:



Monday, September 25, 2017

Louisiana: Cigars and Guitars


Mobile Cigar Lounge at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.


September 2017


On a pleasant Saturday afternoon, after I'd spent the morning dancing at the new-to-me location for the zydeco breakfast in Breaux Bridge, I visited the LA Brewery in Arnaudville for its weekly music draw.

A bucolic scene:


I arrived early; Major Handy and his most wonderful and versatile band were setting up:

Major Handy and the Louisiana Blues Band at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.

It was durn hot, but I got a good seat in a rocking chair by the fan.

Major Handy and the Louisiana Blues Band at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.

But whoa, whoa, whoa ... what was this shiny thing rolling in?

Mobile Cigar Lounge at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.

Mobile Cigar Lounge at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.

The band continued getting itself sorted.

Major Handy and the Louisiana Blues Band at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.

And I went over to investigate this flashy object.

Mobile Cigar Lounge at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.

A mobile cigar room!

Mobile Cigar Lounge at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.


It's the Smokin' Room.

I chatted with the owner and he kicked one of my assumptions to the curb right quick. I'd figured that he'd have to pay the business owners (in this case, the brewery) some sort of compensation for setting up shop there. But no! The Mobile Cigar Lounge has a sizable number of patrons who will go where the lounge goes. So, actually, the Mobile Cigar Lounge brings customers to the business!

Mobile Cigar Lounge at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.


 The owner, John Johnson, relates the story of the lounge's pregnancy and birth here.

 I don't smoke cigars, but I do like shiny things, so the Mobile Cigar Lounge was mighty cool.

Lil Buck Sinegal at the LA 31 Brewery, Arnaudville, Louisiana. September 2017.


But Lil Buck Sinegal, playing with Major Handy's band on this day,  is cooler.







Sunday, September 24, 2017

Louisiana: City Cowboys


City cowboys on pintos, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


September 2017

One Sunday evening, en route from Opelousas to Lafayette for some fun thing, I spied the cowboys on pinto ponies right on Evangeline Throughway.

City cowboys on pintos, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.

City cowboys on pintos, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


Reminded me of the horse at the gas station in Washington, Louisiana, a few years earlier:

Horse at gas station, Washington, Louisiana. March 2015.


Oh, Louisiana.

This is a great excuse to run again the trailer for the documentary, T-Galop, A Louisiana Horse Story:




And this one, Trail Riders and Cowboys:




The song, Sweet Pea, by Keith Frank, played in the above video, pulls me in every time. 



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Louisiana: Return to Zydeco Nation


El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.

September 2017

The famous (might we even say "historic"?) El Sido's hosted a hurricane fundraiser on the Sunday following my return to South Louisiana.

El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017. C.J. Chenier and Louisiana Red Hot Band.



By the time I left the event, it was as if a reservoir inside me, almost dry from the long absence of live zydeco, had been refilled to almost-overflowing.

El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017. Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express.


As is too often the case in South Louisiana, we few in the audience received far more than we deserved from the musicians, who - every one of them - delivered performances as if there had been a crowd.

El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017. C.J. Chenier and Louisiana Red Hot Band.


Not to take away from the power of the other bands (including Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express, Corey Ledet and his Zydeco Band, Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys), the penultimate act by C.J. Chenier and Red Hot Louisiana Band blew me away.

A taste below:





El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017. Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express.


El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017. Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express.

El Sido's hurricane fundraiser, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017. Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys.


Makes you glad to be alive.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Louisiana: Back Into the Music


Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


September 2017


A suburban lawn concert fronted by Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars opened the door into my September 2017 South Louisiana visit.

Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.



A high-energy, skilled band. Roddie's band played the classics and some contemporary pieces. Below is the traditional Joe Pitre a Deux Femmes (Joe Pitre Has Two Wives). The older couple, with the woman wearing the red blouse, is always a pleasure to watch; I've seen the two dance at other venues.





Sadly, I didn't dance.

Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


This last in a summertime concert series took place at the new development called Couret Farms. A pretty enough suburban neighborhood, but the glorification of a plantation nostalgia in the developers' ad copy does not sit well with me. I wouldn't attend another event here unless the advertising approach changed.

Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, Lafayette, Louisiana. September 2017.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Missouri: The Travel Warning


The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1940, by Victor H. Green. Credit: Wikipedia



Not long before I left El Paso to wend my way to a year in Ferguson, Missouri, the NAACP issued its first ever travel warning to people of color for an entire state.

That state was Missouri.

In the light of events - the local systemic culture of racism, more accurately said - in Ferguson and the University of Missouri-Columbia, this seems sadly inevitable.

(In 2015, I updated Part 5 of my Take a Budget Road Trip Guide to include a section on Road-Tripping While Brown.)

Missouri also figured in: 

A number of years ago, I mentioned to my mother that I was going to Sikeston, Missouri, for an overnight business trip. Her flash reaction to my comment was, "That's where they lynched a black man."

My mother was born in 1929. The Sikeston lynching occurred in 1942, when she was 13 years old.

For more than 60 years since, Sikeston and that lynching have been mated in my mother's brain like a name carved onto a tree with a knife.

In his 1999 New York Times review of The Lynching of Cleo Wright, Sikeston native, Terry Teachout, wrote: 
"... the only time Sikeston made news was after an event nobody likes to talk about: one Sunday morning in the winter of 1942, a man named Cleo Wright was dragged through the streets by an angry mob, doused with gasoline and burned to death. 

....  Of course I knew a man was lynched in Sikeston. It was no secret: my father watched from his window as Wright's near-naked body bounced over the cobblestones of Center Street."

Note: There is an active KKK contingent in Sikeston, Missouri. 

Missouri's official depiction of slavery in the history exhibit in the state capitol is a weasel-y discounting and distancing from the state's dark history of slavery.


Less than 10 years ago, a relative of mine camped with a caving group in a state park not far from Springfield, Missouri. One evening, while the group sat around a campfire, a figure emerged from the surrounding woods, walking toward the fire. He was dressed in the unmistakable, chilling garb of the KKK. He was apparently lost and had mistaken this campfire for that of his racist brethren.






Wednesday, September 20, 2017

On the Way to Louisiana: Rest in Beauty

Chamber County Rest Area, Interstate 10, Texas. September 2017.


Ohh, Texas has some glorious rest areas.

The Chambers County Rest Area is one of them.

The ladies' room threw sparkle on my little soul as soon as I walked in. What a cheery surprise.

Chamber County Rest Area, Interstate 10, Texas. September 2017.


Is this not a living testament to the Declaration of Independence's ideal of our inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? And the power of a government to share beauty, and therefore the pursuit of happiness, with its peoples?

We can choose to share beauty in anything, right? Including a public bathroom alongside a highway?

Yes.

There is even a human-engineering logic behind it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On the Way to Louisiana: A Sulky Sunset


On the second day after leaving Big Bend National Park, en route to Louisiana, I'd made it through Houston and the aftermath of Harvey, and had Louisiana within my sights.

It was after 8:00 p.m. and darkness loomed on Interstate 10. 

But before she reluctantly slid off the side of the earth, the red sun laid a blistering last harrumph on us all.

She was a sight to see in my side mirror.

Sunset, Interstate 10 between Houston and Louisiana, September 2017.

Sunset, Interstate 10 between Houston and Louisiana, September 2017.


Monday, September 18, 2017

On the Way to Louisiana: Pecos River



Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


After I left Big Bend National Park, I took Highway 90 for quite a piece. Following some long bouts of not much going on scenery-wise, all of a sudden I came across the high scenic drama over the Pecos River.


Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.

Holy Mother! What a vista! What a bridge! 

Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


Obviously, I had to stop and gape.


Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


I walked on one side of the bridge and then the other side.

Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.

I looked down its sternum.

Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


I saw there was an overlook nearby, so I drove up there.

Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


I saw flirty, white flowers on a tree.

Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.

Pecos River High Bridge, Highway 90, Texas. September 2017.


And then I was on my way again.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

Big Bend National Park, Texas: Goodbye Big Bend


Big Bend National Park, Texas. September 2017.


Goodbye to Big Bend National Park.

Goodbye, tarantula.

Goodbye, lubber.

Goodbye, vinegaroon.

Goodbye, beetles.

Goodbye, cactus wren.

Goodbye, fox and bear poop.

Goodbye, grasshoppers and ants.

Goodbye, walking sticks.

.... and about the bears. I am weary of letting a fear of bear (or mountain lion or large feral pig) encounters affect my enjoyment of hikes.

Something must change about this. The fear limits me.


Chisos Campground, Big Bend National Park, Texas. September 2017.