New to me: the wonderful Samatha Crain

samantha crain

I was grousing to myself about spending yet another evening and afternoon driving back and forth to town, but at least I had the radio on -- and I discovered a new (to me) singer! Samantha Crain. Oh, what a voice. Here is "We Are the Same"Plus she looks a tiny bit like Katrina Fernandez, which predisposes me to like her.  Love her face, love the aching clarity of her voice, the way she carries herself, and how many stories she has.  Here's "Santa Fe":And here's the one I heard thi … [Read more...]

Making ashes out of you and me


What a shame that Ash Wednesday comes but once a year. For many of us, that's the only opportunity we have to experience what many people consider the lyrical poet Thomas Conry's masterwork. Let's take a closer look. The first lines are something of a ruse, are they not? Listen:We rise again from ashes, from the good we’ve failed to do. We rise again from ashes, to create ourselves anew. If all our world is ashes, then must our lives be true, an offering of ashes, an offering to yo … [Read more...]

Will no one stop the cycle of violins?


The other day, Mendelssohn's string octet came on the radio, and I was astonished to learn that he wrote it when he was sixteen years old. It's an extraordinary piece for a composer of any age, but sixteen!I was really enjoying it, zipping down a country road, in and out of sunlight, snow sparkling, chords crashing, sixteenth notes swirling. Then about halfway through the first movement, I remembered something my sister Sarah once confessed about her relationship with violins. She said … [Read more...]

Never mind the bollocks, here’s the Pennywhistlers


Sometimes your day is going so poorly, for no reason at all, that you just need to curl up inside some music that makes you feel like somebody's baby. Here's mine:"Dumai, Zlato," whatever that means, sung by the Pennywhistlers in Bulgarian. We had this LP when I was little, and listened to it incessantly.What's your bad day music?  … [Read more...]

On repeat today: Son Little

son little things i forgot

  A lovely lady (hi, lovely lady!) sent me an Amazon gift card, so I did something I haven't done in maybe ten years: bought a new album. It's on repeat now, all five songs of it, and that's why I'm not getting anything done today.The album is Son Little: Things I Forgot. Here is "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches."This guy is the real deal. Haven't heard anything this good in years and years. My only concern is that I don't think he is okay. I w … [Read more...]

Cheap and Easy Christmas Things that Even You Can Do!

paper ornament

I assume you're already doing all the religious stuff, and have already bought, made, figured out, or given up on gifts. Here are a bunch of other nice Christmasy things you can do pretty easily, using materials that you may actually have in your house and skills you can probably muster up even at this stage of your life. SOMETHING SWEET TO EAT:Fudge recipe that doesn't require a candy thermometer.Can be dressed up with various nuts, crushed candies, flavored chips ( … [Read more...]

Allow me to share one of the finest works of art yet produced by Western Civilization

We haven't heard "Mary Didja Knowwww?" at Mass yet, but IF WE DO . . . … [Read more...]