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Tuesday, April 9, 2013


found art in Sparta

Monday was a good time for parking in front of Food Lion. A lot of parking spaces to pick from. The store was not crowded at the registers. I thought I may as well grocery shop on Mondays since it is inevitable that I need to drive to town for one reason or another every Monday. It is the day of the week I'd rather stay home and get over the weekend of staying up late three nights in a row. I'm becoming nocturnal. I really do my best after midnight. It took the whole day to get over waking up and by midnight I'm ready to read, write, paint. The day's obligations are over, the phone is not going to ring unless somebody died. All that I love to do I do best after midnight. If I remember correctly, which I don't, it seems Eric Clapton sang a song After Midnight in his electric rock star years, maybe with Cream. It's a shame how good they were in that time and are good in this time. Then there is Thelonious Monk's tune Round Midnight, one of my favorite jazz numbers and I don't know why, kind of like in bluegrass and old-time Maple On The Hill is about my favorite song and I don't know why. It just vibes with me right. Same with Round Midnight. That just put me in a mind to put on some Monk playing live at the It Club in LA with Charlie Rouse on tenor. One of those magical moments in recording that puts me into a minor bliss like Horowitz playing Schubert, Tommy Jarrell playing fiddle and Fred Cockerham playing banjo, and the other way around, on their album Tommy & Fred. Both are very soulful hillbilly musicians.

At the moment Josh Blevins of Whitetop VA is picking open-back old-time banjo. It's a field recording made available to we who love this music by the label Field Recorder's Collective. A lot of beautiful music from field recordings has been available at this label Field Recorder and the website is self-explaining. It is a dynamite catalog of old-time music. The label is a service to humanity. It is a non-profit so buying the cds helps the label toward the expense of bringing out a new one. All their cds are fine examples of old-time music, some of them having that magical accidental quality that makes them stand out from all the others. I felt like Gaither Carlton's cd of old-time fiddle and banjo was hanging down on a string  from heaven like a fish hook if you want a little taste of heaven. I think I'd like to be bunked on the old-time music corridor with the music of these mountains from before electricity was imagined. I love the old squawking fiddle of Marcus Martin and Gaither Carlton. Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham play that old squawking hillbilly music that makes my heart flutter for the beauty of it. Fred plays on George Pegram's Rounder #001 album. Fred squawked his fiddle and sang with his old hillbilly voice that wasn't about pretty, but was about delivering the words of the songs with music, often while playing the fiddle too.

I went looking for Kyle Creed's Heritage cd, Bobby Patterson's label in Woodlawn, Virginia. I was having to dig deeper than I wanted to go and came upon Kevin Fore's Round Peak, The Tradition Continues. He plays banjo and sings songs with fiddlers like Benton Flippen, James Burris, Kirk Sutphin and Eddie Bond who plays fiddle on some, guitar on several and sings on several. Several Round Peak musicians like Chester McMillan on his rhythm guitar, Joey Burris on guitar, Verlin Clifton on mandolin. It is a kind of all-star album of mostly Round Peak musicians by Bobby Patterson's label, Heritage, Kevin Fore the banjo player. It is a good example of music from this region of the mountains about half way between Sparta and MtAiry off Highway 89. It's some almighty fiddling and banjo pickin. At this moment Eddie Bond is playing the fiddle and singing Rockingham Cindy, Kevin Fore and Kirk Sutphin playing banjos. A good rendering of the Tommy Jarrell great song. To my ear, Jarrell made that song his own. That doesn't stop these guys from giving it a respectable go. Round Peak, the next generation. Almost put on a Clark Kessinger album. May hear it next. I don't know why I play music so seldom. I've come to prefer silence. I can hear myself think when there is no racket. Music holds my attention, clears my mind. Silence lets the mind run until it slows down to a walk.

It was early afternoon when I went into the grocery store. Food Lion has a little space unto itself where they keep the produce in a cooler temperature than the rest of the store. Pushing my cart toward the entrance doorway, a man and woman who looked awfully married were standing directly in the middle of the doorway discussing whatever it was that was important to them. I waited a moment wondering if they'd wake up any time soon. A woman about my age walked up from behind me with a cart. She waited a moment. Then she headed for the exit door and I followed her. All I wanted to do was get a bag of oranges. I dropped them into the cart and exited through the exit, swung back around to get some bananas and the couple had just made a decision that whatever they wanted was not inside the doorway where they stood unconsciousness as people, we and others, lined up and went around them to the exit door after waiting like at a traffic light.

If one of us had spoken to them noting they're blocking the doorway, they'd have exploded in apologies, Oh we're sorry! Explaining and shittin and gittin. It would have brought them into consciousness from a deep cavern in unconsciousness so fast it might have given them the bends. I thought of girls in high school talking in the doorways before and after class. A bunch going in see a bunch coming out and they talk in the doorway while the guys on both sides of the door fume waiting for them to get in motion and unblock the door. They don't do it intentionally. They do it unconsciously. The adult couple in the doorway at the grocery store did not irritate me. They must have reasonable IQs. I just marveled at the unconsciousness. I thought these people actually get around in traffic. Obviously city people, they must drive in city traffic and they drove from wherever to Sparta. I jotted it down in my head as the inexplicable event of the day.


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