Remembering with Shakti: Lotus Feet and Vancouver’s Sea Wall

It was a couple years ago that this piece of music resoundingly re-entered my life. The spring in Vancouver seemed to be a never-ending stream of sunny, tranquil days, riding my bicycle along the miles and miles of sea wall ringing the city. This is a spectacularly beautiful city once it wakens from its winter greys. I’d spent the winter in Whistler, one of the world’s great ski resorts, and had reconnected to the bliss of skiing, of living in a true winter with new snow daily for weeks on end. Whistler is even more spectacular, blanketed with snow ,than Vancouver blanketed in cherry blossoms and blue skies.
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Wild Horses: everyone covers the Rolling Stones

I love covers. My iPod holds hundreds of them. Wild Horses being among my favourite songs, there should be no surprise it’s covered several times over. I thought I’d share a few of them with you…and a new one shared with me just this morning.

This first one …Mmm… a deliciously intimate live performance featuring Alicia Keys’ silkily husky voice playing off Adam Levine’s high-pitched nasal twang. The gentle, soothing acoustic intrumentation of guitar and piano just lulls you into a warm, gentle place of longing.

I’m not sure there’s a better songwriter alive today than Dave Matthews. He’s got a huge catalogue of music, one that’s expanded by a long list of exquisite covers. His live renditions of Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower are flat out epic. Interesting that I hadn’t heard this Wild Horses cover until this morning, after posting a couple of the others here on FB. (Thanks Trevor!) Among Matthews’ greatest talents is arranging a variety of instruments into a song. Perhaps this is in part due to the quality of the instrumentalists he brings into the mix? I don’t know, but there’s always something interesting going on instrumentally with anything he produces, and this performance is no exception.

This live rendering has been attributed variously to Jewel, Charlotte Martin, Tori Amos and Chantal Kreviazuk. I’m certain it’s Kreviazuk’s powerful voice that just crushes this song. A very simple but potent interplay of piano and strong, clear vocal … I’d have loved to have been in the room for this one. She soars, and the lyrics soar with her. A Candian, btw.

My favourite? I’m sticking with this one. Back before iPods I’d load up my CD changer with six discs and throw it on shuffle. The Sundays’ first album, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic pretty much lived there…the songs from it would mix fluidly with just about anything.

There’s a bright, upbeat, hopeful quality and tempo to David Gavurin’s acoustic guitar that’s matched and exceeded by Harriet Wheeler’s true, clear, plaintive voice. That’s true for the rendition of this song as well. And yet…the song remains a lament, a loss, a lost hope for an unlikely change of heart.

Are any of these any better than the Stones? Hmmm… Maybe not. Especially this rendition. Mick and Keith have had a looong time to work all the details out on this one…they know more about it than anyone else. In 1995 they got together for an unplugged album, Stripped.

Are any of these your favourite? Have you got another cover you’d like to share?

The Tao of Love and Light: Riffing on physics and faith

The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism

The Tao of Physics

The following is a comment storm that blew out of a seemingly innocent status message I posted on Facebook. It got a few of us thinking, and I think the thinking in it, on all sides, is interesting.

Note that the quote, by Stephen Edwards, is not taken from the book, The Tao of Physics, by Fritjof Capra.
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Peter Gabriel’s “So” — change is coming down like red rain

The text below (with some new edits) was posted as a link on my Facebook profile a week shy of three months ago. I’d just returned from a nearly 3 month-long road trip through the western US, preceded by 2 months in Australia. The story it tells begins to describe the unusual relationship I have with music. Yes, it’s my muse, as this site’s title insists, a source of inspiration and insight. Even more than that, there’s a mystical timeliness to the way songs appear in my life, an undeniable synchronicity often accompanied by portent, a message or significant meaning.
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Neil Young: Don’t Cry No Tears Around Me

Please excuse me… I’ve been caught up in the mundane world these past few days and, so, not posting. Well, I’ve been writing — there are at least three blog posts in varying degrees of draft status… Eventually. <grin>

In the meantime…here’s a song I’m sure you’ll like…

To Kill a Mockingbird: the courage of Atticus Finch

It’s the 50th anniversary of the publishing of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I’ve got the film paused, just after the scene in which the verdict is handed down. Guilty. Both the film and the book resonate very deeply with me, in all the themes they touch upon. Family, community, love, goodness, social responsibility, justice, right and wrong…right and wrong particularly regarding the conditions of racial and class inequality as they existed in the United States in the years before the Civil Rights Movement, but also right and wrong in the spiritual sense of a human dignity that trumps the rational system of justice. Underlying all these is a greater theme that ties them together in the person of Atticus Finch.

Jem, I don’t know if it’ll help, but, I want to say this to you. There are some men in this world who are born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father’s one of them.

~ Maudie Atkinson
To Kill a Mockingbird

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Courage is…: Joannie Rochette & Petra Majdič

The greatest achievement of this 2010 Winter Olympic games wasn’t Canada’s first Gold medal, or its last, or any other Gold or Silver medal awarded in the Olympics. The two most courageous performances in the Olympics netted Bronze. One was a battle as much with emotional trauma as with any other competitor. The other was a battle through serious injury, repeated several times over.

On February 26 it was announced that Petra Majdič and Joannie Rochette are the two Olympians to receive the prestigious Terry Fox Award, the purpose of which is to honour an Olympian who touched the world with courage, humility and extraordinary athletic abilities at the 2010 Games.
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The Philosopher Kings all dressed up for San Francisco, bringing their charms

It was the summer of 1995. I was back from extended travels through Australia and SE Asia, living in a Deep Cove cabin with the gentle high-tide waves lapping on the rocks just 20 feet below me while I busily built a website (a blog long before the name became popularised) from the travelogue and photographs I’d compiled during nearly a year of exploring new worlds. It was the summer of ’95, a summer of music, and a summer of loving. I’d been back just a month or so and had just graduated to the seaside cottage, a dingy little thing with short ceilings, sloping floors and two windows onto the Cove through which the sound of live bands drifted in from the park part way ’round the cove. Yes, it was the summer of music, with lots of stories to tell. Midnight Oil’s Blue Sky Mining seemed to live in my tape deck, and I’ll probably always equate the drive into The Cove with that band.
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Sheryl Crow is strong enough to be my man…

Sheryl Crow, I don’t know, she’s got something going on, and has been one of my muses at critical moments. She writes and sings like a broken angel, with equal measures of strength and vulnerability, passion and fear, hope and futility. Some of her music is exquisitely beautiful — notably just about anything from the album Wildflower — and some of it is deeply moving — notably, just about anything from the album Wildflower. This one’s not from that album (rather, Tuesday Night Movie Club). Here it’s arranged as a simple (nonetheless beautiful) country melody. While the words ride gently over it, beneath them runs a subterranean river, in a dark, soulful place Sheryl Crow goes better than anyone else. There flows a sense of betrayal, pain and futility. From all that, Crow extracts a searing elixir of truth then, somehow, you drink it down and it’s beautiful.
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