I took my daughters to the Twin Cities yesterday to celebrate turning 12. Since we were there, we drove by Paisley Park. We had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect what was there. Officials blocked off the turning lane. (I had to drive to the next stoplight and make a U-turn.) They posted “no parking” signs. Nearby businesses chained off their parking lots. But I still found a place to park. Hundreds of cars. Hundreds of people. Everyone in their own little world — alone or with their group — and yet together. Subdued. Quiet. Kind. Even in cars, letting someone in. Almost as if the whole thing were orchestrated. We walked along the entire length of the fence. As we made our way back to the entrance, we heard from a car making its way back out of the area the unmistakable tune and lyrics of “Little Red Corvette.” Perfect ending.
I <3 Twitter. Don’t you? It is SO full of awesome. And, OMG, the music. I follow some of my favorite musicians on Twitter, and I’ve found some great music I probably never would have found otherwise. The Snake Charmers? Hello. Rock!
I’ve followed Choo Choo, a band from Switzerland, for a while (@choochootheband). I finally ordered their CD, and it arrived the other day, so I listened to it. Oh, what fun. They describe their sound as 1960s teenage beat and Indie pop. And, yeah, I hear the 1980s resurgence of the 1960s in there. They remind me just a touch of Southern Culture on the Skids (SCOTS are way more hillbilly, but something is similar, especially the frantic drums) with a dash of The Finnsters, who could do a mean Steppin’ Stone back in the day. They’re working on a new album right now, and I think it’s due out later this year. Go, Choo Choo!
(Speaking about SCOTS, did I ever tell you about them, Skipper’s and Stephen King? Eh, another day, then.)
I saw Taylor Swift on Saturday Night Live the other night. While she played her guitar and sang, I thought, ah, to be 19 again. How exciting things must be for her right now. Typical thoughts of someone old enough to be her mother, I suppose. But, wow. She’s getting hit from all sides these days.
Kanye West hijacked her VMA moment in the spotlight when he jumped on stage, grabbed the microphone from her and told the world (or at least that part of it that still watches MTV) she shouldn’t have won.
Wynonna Judd said too much when Swift swept the CMA Awards, calling it “too much of a good thing too soon” for Swift.
I’m not sure what kind of problems West has, but a 32-year-old man stealing the thunder from a 19-year-old? Shame on you, Kanye.
Wynonna? Since when did you decide what’s best for someone else? Come on. You were in your teens when you started out. You “drove your car” the first year you were out? Swift delivered demo tapes to producers her first year out … when she was 11. Yes, you “apologized” later, but you know what? Instead of smelling like desperation, you really should have acted like the older professional you are and shared some encouraging words with the next, great, young talent. Shame on you, Wynonna.
Let me just get this out of the way. Mr. Jones, it’s amazing that you’re still walking the earth, considering all you’ve been through in your almost 80 years, and I’m glad you are. You’re a legend. The end. Amen. However … you really should pick on somebody your own size. Shame on you, George.
Y’all? Just because you have an opinion, doesn’t mean you have to express it out loud, whether you’re on the record or off. (I’m looking at you, too, Mr. President.) Silence really can be golden. Or at least it can save you from making an a$$ out of yourself. Just saying.
I’ve been following Marie of The Snake Charmers on Twitter (@Snakecharmers) and Facebook for a while. I’m not sure how I found her, but she’s fun. I’d sampled her music here and there, but I just bought her CD, “Been Gone too Long.” (I first read that, “BEER Gone too Long.) Good stuff. Good, good stuff. Next time I’m in Houston? I’d love to see them live … and buy Marie a margarita.
As for Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis, I bought their CD the same time I bought The Snake Charmers. I tell you what. They go well together. Both sing the blues. And, wait … what. You didn’t know Willie & Wynton had a CD? Yeah, OK. I laughed when I first saw that. But I tell you what. YUM. That’s what.
I met Wynton Marsalis in Thomasville, Georgia, when I was living in Tallahassee, Florida, after what was — I swear — THE BEST CONCERT EVER. It was in the auditorium of the old grade school where my dad taught fifth grade during the first year of integration in the schools there. I hadn’t been in that school for 20-some years, but I remembered being in the auditorium the minute I stepped inside again. It was a small venue. Comfortable. Intimate. Memorable.
In any case, if you like the blues, go get some from Marie, Willie & Wynton. They serve it up … hot.
That’s what you get for writing a song about Leland, Iowa, and not, say … Palm Springs.
The thing about living “in the middle of nowhere” is that not all celebrities fly over. Some drive through on a tour bus. Some actually stop.
That’s exactly what Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West, did. They’re on tour up this way (and they’ll be in Tampa on Jan. 31, my Florida friends), and they stopped in Leland on their way from Minneapolis to Omaha.
Band member John Coinman has relatives in the area, and he wrote the song Leland, Iowa, for the band’s album Untold Truths released in November 2008. Besides, the local radio station called and asked them to come.
So … who knew I’d be living 10 minutes from where Kevin Costner would sing? For free. In a barn. (Yes. A barn. This is Iowa.)
:::Go to the diner, and they will come:::
The barn could only hold 200 or so people, and Leland residents with tickets got first dibs. The rest of us froze outside for 45 minutes (which is about the time it takes for frostbite to set in), waiting to see him maybe walk from his warm bus to the warm barn. Even better. He stopped and thanked us for waiting so long in the cold. (Everyone was quiet because, well, our lips were numb. I couldn’t feel my toes anymore.)
Then he said he felt bad that there wasn’t room for us in the barn. So he said, “Go to the diner, and we’ll play some songs for you there.” So we did. So did he.
He sat on the bar and sang three songs, the last of which was Leland, Iowa.
He said a few words and kissed a few girls.
He signed a few hockey sticks, shook a few hands and took some pictures.
After listening to Superman, oh, 5,394 times, the kids were finally interested in hearing what else is on LLB’s Forgiven CD. I picked Always, my favorite, and now they call it “Mommy’s song.” They like it because the tune reminds them of the Curious George song. But my son also listens to the lyrics and realizes it’s a love song.