I live in a community that treasures live music. Perhaps that makes sense here in the middle of Penn’s Woods where we have lots of natural beauty but only a few movie theaters and rare and scattered nightclubs. I’ll never understand what some people mean when they say, “There is nothing to do around here.” And it’s not only young people. Sure, there is no beach, and sand with bikini-clad beauties sunbathing, but there are country girls and boys and miles of rivers and mountain water streams to play in. There is not the excitement of crowded city streets, but there is the excitement of a forest full of sounds and colors and the tracks of wilderness residents in the mud.
And even in the winter, if you are properly clothed there are snowshoe trails, ski slopes, snowmobiles. In the fall and early spring there is the glory of bird migration, various songs filling up the night into the summer. And summer there are the fireflies, the crickets by a fire at night. So much to enjoy here.
But of course we don’t live in wilderness huts. There are so many universities with opportunities to explore the arts. Heck, you can even take a class in repelling. There are small Victorian towns and shops, wonderful restaurants, art and history museums, all for reasonable costs. And at many of these locations you’ll find one of the most important things in life, music.
Bands, trios, duets, jazz jams, hair bands, classical quartets, there are places where all of these can be heard. My sweetheart Brian plays piano and keyboard and will be playing at the Priestly Chapel tomorrow morning for their monthly community service of poetry and music. Raymond Cummings will be reading his poems. It’s not a religious gathering really, but it certainly is spiritual and good for the soul. Brian has played for weddings and parties and with various groups. I am lucky to have his music in my house, along with my sons playing guitar, singing, producing videos and writing poems.
Our friend Steve Mitchell leads a little house band of local players who invite others to join in and play every Monday night at a bar in Lewisburg. Maybe these influences are why I find myself more and more listening to bands with a variety of instruments, or even just a few who harmonize and play so well together that you cannot listen and find yourself saying that there is “nothing to do” around here.”
For this week’s Saturday Song segment I give you a duet whose harmonies and acoustic sounds remind me of growing up listening to Simon and Garfunkel. The duo from Norway call themselves “The Kings of Convenience.” The video below is from a live performance at what appears to be a little old church-turned-music-venue in Iceland from 2009. If you have trouble playing the video, just click on the HD logo to reduce the quality. Sadly it slows down this old laptop of mine. The studio version can be heard by clicking here.
And if you like this, you may enjoy their song “Mrs. Cold,” and perhaps “Peacetime Resistance.” I’ve compared them to Simon and Garfunkel, but I have to confess something. I think I like them better, maybe because S&G are legends untouchable from my past, and these guys are more personal, approachable. Perhaps there is no song like “Sound of Silence” or “The Boxer” that can be ever matched, but there is something more intimate and lovely here, at least for me.
This song is called “Rule My World,” and my favorite lines ring with an honesty that is hard to find in a world of posers and pretenders.
I speak before I think.
You shoot before you know
Who’s in your line of fire.
So somehow we’re the same.
We’re causing people pain.
I stand and take the blame;
You scramble to the night.