Thursday, February 12, 2009

Music -- in your face!

As earlier confessed, yours truly loves music. As told earlier, I selected the name for this, my second blog, from Nashville's best-known nickname, "Music City". But dear reader, I feel like I'm about to go into sensory overload with the musical offerings!

It's a case of "music -- in your face!"

Got an e-mail Monday from the choir director at Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples) about how well we sang "Peace in the Valley". I also heard on WSM-AM 650 "The Air Castle of the South" (and home of the Grand Ole Opry) a report about the Grammy Awards show of the evening before, and how my "main man" in popular music, George Strait FINALLY got to take home a Grammy! (He should have already had a barn full of them back at his South Texas ranch, were the Grammys not so political!)

And then came Monday evening. One Monday a month WSM's evening deejay Eddie Stubbs has "An Intimate Evening" with some country artist. His guests for that program were Dailey and Vincent. I had been unfamiliar with this new bluegrass duo. But I'm quickly becoming a firm fan of theirs.

During the first hour of the "Intimate Evening" I heard Dailey and Vincent doing a song that I dearly love, even tho' it always makes my head leak: "More Than a Name on 'The Wall' ". It's ironic that the song affects me so, because nobody dear to me perished in the Vietnam War. But it certainly set a dark cloud over my teen years, as the war all but tore my beloved country apart. When I got to visit "The Wall" in DC on Memorial Day (observed) of 1999, two impressions bore down on me and fixed themselves in my memory. One, that so many, many lives were sacrificed in the one war our country ever lost. And two, the highly polished stone reflecting my mirror image was a very sobering reminder that but for the grace of God (and Army ROTC) my name could have ended up on "The Wall"! Thus, I cherish in a sorrowful way this song in which a mother prays for her son to know that he's more than just a name on that sad memorial.

Shortly after that song Dailey and Vincent sang a gospel song in which the singer affirms that when he gets to Heaven he will know the Savior by the marks of the nails. It's a great expression of a theme that I've heard in other gospel songs. But it seemed particularly endearing in the bluegrass rendition of this song!

During the "Intimate Evening", held in the Ford Theater within the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the duo expressed how the Statler Brothers are heroes of theirs and that they often set old Statler hits to bluegrass style. This is great! I've always preferred the quartet singing of the Statlers to that of the other famous pop country quartet, the Oaks. And indeed, for their finale Dailey and Vincent did the Statler hit "Do You Know (You Are My Sunshine)", urging -- insisting -- that host Eddie Stubbs join in by singing the essential bass part of the song. This was great! What a show!

Now. . . during this weekdays going-home rush-hour WSM's Mike Terry has been doing a quiz contest, with Grand Ole Opry tickets as prize. His quiz question is to give the name of a Ray Stevens hit (Ray is guesting this Saturday on the Opry), not by it's familiar name but rather by definition. For example Monday rush-hour his definition was "congealed liquid particles in the air". I wracked my brain trying to figure that one out. And I like to have died when the answer was the Stevens hit "Misty". Of course! So obvious!

Well, on Wednesday (yesterday) Mike's clue/definition was "jungle resident with the name of a musical instrument." I'm not at all familiar with the song itself, but this one was obvious to me: "Guitarazan!" Thus, I've got tickets to the late Opry show on Saturday!

Within two hours I also had a ticket to next Thursday's Nashville Symphony Pops Concert, with the Opry's Riders in the Sky. You see, Dawn Hartley, wife of Eastwood Christian Church's pastor, is on the Symphony, playing oboe. Thru this connection (she also sings in the choir and actually used to be choir director until symphony stuff conflicted) I have a ticket to hear the champions of "the Cowboy Way" do their song and humor with an award-winning orchestra as back-up. This will a dream fulfilled! You see, the first year I lived in San Antonio Riders in the Sky was scheduled for the final pops concert of the season with that city's symphony. This was to be in May of 2002 -- but in April that symphony folded. It was revived within a year, and in '06 or '07 the Riders were to be back in the pops concert line-up. This concert did happen as scheduled, but yours truly just didn't have the money to buy a ticket. And no connection with a S.A. symphony member.

So, "Thank you, Dawn!" It's sure nice to become a member of a church community with so many musically talented members!

But then again, this may come close to being just too much music. Music -- in your face!

I'll survive! And I'll give you, dear reader, a report on both my attendance at the Grand Ole Opry this Saturday evening and next Thursday's Nashville Symphony pops concert with Riders in the Sky!

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