Like the Sea

Like The Sea

The sea, I feel you like the sea,
deep inside, yet so far away.

I cling to every word you say,
you stole my heart, please give it back to me.

Could it be that it was all just a game to you?
Am I really such a fool?
Don´t you feel the nearness of us?
Life without you is just a rainy day.

Time plays tricks on our minds.
Still I hope there´ll be for us a time.

Anjù is Anja Graefe, a singer songwriter from Ulm, Germany. Anjù recorded Like the Sea at her home, and perhaps that’s part of what gives the song such an intimate sound, but most likely it’s Anjù’s voice, which is quiet, often just above a whisper. The lovely acoustic guitar part and bare bones bass line that accompany Anjù’s spare and sophisticated vocals offer the perfect amount of support to both singer and song.

Anjù‘s smooth voice has just the right amount of inflection and vibrato for contemporary folk, jazz, and even blues. Her approach to blues on her digital album The Attic Sessions is especially refreshing; there are no snarling or guttural sounds that all too often hit the listener over the head because they’re just not, well, snarly or guttural in the right way. Anjù on the other hand sounds a bit like Fiona Apple might sound if she were drifting off into a dream . . . Maybe even a little like Nora Jones. Anjù also tips her hat vocally to some of the icons of jazz, but possibly Chet Baker more than anyone. Just Get Lost, The third track on The Attic Sessions made me smile.

You can get Anjù‘s digital album The Attic Sessions on her bandcamp site and I suggest you do. There are quite a few songs that are just as good as Like the Sea, and all have the same sparse arrangement of voice and guitar. All the songs on The Attic Sessions, whether they’re bluesy or jazz influenced, are evocative and atmospheric, and Anjù’s voice has a lovely, subtle musicality that invites the listener in. Enjoy.

 

The Believers Will Be Suspicious

The Light, which ironically, is a darkly beautiful song, is from the 11-track album A Year, Six Days, & Seven Nights. This alchemical blues tune was written by R.M. Isaiah and Craig Vail. Together, the two make up The Believers Will Be Suspicious.

Craig Vail plays acoustic guitar and electric guitar on The Light, and R.M. Isaiah plays nylon stringed guitar, bass, keys, and percussion. The honest, nearly spoken vocals are Isaiah’s as well. As I said in an earlier post, R.M. Isaiah’s San Francisco sound  is magically tragic. His voice on The Light, with its world-weary, slightly worn timbre, expresses feelings you may be familiar with, whether you are a musician or not.

You can put me down for your tonight show tomorrow
Televise my barroom battle cry
The walls have grown so tall now I can barely see the grey sky
I’m stuck inside and so low on supplies

Late one night I saw the light
In the heart of a cold dark sky
It was something strange that I cannot explain
But I know I’m never gonna be the same

I go on at ten, so until then, what do I do?
I’m at the bar drinking, thinking of you
If I can’t get my pay, then I’ll be sleeping at the station
Dreaming I am home, in bed with you

Late one night I saw the light
In the heart of a cold dark sky
It was something strange that I cannot explain
But I know I’m never gonna be the same

A twenty dollar room, some cheap red wine, I’ll be fine
Smells like bad perfume and cigarettes
I don’t need shiny things to make me feel like I’m a king
What I don’t spend, I’ll send it home to you

Late one night I saw the light
In the heart of a cold dark sky
It was something strange that I cannot explain
But I know I’m never gonna be the same

Studying music therapy I learned that you can lift your mood using music. What? You already knew that? Of course you did. But what you might not know is that to begin the process of mood alteration you should start by choosing music that mirrors your mood. In other words, start with where you are. Next, listen to a song that’s slightly uptempo from the first one, and so on, until you feel better.

However while you’re in that first song place, deep in the mood that laid you low, you might want to consider Rumi’s poem The Guest House.

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and attend them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each guest has been sent as a guide from beyond.

I think The Believers Will be Suspicious welcome their dark thoughts in, and then hang out with them, probably in a dimly lit room. Despite its title, I imagine this song first showed its face in the shadows, in the dark. That’s where the some of the best stories are born.

The Light makes me think of another great song that tells the story of musicians on the road: Wanted Dead or Alive, from Bon Jovi’s 1986 album Slippery When Wet. The Load-Out from Jackson Browne’s 1977 Running on Empty is another good one, although it’s also a tribute to roadies and fans. It would be kind of cool to compile a list of songs like these, the songs about the shows, about the songs, about the way the players feel after they’ve been gigging for a while.

For a lot of musicians, examining their feelings about their careers as performers might be pretty tough. After all, music, live performances . . . as hard as we try to capture them, they are ephemeral creatures.

For me, Robert Mapplethorpe pegged it as he lay dying. Patti Smith’s shares his words in her amazing book Just Kids. She tells how she was standing by Mapplethorpe’s bed and he suddenly looked up and said, “Patti, did art get us?”

Patti Smith writes her thoughts about Mapplethorpe’s words then concludes, “Only a fool would regret being had by art.”

The Guest House translation by Coleman Barks.

More Music from the UK

On the fourth chord of I Sign I broke out in goosebumps. I don’t mean a couple sprang up along my arms, I mean shivering skin, all over my body. And that was before  Zara Kershaw started singing, her voice all breathy and bluesy.

I Sign is definitely part blues, but it’s a lot more. I Sign is pop, it’s alternative, and there’s something about it that makes me think of Broadway at it’s best.

Maybe that’s singer songwriter Zara Kershaw’s musical training showing, or maybe the lush piano and string parts that come in around minute two are responsible for the big sound that says, concert hall.

Then the music starts to swing, to skip towards a section that serves as a bridge but also as the triumphant sounding climax of what is essentially a love story. Although I confess, I can’t figure out if this love is beginning or ending, I absolutely love the concept, “I Sign”, whether to begin, or end, a relationship portrayed in a three-minute song. Brilliant.

Zara Kershaw describes her songs as having “contrapuntal streams of enriched vocal harmony” and towards the end of I Sign I found myself choosing my favorite vocal line and singing along. After a while I created my own harmony and layered it on top.

When the song ended at just over three and a half minutes, I was surprised. It didn’t feel long enough. I wished for a second chorus before the swinging section, or repeated choruses at the end. But really, there’s no problem with I Sign, you must simply play it over and over.

Zara Kershaw is from the UK and I thought I might have heard the influences of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel in her music, as well as a bit of raw energy that I consider more . . . American. That bit of edgy blues made me think of Melissa Etheridge, but just for a second. Singer songwriter Zara Kershaw is her own artist. If we’re lucky she’ll come over and play a few shows. If she does, you’ll hear about it on Sirenstories. Stay tuned.

Do Sirens Wear Sensible Shoes?

I love this lyric:

Moving Day, I tore up your picture and packed the frame.

Check out Moving Day by Sensible Shoes.

Catch Sensible Shoes tonight at the Orchard House Cafe, NYC.

Read my earlier blog to learn more about the Vermont based band Sensible Shoes the group film director Jonathan Demme says, “Rules the blues news!”

Click on the poster to connect with Sensible Shoes on fb.


DIRT BLUES won! The Question is – have you heard it?!

Hear it here!

http://mimicross.com/DirtBlues.php

Mimi Cross Winner of DLH Word Poem posted by kathytemean

Mimi Cross attended the Toms River Children’s Writing Retreat in the beginning of October and followed my suggestions on getting yourself noticed.  She was in the picture book group and had submitted a story in ryhme.  She probably likes to write poems, because of her musical talents.  Mimi is quite an accomplished singermimi and with a professioinal CD of her songs.
Anyway, I had told everyone to look for places to show off their talents and one of the places I had mentioned was David L Harrison’s Blog. He has given poets’ a place to post their poems.  This month was the First Monthly “Word of the Month” poem contest.  The word was“Dirt.”  Mimi entered and today, she was the first winner with her poemDIRT BLUES.
She says she will be putting up a mp3 of her Dirt Blue Song. I will add it to this post when I receive it.

Congratulations!  Mimi!

Here is –

DIRT BLUES

When you talk about dirt,
You gotta talk about dig.
When you talk about mud,
You gotta talk about a pig.
Oh baby . . .
How do I make my way?
When I start with common dirt – I naturally head straight for a cliche.
My Grandma said, “You eat a peck
Of dirt before you die.”
But I say, “What the heck?!”
I can avoid that if I try!
Oh Grandma . . .
What can you tell me now?
I gotta write this dirty poem, but I cannot – figure out how.
I guess I’ll start from scratch.
With a wordy mud pie.
That way I’ll use a bit of dirt
And mix it with these tears
I cry . . .
Out of frustration and fear.
I’ve got a grimy little blues song – that no one else will ever hear.
– Mimi Cross

If you get a chance, stop by Mimi’s website and listen to her wonderful voice.  Thank you to David L Harrison for putting in the time on his blog to help show off other talented writers.  If you would like to read the winner of the Young Poets’ WORD OF THE MONTH poem, go toYAAgroup’s Blog.  The winner is a 5th grade and she did an excellent job.

Kathy