Brandi Carlile: Party of One

From the album of the year (perhaps decade), By the Way, I Forgive You, here are couple of videos of Brandi Carlile’s Party of One.

For me, Party of One is about being so in love with your partner or spouse, but despite that love, also having times of feeling so alone, wishing and fantasizing for something more, something less, or something else—wanting to run—yet still knowing where you belong and who you belong with. It reminds me of certain times in my relationship with Danny, particularly after we became responsible for keeping another human being alive. Also, in many ways Party of One distills the theme of my play Two Spoons down into a 5:47 song.

She closed the show with this when we saw her at the Beacon. And I wept.

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Before You Go

Dear Kevin,

When you were little you didn’t like when we over explained things to you. You were an extremely curious kid. (You still are.) Like a detective you’d ask a lot of questions to get at the truth, or at least your understanding of it. But once your curiosity had been satisfied, you wanted us to stop talking. You had no patience for anything that sounded preachy. When you sensed a lecture or sermon coming on, you’d interrupt and say, “I don’t want to know. And I don’t want you to tell me.” So please forgive us for writing this letter of unsolicited advice.

What follows are things we have come to believe and value about life and the human experience. Much of it we learned from you, by being your dads. All of the sentiments expressed below have been said or written by others, and with more eloquence than us. And our thoughts are repetitive, disjointed, and scattered. One passage may contradict another—sometimes in the same sentence—but that’s life: a complicated, repetitive, disjointed, random, beautiful mess. The route is seldom a direct express.

The tone below veers into commencement speech territory, including generalizations and nauseating clichés commonly heard at graduations. But since neither of us are likely to ever deliver a graduation commencement speech, this is our attempt at passing on what we’d like to believe is wisdom, all of which you are free to ignore. (Skip past the dotted lines if “you don’t want us to tell you.”)

So from us to you, in no particular order, here goes.

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Brandi Carlile: Beginning to Feel the Years

This morning Brandi Carlile’s “Beginning to Feel the Years” came to the top of my iTunes shuffled “All Songs” playlist. I instantly knew I wanted to post the song with a few loving words about my husband Danny. So I searched for a video. In the process, I went on a little YouTube sidebar binge, watching other Brandi Carlile videos, including her Late Show with David Letterman performance of “Keep on the Sunny Side” with The Avett Brothers

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Blue Laws and Fountains of Wayne

It happened on a Sunday in early 1997. Because of Bergen County’s blue laws that kept most stores closed, I had driven down to Wayne, NJ, to shop for some new music. I’d been going to Willowbrook Mall and the other area shops around Wayne for as long as I could remember. As a kid, my neighbor’s mom would take her two sons, my brother, Matt, and I—with our pockets full of quarters—to the video game arcade at the mall. Years later, while I attended nearby Montclair State College, I would often go with friends to eat, shop, hangout, or sing karaoke in a basement bar of one of the restaurants (Casey O’Tooles?).

But that Sunday in 1997, I had gone by myself to The Wiz (an electronics and music store near Willowbrook, but not in the mall) to search the rows of CDs for something new. At the end of one of those rows was a special display, a rack of CDs featuring local artists. And that’s when Fountains of Wayne’s self-titled debut album caught my eye.

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A Bucs Fan For Life

For the last forty years, I’ve been asked why and how I’m a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, especially being from New Jersey. I usually say the first football game I went to as a kid was a Giants/Buccaneers game. But I think I was already a fan by the time I went to that game. Truth is, the Bucs caught my eye the minute they entered the NFL in 1976, an expansion team along with the Seattle Seahawks–another team I root for.

I was eight years old when the Buccaneers completed their inaugural season with zero wins and fourteen losses. It’s when I must have developed a thing for losers and underdogs—I’m also a Mets fan. In 1977, the Bucs kept me engaged by losing the first twelve games of their second season. With twenty-six losses in a row, my devotion to them was cemented.

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