My Faithful Instrument

My Faithful Instrument

The Music of my life
The Beat of my heart
The Dance of a lifetime
The Joy and Laughter of my Spirit
The perfect rhythm and movement of each all of my days
The sweetest of melodies
The heat of love and compassion
The warmth and tender closeness of the waltz
The stage for my performances
Your body and spirit are my smooth and perfect instrument
And together in each other’s arms exist the only safe place and piece of heaven I have ever found
Handled with care
We will play on….

U2: No Line On The Horizon: Music Review

U2 No Line On The Horizon

U2

U2 No Line On The Horizon_Review_Entertainment

Pothier

Contributing Writer

U2-Bono, Adam Clayton, Edge, and Larry Mullin Jr., released a new CD in multiple formats on March 2, 2009. The image of the album, No Line On The Horizon, is one of hope and optimism in a time of chaos, (interview on Good Morning America 3/6/09). U2 has always been a band of the people, both on and off the stage. Thirty years of twists and turns on the road took them to the Good Morning America Show (ABC) broadcasting from Fordham University Friday.

These singer, songwriter, musicians for the world, dedicated a song to college students; which is where U2 got their start as 17/18 year olds, and it is where generational change begins. The song, ‘I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight,’ could be a college party anthem, however, the lyrics-“Every generation gets a chance to change the world/ Pity the nation that will not listen to your boys and girls/ ‘Cos the sweetest melody is the one we haven’t heard,” seduces with the beat, to change the world as well as enjoy youth in going crazy. Later in the song there is a call of, “shouting to the darkness, squeeze out sparks of light.”

U2 still has plenty to play and say. Bono said in an interview with Kate Snow that they have many songs written and hope that they will remain a line on the horizon with no end in sight. “When we came out with our first record, Boy, we couldn’t get played on commercial radio,” Bassist Adam Clayton recalled. “And it was the colleges that kept that record alive, and we would go to every college and do interviews (, MTV interview 3/6/09).” Snow mentioned that the way music is listened to now is in a downloading of selected songs. Bono said; “that the recording is designed as an album and works as a beginning to an end.” People can listen any way they want, however, the nuance which can be heard and felt in lyrics and music would be missed in just sampling the CD.

Robin Roberts from GMA told the band that in turbulent times their music helps us to get thru difficulty. Bono expounded on the music saying; “the music is honest, rock and roll is a mixture of blues as well as the gospel highness.” The recording was done in N.Y. City, Dublin, London, and Morocco. The Morocco work was the spiritual heart of the album with the songs Magnificent, Unknown Caller and White as Snow done there in a place known for tolerance…

U2 is back and you too can go into the sound. Paraphrased from some of the lyrics, “I am gonna’ shout it…the future needs a big kiss…get on your boots…laughter is eternity if joy is real…let me in the sound…flowin’ down…wanna’ drown… let me in the sound. The reviewer went in, felt it, and it felt like blues, gospel based honest rock and roll. Roll with U2!

© Captain Ken Pothier 6/9/09

Ray Lamontagne–Till The Sun Turns Black–CD Review

Till The Sun Turns Black–Review of the Music and Wisdom

Of RAY LAMONTAGNE

By Ken Pothier–Southern New Hampshire

It is not often that a work of music captures your ears and then steals your heart in touching emotions and feelings on first listen.

Ray Lamontagne with his CD Till The Sun Turns Black drew me in on the first song and I found myself sitting up to hear the wisdom of the lyrics in this work by an artist that is a Wizard of Words, capturing deep feelings and channeling them thru music.

Music that is haunting, ambient and tranquil at times and rises when needed as high as the depth of this mans feelings. This is a man who captures the singer songwriter musicianship that Jackson Browne and Dan Fogelberg did on their breakthrough albums years ago. I also felt the depth that the Beatle’s Rubber Soul and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water made me feel on first listens to those works of art and music. This is Enya on testosterone with real musicians capturing lyrics and feelings that take balls to touch.

Drawn in on first listen, better and more nuanced each time. It is good as background or as a place to tap feelings and emotions. Ray goes deep in palpating words and music perfectly blended as if channeled from the wisdom of the ancestors.

From BE HERE NOW

“Don’t let your mind get weary and confused- your will be still don’t try”

“Don’t let your heart get heavy- child inside you there is strength that lies”

“Don’t let your soul get lonely- child its only time it will go by”

“Don’t look for love in faces places- it’s in you that’s where you’ll find (it)

“Be here now- here now- Be here now- hear now”

Writer and musician–lyrical art study that helped me touch feelings of my own.

From EMPTY: “I never learned to count my blessings- I choose instead to dwell in my disasters”

“Somehow it’s still hard to let go of my pain- will I always feel this way so empty so estranged”

“of these cutthroat busted sunsets cold and damp white mornings I have grown weary”

“If thru cracked and dusty dime store lips I spoke these words would no one hear me”

And how about these killer lines from the same song: “Well I looked my demons in the eyes laid bare my chest said do your best to destroy me- said I’ve been to hell and back so many times I must admit you kind of bore me”

The real musicians including Ray play; acoustic guitar, piano, strings, violins, celli, bowed bass, percussion, viola, B3, Wurlitzer, electric piano, electric guitar, trumpet, sax, dobro, flute, uke, acoustic bass, mellophone, euphonium, Spanish guitar, French horn, reed organ,

See if such strength in word and music draws you in and hauntingly channels wisdom while touching your feelings.

Poem–A Search for Healing in So Much Sorrow: Writing 201:Poetry: Future

A Search for Healing in So Much Sorrow

The light both rises and falls on hopes horizon

So much sorrow and too little truth,

Need with so much greed

Sometimes I mourn for these sad days. These troubled times and the human race

My Big Dawg ‘Bruce Springsteen’ playing on the radio

Singing about ‘Devils and Dust.’

I write of broken hearted rust

In a search for healing I

Find revival in songwriters’ words we are

‘Born to Run’ from ‘Devils and Dust’

Find spark from song and the

Common ground of the common man

With a ‘Boss’ who lives truth from ‘E Street’

To Main Street

In stories of real people,  the

Heart of a country

So far removed from mindless spin of zombies

The right that is wrong

Sometimes you must mourn for the people of this world

All alone together

‘Devils and Dust’ filling our souls

Tough to breath and to know your roles

Dream our dreams and fulfill our goals

Come together, communicate and connect

A day at a time one step forward, two back

Dreams held and drifting we must

Resist, believe and persist in clouds and blue sky and in Shadows and light

Souls in danger with spiritual cost

Lives at risk with spirit lost

Strive to maintain faith and learn to love as we touch each day

The Shadow of our dreams, those we love and those whose love has touched us

Sadness of our own and those we wish to reach

We give our all each day alive but alone

To go down in dreams each night

Awake looking for the morning light

Cherished grace of charity and compassion

Quiet in our desperation

Energy spent with little residual

Sore wounded scorched spirit

Soul searching

Heavy load train of thought and emotion

Going too fast to just stay on track

We move up the next hill just to see hopes horizon

Hold on

How much sorrow can we bear?

Before doing determined best

Yielding we just put it down

Where the light both rises and falls

“God bless us and save us”

Grandfather said through Two World Wars

And through a grandson

“Great Spirit of all bless us and save us” from the greed and hypocrisy

So much sorrow

Help us to resist, believe and persist

Strive to maintain faith and search for healing

Learn to love as we live

Cherish grace of compassion and charity

Come together, Communicate and connect

Find the courage to believe in yourself and in others

On common ground

Where irreconcilable differences

Diminish, disperse and disappear

On hopes horizon

The place where the light both rises and falls

{Attribute: spark to years of listening to the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band and the rest to the genes inherited from the ancestors}

Tupelo Music Hall, Londonderry N.H. Review

Bassist

Yardbirds 2011

Yardbirds 2011

Jefferson Starship 2013

Jefferson Starship 2013

The Fixx Lead Guitarist

The Fixx Lead Guitarist

Duke Rubillard and Monster Mike Live

Duke Rubillard and Monster Mike Live

Saw Doctors Live

Saw Doctors Live

Ana Popovic??????????????

Ana PopovicThe Tupelo Music Hall –Review by Ken Pothier

Listen as they play–Play as you listen.
The music menu at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, NH is varied and delightful. It induces dancing, toe tapping, hand clapping and conversation. It is Americana, a cross–section of the heart of our country in which truth and light exude from the music. You cannot help but be moved by the sound and lyrics. The ‘live’ professional tight yet loose feel which is produced by musicians and artists that are at their best because they are doing what they love in front of an audience that understand and feel that spirit and joy. The Tupelo has fine acoustics in a cozy atmosphere. The musicians can see each face and feel the energy in a give and take that is missing in larger venues.
You want to call your friends and tell them something is going on that should not be missed–bring your enthusiasm, a voice, tapping fingers and feet, clapping hands. Revisit the days of connection, the time before technology took over and changed the way we interact. Rejuvenate your spirit and revel in the community of sharing the country’s past in the present. Return to the kick ass–kick up your heels feeling that helped move this country and gave life and spirit to its heart past. The backbeat of the Tupelo is that of a gathering of community, of friends, family and colleagues on the common ground of heartfelt sound that connects us all in a world wide web of the wonder of that coming together. The common ground of sound!
Come together right now. Dance, sing, move, feel this music from Americas’ Heartland and Heart. A combination of Blues, Folk, Soulful Gospel, Country, Rock, R&B, Southern Rock, Pop and Comic Relief is a taste of what is provided. All shine here in a live light that can touch us all. All are present day visits to our past.
One of the things that kept us moving forward in our national history was in the music of each period moving the generations along. Giving us hope, allowing us to hold to faith, getting us together and inspiring with a combination of words and music that refreshes spirit, boosts us up and pushes us along with the energy felt individually and derived from a synergy of the masses. These days we need this music again to inspire us to roll up our sleeves, go to work, and put the heart back in the heartland of America. So sing out with these consummate and caring professionals. They ‘get it’, and you should join in!
“So get up of your ass and dust off the past
Lift up your chin and turn it into a grin
Pull up your boots and get back to our roots
You live the blues, pay your dues, now go share the news
And kick up your heels in a new pair of shoes”
At THE TUPELO
Ken Pothier

The Lyrics and Lanquage of Music

  

 

 

 

Lyrics in the music of a life

“Time may heal, time may steal, time to decide and every thought of you casts its own shadow and everything I wanted is subject to review as time the conqueror closes in on a life.” Words paraphrased from the first and title song of Jackson Browne’s newest creation, Time the Conqueror[1]. Many times in my life the language of lyrics have been the music that kept me going in hard times, that helped me celebrate joys and accomplishment, that helped me lift my head when others harsh words beat me down and sucked the life out of any possibility of spontaneous action or creativity. Lyrics well written and found in a timely fashion are an unbroken thread that permeates my long and winding road in getting to this point. A time which finds me lost and searching when I should be enjoying the fruits of past labors, a time when I know exactly where I wish to go and how to get there. I find that word-processing my thoughts while listening to a brand new selection of music and lyrics from one of my favorite singer/songwriters helps heal fresh wounds and leads me back to that road I was on. Once again focus returns and creativity flows. It has always been this way for me, life and people knock you down, you listen learn and move a little to the groove and move on.

            The Language of Lyrics, lyrics to go with the music of life, a writers blues survival. Rock and roll rebellion, the angst of punk, rap, hip-hop, the grunge of rainy day alternative rock, the blues based feel of southern rock, dance, and disco, pop, folk, country, reggae, rhythm and blues, soul, the cool of jazz, international flavors and the music of cultures all carry their own language and lyrics for those who listen closely.

Inspired by returning to University, tested, enthused, pushed to creativity and thought in a natural high derived from writing odds and ends, bits and pieces of a life lived, observed. A large part of what has kept me going over the years and the tears is the music of my life pulling me along with the thread of a lyric put to soothing melody or vibrant rock beat. It has kept me sane after separation and divorce from a post traumatic, obsessive compulsive, politically correct, emotionally special needs wife, supported by me in so many ways. She abandoned and left me in the downward spiral of a parental alienation syndrome from my three girls and in an avalanche of emotional pain that I never saw coming. Naïve, I believed that truth mattered when a first, false, unnecessary and unjust restraining order was filed only to be told by two lawyers that truth has nothing to do with the law. A reprimanded judge, (Heffernan-MA) who never should have been allowed again on the bench to decide RO’s “had no choice but to extend the RO” and destroy any chance for communication and connection with my family.  My life changed forever though I had never broken the sacred trust between Man and Wife, Father and Child. Truth lost except in the words of my journals righting it out, touching truth and reality in the only ways left. Writing, listening, learning and moving on from an emotionally dead man walking to an inspired man talking, the thread played a large and critical role in my survival.

The thread began with a sleepover listening to the 45 revolution per minute records of an older friend of the family. It was a time when Elvis Presley was King, a rebellious young man from Mississippi ahead of his time, raw, energetic, an original leader of the baby boom generations search for meanings of their own. The rock n roll era began when I was young but far from rebellious, I was hooked when a muse arrived in the guise of a portable record player and two long playing records, Chubby Checker Twist and Introducing the Beatles-VJ Records. “Do You Want to Know a Secret” grasped the thread of lyrics for me and never let it go. Love Rain or Me (The Who), Let it Be (The Beatles), to Great Big Sea (Band from Newfoundland), a palpable connection in 45 flip sides, artist, producer, label, LP-long playing records, album cover art, jacket liner notes expanded my universe and pulled me beyond a household of 9 children and a High School away from my home town which I had no say in attending. It carried me to a job at 16, girls, and a 1963 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport with slush box on the floor, bucket seats trimmed in chrome and best of all a radio with rear speaker featuring reverb. The lyrics of the thread playing in the background were touching and intertwined with first loves. I bought my first three albums with that first paycheck, The Animals-Hits, Dave Clark Five-Best of, and The Rolling Stones. The sound and lyrics of The Animals: House of the Rising Sun with Gary Burton singing blew me away in the power of a bands performance touching words.

Bruce Springsteen strengthened my lyric thread with his life and our times written out, put to music and brought to a climax in concert with the E Street Band. Jackson Browne was contributing writer on a story about Springsteen in Rolling Stone Magazine. I was overjoyed when discovering this connection between two of my top lyric writers and musicians. I have taken selective quotes from the article and cannot outdo Jackson Browne’s portrayal of feelings (shared entirely by me) about the ‘Boss.’  Bruce Springsteen is the “Embodiment of rock and roll…combining strains of Appalachian music, rockabilly, blues, and Rhythm and blues, his work epitomizes rock’s deepest values: desire, the need for freedom and the search to find yourself. All through his songs there is a generosity and a willingness to portray even the simplest aspects of our lives in a dramatic and committed way.”

Jackson Browne on Bruce in concert, “…He had this descriptive power—it was just an amazing display of lyrical prowess live…”“It was drama, his approach to music, something that he would expand on many times over, but it was there from the beginning.” No concert is the same. “It was obvious that they were drawing on a vocabulary. It was exhilarating, and at the bottom of it all there was all this joy and fun and a sense of brotherhood, of being outsiders who had tremendous power and a story to tell…indistinct utterances have been magnified to communicate volumes……Bruce has always had enormous range in terms of subject and emotion…He is always working on a very large scale, a scale that is nothing short of heroic. He is one of the few songwriters who work on a scale that is capable of handling the subject of our national grief and the need to find a response to September 11th.[2] His sense of music as a healing power, of band—as—church, has always been there, woven into the fabric of his songs, He’s got his feet planted on either side of that great divide between black & white gospel, between blues and country, between rebellion and redemption.” The Rising on Columbia Records was Bruce’s answer to the events of 911, a short review from RS follows, “After everything fell down on September11th, 2001, Bruce Springsteen made the rock & roll we needed most–fifteen songs about getting up again—with the greatest backing combo in the world, the E Street Band. This Reborn in the USA swings between extreme despair (“You’re Missing”) and Irish wake (“Mary’s Place”). But in the grainy force of Springsteen’s voice and the muscular exaltation of the music, the power of ordinary men and women to build a new, atop so much loss, rings loud and true.”[3] Healing power drawn from lyrical truth found in focused listening just happens when the music touches you for his is an honesty which comes thru loud and clear. He is someone you can trust and believe in. As a retired Fire/Emergency Medical Response Captain, Springsteen’s lyrics in The Rising were palpable as he describes the thoughts and feelings of a firefighter responding to the twin towers in N.Y. 345 Firefighters lost their lives that day wearing the Maltese cross of their calling and as the men climb the towers their thoughts turn to their loved ones. Parenthesis added by me as the lyrics strengthen the thread.

The Rising

Can’t see nothin’ in front of me

Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind

I make my way through this darkness

I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me (duty)

Lost track of how far I’ve gone

How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed

On my back’s a sixty pound stone (SCBA air tank)

On my shoulder a half mile of line (folded pack of hose)

Come on up for the rising

Come on up lay your hands in mine

Come on up for the rising

Come on up for the rising tonight

Left the house this morning (firehouse)

Bells ringing filled the air (alarm bells)

Wearin’the cross of my calling (FF Maltese Cross)

On wheel of fire I come rollin’ down here (Fire Apparatus)

Chorus repeats

There’s spirits above and behind me (the already dead)

Faces gone black, eyes burnin’bright (fear in others faces)

 

May their precious blood bind me

Lord, as I stand before your fiery light

I see you Mary in the garden

In the garden of a thousand sighs

There’s holy pictures of our children

Dancin’ in a sky filled with light

May I feel your arms around me

May I feel your blood mix with mine

A dream of life comes to me

Like a catfish dancin’on the end of my line

 

Sky of blackness and sorrow

Sky of love, sky of tears

Sky of glory and sadness

Sky of mercy, sky of fear

Sky of memory and shadow

Your burnin’ wind fills my arms tonight

Sky of longing and emptiness

Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life

Chorus repeats[4]

 

Not long before the 2004 election, Bruce for the first time took a political stance and endorsed John Kerry for president. An addendum of his words in Rolling Stone, September 2, 2004 is attached. He expresses my desires for a president who, “places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America’s citizens, courage and faith.” This is another juncture where my feelings and the lyrics of Bruce and Jackson Browne intersect. Both write about the historic winds that surround us with focused concern. On the Iraq War of choice Bruce wrote the lyrics to Devils and Dust-2005[5] and Last To Die-2007[6] in which he paraphrases John Kerry’s words to a congressional committee during Viet Nam. My wife and I stood up front with the firefighters for Kerry at the last big rally in Manchester days before the election. The rest is History.

Who’ll be the last to die for a mistake

The last to die for a mistake

Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break

Who’ll be the last to die, for a mistake

-From the same album and the song Magic

Trust none of what you hear and less of what you see

This is what will be, this is what will be…

…and the freedom that you sought’s

Driftin’ like a ghost amongst the trees

This is what will be, this is what will be

 

Jackson Browne’s song The Drums of War[7] intertwines with the thread of my feelings facing another four years under Bush and at War:

…time comes when everything you ever thought you knew

Comes crashing down and flames up in front of you

Roll out the drums of war

Roll back the freedoms that we struggled for

What were those freedoms for?

Let’s not talk about it any more

Roll out the drums of war

Whatever you believe the necessary course to be

Depends on who you trust to identify the enemy

Who beats the drums for war?

Even before the peace is lost

Who are the profits for?

And who are they who bear the cost

When a country takes the low road to war

Who gives the orders, orders to torture?

Who get to no bid contract the future?

Who lies, then bombs, then calls it an error?

Who makes a fortune from fighting terror?

Who is the enemy of truth and justice?

Where are the courts, now when we need them?

Why is impeachment not on the table?

We better stop them while we are able

Roll out the drums of war

 

            The last line is a call for a revolution of ideas and it has started with the campaigns of 2004 and 2006 leading up to this critical election and the choices to be made by the voters of this country. I feel a need to speak up for the truths I see, a need to build bridges of connection and communication, understanding and reason. The truths of Bruce and Jackson’s lyrics strengthen and intersect with both History and how I feel. They don’t know me from a hole in the wall but over the years they have touched me deeply and I am grateful. It is better to write than wallow in grief, to speak up and stop the thief, to feel the fire in your belly and shed light on the liars.  Our country changed with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and John Kennedy. All were leaders I believed in and feel as if we have lost great potential for this country in the years since their passing. Jackson Browne touches on this and the connection of today’s History to the 60’s in the song, Off Of Wonderland[8]:

…there was change in the air

It was love everywhere

Living off of Wonderland

Ankle deep in contraband

Working on a life unplanned

Didn’t we believe in love?

Didn’t we believe in giving it away?

That didn’t really leave us with the love

To find our way

After RFK and Martin Luther King

 

Do you feel it today?

Love is still on the way

Coming over Wonderland

The world is in your open hand

Once again it’s at your command

 

Didn’t we believe in love?

Didn’t we believe that love would carry on?

Wouldn’t we receive enough

If we could just believe in one another

As much as we believed in John

Do you want to know a secret? (I believe that) before time the conqueror turns us to devils and dust a rising will occur over the great seas and that love will reign over us. That the ideals and ideas of the founding fathers of this country will be the last to die as the drums of a war of revolutionary idea wins. A global world will be built with magic, off of a wonderland thread of dreams picked up from the language of lyrics in music that connects us all. We will construct a house of the rising sun of reason, live in peace and let it be.

Language is the thread! Peace is the answer!


[1] 2008 Jackson Browne-Time The Conqueror-Inside Recordings. L.L.C.

[2] Rolling Stone-Issue 946—April 15,2004 by Jackson Browne

[3] Rolling Stone-Issue 912/913—Dec 26, 2002 by Fricke, David

[4] 2002 Bruce Springsteen-The Rising/Columbia Records N.Y.,N.Y. http://www.brucespringsteen.net

[5] 2005 Bruce Springsteen-Devils and Dust-Columbia Records

[6] 2007 Bruce Springsteen-Magic-Columbia Records

[7] 2008 Jackson Browne-Time The Conqueror-Inside Recordings. L.L.C.

[8] 2008 Jackson Browne-Time The Conqueror-Inside Recordings. L.L.C.