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Home of Michael Perry – New York Times Bestselling Author, Humorist, Singer/Songwriter, Amateur Pig Farmer

Posts Tagged ‘bon iver’

Blind Boys of Alabama via Fall Creek

Blind Boys grab jpeg

This was recorded just down the road a piece. I got to be a little part of it. I’ll say more when the time comes. It will be released September 30, but you can listen to one track right here right now.

(The link isn’t real obvious, look for the little circled triangle).

Miscellaneous Fall Creek convergence trivia: The Bon Iver song featured on the page linked above floats through the final chapter of Visiting Tom.

Usually I Try To Be More Humble But…

…just this morning it occurred to me that not just one*, but two** of the musicians with whom I have written and recorded music have been nominated for Grammys.

So the pattern is established: If you want your name in a fancy envelope, book your studio time with me now.

*OK, so he was nominated long before we ever met. Technicality.

**Possibly the first time the phrase “from the get-go” was ever used in a Grammy interview.

The Many Forms of Gratitude

For two nights in a row, I had the privilege of standing onstage beside a friend. I want to commit an impossible thank you, and this post is my attempt to get there.

Now and then way back when Justin was living on the change in his pocket (and less), we’d talk sometimes. He’ll tell you I said and wrote some things that were a help. I hope that’s true, although he’s very kindly ignoring the exponentially larger amounts of meandering blather he had to siphon off first. More foam than beer, I fear. And for the record (this will be one of my all-time claims to bad-advice fame) when he emerged from the woods with For Emma, Forever Ago and asked my opinion before he released it, I said I could see what he was trying to do there but I wasn’t sure this whole singing-in-falsetto thing was gonna pan out.

Cue the world tours and multiple Grammy noms.

I guess I’d say what I’ve said before: I’m proud of Justin in an avuncular way, not a proprietary way.

All the more gratitude in my heart then, for his invitation to join him for the two recent concerts. If you weren’t there, I read John Denver’s “Alfie the Christmas Tree” poem while Justin and the band played their song “Lisbon, OH.” The poem is from John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together, a source of many fond memories for Justin and his family. Roughly ninety seconds onstage each night, but my heart full at being there, at being asked to be there, and to stand just for that short moment as witness to what he has created. The greybeard uncle, hanging out for a heartbeat or two

People ask, and the deal is, I see Justin only now and then. We keep in touch, but not overly much. There comes with his level of success certain whirlwinds and I am truly removed from that, just packing my book boxes, typing in my room over the garage, feeding the chickens, trying to be a decent husband and dad, worrying about the mortgage, and so on. We’re working different arenas in every sense of the word. If you’re looking for some red-hot inside info, I will tell you that I snow-plowed his driveway not so long ago, a real neighborly thing to do except that I got a little off track and gouged a big swath of sod off his yard.

What’s he like? those same people ask, and I say, well, he’s the one with that answer, not me. Although once I told someone he’s about the perfect blend of namaste and “hey dere,” and I’d stand by that.

I invoke the word gratitude so often I suppose sometimes I’m coming off cornpone. I relish sarcasm and irony as much as the next postmodern pig farmer, but sometimes they’re just a shiny sleeve to cover your heart. And so without cover let me say that as I drove home in the dark last night I drove in gratitude: for good things come my friend’s way, for his gratitude, for the love shown him by the crowd, for this slow-motion pinball life of mine allowing me to witness from that stage, and – as I turned off the car and walked toward the house where my wife and daughters slept – for my full, small life.

Blurry Pictures and Thanks, Vern

 

Like I said, I went to a poetry reading last night. Kinda. I read a poem. It was someone else’s poem. The other poet present insisted on singing all of his poems.

Here was the scene just before things got going:

Bon Iver pre-show crowd

And this shot was taken right at the very end:

Bon Iver seeya

Thanks Vern. To the list of things I just never saw coming…

P.S. Here’s the poem I did, in its original context (read it while the band played “Lisbon, OH”):