Saturday, May 02, 2009

Going (not to far) back in time -

Yup, its back to March (just before I hurt my back) and more music - - -

A year ago when The Shepherd went to our church’s district meeting, he brought home a new song book, "The Earth & Spirit Songbook". Compiled and edited by musician
/composer Jim Scott, (who is also a Unitarian) this book is a collection of over 100 old and new songs by many well known modern day songwriters. Unlike other “sing-along” books, this one includes all piano accompaniments and chord symbols for guitar. Scott also makes it very clear that if any of the songs from the songbook were used, that you needed to send payment to the author/songwriter.

One of the songs in the book is the song “Somos el Barco”, which The Shepherd aka The Minister of Music wanted to use for one of our church services. So, as the “secretary to the Minister of Music” I set about to contact Jim to find out about what we needed to do. And while I was at it, I mentioned that we had enjoyed his concert the last time he was in Bellingham. And, while I was at it, “Oh, by the way, if he ever was out in the area again (he now lives in Massachusetts) would he consider doing a concert at a little church like ours?”

To make a long story short, he sent me the name of the author of the song, a suggested acceptable donation for its use and, yes, he had heard a lot about our little church and yes, he would be interested in doing a concert for us – unfortunately the timing wasn’t right – going into the summer when our church services are on hiatus – oh, well, maybe another time.

So, a couple of months ago, when I got an email from him – he was going to be out in Washington and were we still interested in doing that concert? I was excited! I talked with our minister, everyone on the church board and (after a promise that I would underwrite the concert if we didn’t sell enough tickets), the concert was scheduled for March 20, as a benefit for the Blaine Family Service Center – a local organization that our church supports.

Well, Holy Cow, I had forgotten what a lot of work it is to promote a concert, and with all the bad weather we had in January & February, and then the problems with Moni and the lambs – Yikes – the concert was only three weeks away and we hadn't sold a ticket! But, many folks seem to plan "last minute" these days and thankfully, everything worked out OK – I think there would have been a few more of our members at the concert, however it was the same day as the memorial service for a long time member of the church, and people just couldn’t do both functions. However, we not only sold enough tickets to make about $150 for the Family Service Center, but we totally exceeded Jim’s expectations about the concert – (Yeah!)

I have really been enjoying the three CD’s that I bought from him. Jim’s warm and inviting voice is very much like James Taylor and makes you want to curl up on the sofa with a “blankey” and a nice cup of blueberry tea (the kind made with Grand Marnier and Amaretto if you please). His music ranges, as the old saying goes, from the ridiculous to the sublime. Scott is probably best known for the song “Common Ground”, but he is an astonishing musician and song writer. He will often take a bunch of kids and a few ideas that they come up with and write a song about something totally off the wall that makes you tap your toes and you will be whistling it for days.

Here are some quotes the media has said about Jim Scott -

“Jim Scott sees his guitar as an instrument, all right. But he views it as an instrument to build bridges between people. His performances are "celebrations of the common humanity of all cultures - our connectionswith each other and the earth," as he puts it.”

“The performer's work on songs such as "Common Ground" and the "Missa Gaia/Earth Mass" with the illustrious Paul Winter Consort (1977 – 1984) pushed him into the national spotlight and he has since collaborated with top jazz, classical and folks artists, plus appearing often now with concert choirs.”

A review of his ALBUM, "SAILING WITH THE MOON" said: "The Rainforest Song" contains not only one of the catchiest melodies on the album, but masterful counterpoint work which seems to create a sonic rain forest with dewy vocal lines bursting, then fading into the main melody. The Braided Rug," a cut about a rug made from old clothes and the memories they spark, has a twisting melancholy to it."

Paul Winter has said that his music "sings of the life spirit."

Pete Seeger called him "some kind of magician."

Mr. Scott is a gifted singer/songwriter whose music blends jazz, folk, Latin, Caribbean, and other influences.

"The folk music tradition is the voice of the people," Scott concludes. "That's what I like to think I'm representing."

Jim tours quite a bit – especially in his native New England – you should keep any eye on your local music events and if he comes to your town, make sure you go – you won’t be disappointed.


Kathy said...

I remember your telling me about this and how wonderful it was to hear. Your little church must be on someone's radar. :)

Sharon said...

Phew - what a relief for you. Good thing it turned out well - you were really were out on a limb there.

We were at our neighbor's party last night. He's a prominent potter and celebrates the opening of his kiln along with his Spring show. He had a blue-grass band, and one of the guys tested out a collaborative effort to create a banjo. Joe had created and fired the pan to match an old banjo that another artist in the valley had scalped for it's working parts. It really sounded great but I'll bet it was heavy!