Back from the conference babble

Really, this is just a bunch of random notes. I'd intended to blog a bit while I was away, but things got too busy for that (which certainly wasn't the plan). So, here's a little catch-up.

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Most importantly, welcome to the world, Leif! Can't wait to meet you.

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When a conference is bad, it's really bad. This, sadly, is the state of things at most of the big discipline wide conferences, or so it seems to me. I've tried to avoid them, even in job-hunting years, because it feels like talking quietly into a mob.

Fortunately, the conference I've been at recently has been smaller, and the energy of it has been good - I've got a possible project coming out of it, and a little kick in the pants to finish the projects I've been working on.

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I love the scenery here - desert and mountains and cool air. I'd been tooling around a bit in the rental car, enjoying being able to take a drive with the window down. If I'd managed a musical entry for the week, it would've been "Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt" which would've been perfect for the winding road and this scenery.

It's a little hard to think about how to discuss the album. It's a tribute, after all, which means it is highlighting the songwriting and the interpretations of the folks appearing on it. Worse, I don't have it all with me when I want it. The rental doesn't have any way to play from an iPod (how demanding we get as consumers), and when I really want the album is when I'm driving towards the mountains. It's got some gems: Emmylou Harris singing "Snake Song," for one. Willie Nelson's heartbreaking take on "Marie" for another. It's not the only tribute to Van Zandt - Steve Earle recently released an album of Van Zandt songs. And his songs crop up here and there across a number of Lyle Lovett albums as well. But it's my favorite of them, and that says a lot considering.

I first heard Townes Van Zandt's music in second grade music class. He was wedged in among a lot of the famous song writers that my music teacher at the time liked: Dylan, Guthrie, and I think - though my memory may be playing wishful tricks on me - even a song by Cohen. I didn't blink much over him then, but heard some of his music again in college. His music has been a fixture of road trips for me ever since. He's got the wanderlust that I so often feel, and sometimes he's cornered it. Most times, however, it's got him instead. I sympathize. Or empathize. Whatever. Part of the joy of his music is the tension that exists in his songs between the heartbreak life can bring and the joy just being in the world can offer.

And who among us isn't wandering down those roads?

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ash said...

aw, thanks! finally catching up.

February 25, 2010 at 9:15 PM