Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Music of Will

Ok, let's take some good old down home American folk music, and infuse it with a little jazz. Or maybe throw in some bluegrass to getcha' grinnin'. Now add lyrics that blend that Country Western clever turn of phrase with wry Dylanesque insight, and toss in some Leonard Cohen for some brooding depth and mystery. Now go way deep down there, and sly dog in an undercurrent of gospel to shine some noetic light on the process.
...and you've got?
Ha! sorry, but I got it and you don't. I'm gonna rub it in here. I've got a two record set.

Those of you who are regular long time readers of Gagdad Bob's One Cosmos are familiar with the mysterious Will, who shows up *ahem* all too infrequently to lob a metaphysical spirit bomb into the the comments section, and leave the rest of us going, "Damn. How come I didn't see that?" Well. Because. That's how come.
And when he's not busy thinking up some exotic spice for the daily bread of discussion. He's cooking up music in his underground studio, somewhere on the east coast of Upper Tonga.

So along with the cold rain, this Friday the 13th brought, courtesy of the US Postal Service, and a little finnegelling on my part, a two CD set of Will's finest. This is sort of like the White album, only it isn't white, and they don't make albums anymore. But it is 33 hugely cool songs, and I'll give you my take on an even dozen or so. Here are six from disc number one. Click on the links, and you can hear some of them for yourself on

A Wayfarer's Promise

...Once I had a vision that drove me to my knees,
I saw all our souls rise up like bright and blowing leaves,
Now you try to grant my wishes with silken sacks of gold,
But a wayfarer’s promise is all I shall hold –

This is my current favorite from the first disc. It has that heart lifting bluegrass on the highway vibe down. And it's a great singin' in the car song. This is the kind of song (if you're like me and can't carry a tune) that's likely to cause you to embarrass yourself at a stop light. Hint: Keep the window rolled up, or wait 'till you get on the interstate.

We take a little darker turn with Let This Stranger Pass.

My heart and lungs are laboring, my body is light and lean,
I pray to my ancient kin to keep my senses keen,
A great wizard once did say that the first shall be the last,
And so the last shall be the first, so let this stranger pass -

Somehow this song reminded me of the early chapters of Stephen King's "The Stand" When Randall Flag as The Walkin' Dude begins his cross country odyssey gathering the forces of evil together for the showdown at the end of the world. Footsteps behind you. Nerves on edge. Get ready to jump in the ditch, and hope the Lord gets you through.

Any Moment Now

Any moment now the grand thing is going to happen,
Any moment now the clock will stop ticking,
Any moment now you’ll turn the corner and meet the love of your life,
Any moment now you’re going to awaken –
Stand up ready and make it to go –

This is one of those driving songs that is usually good for ten or fifteen mph over the speed limit, and a long day lost in traffic school. Watch your rear view.

Before the Dawn

Some are driving trucks down the river of the grand highway,
Some are standing guard by the engine of the Milky Way,
In voices strong, they sing one song,
And they’ll be gone before the dawn –
Some are tending bar, waiting tables at the one AM,
Then their shift is done and they’re walking back to home again.
In voices strong, they sing one song,
And they’ll be gone before the dawn -

Before the dawn is a number that reflects The Mystery in the commonplace. It's a kaleidoscope of you 'n me and other ordinary folks. Faces we see, and don't quite record. The people who pass through our days almost without notice, and yet leave something of themselves with us as they pass.

My Cat

Get the bass line going. Keep it low and eerie, but remember it's your special friend.

Sometimes his eyes take on a glaze
As if recalling ancient days
When his shadow swooped and slid
Across a gleaming pyramid,
My cat is sometimes like a mist,
A mist that’s exhibitionist,
He sleeps and dreams upon my knee,
Sometimes I think he’s dreaming me –

My cat. Everyone's cat. Oh, do we let ourselves in for it when we let a cat get a grip on our hearts. There are dog people, and cat people, and dog n' cat people as well. All of us understand. (although as a cat-guy, I'm slightly suspicious of dog owners). This one's for Fergus, but it's for Booger, and Crabby Ol' Sam, Big Kitty, Cleo, and Meetoo, who got et by a coyote.

I'll See You Once Again

Our earthly life is brief and fast,
It’s here, then gone, a lightning flash,
Our moment’s here and then it’s past
Like water through our hands –
Your memory now is all I hold,
Yet something more as has been told,
For now you’re young and won’t grow old,
And I’ll see you once again –
My heart is torn in fierce dismay,
For fate has taken you away,
Still I shall follow you someday,
And I’ll see you once again -

A review is supposed to be about the music, but a lot of things I've been reading, and seeing from the greater One Cosmos family have been going through me like some sort of metaphysical X-ray. This song was one of them. My dear wife and I married late in life- well into the third act of our four act play. There is an unspoken, never-mentioned bargain of sorts that we made with the future when we married. One of us drew a ticket for grief that will break whoever holds it. The banjo line running softly beneath the melody in this song expresses the frighteningly tenuous thread of hope that holds you suspended above the darkness.

This winds up the review of disc number one. Anyway, I just ran out of adjectives, and I gotta call my connection to see if I can hook up a fresh stash for disc number two. Click the links, and enjoy. Don't forget to rate. And while you're at it- bug the hell out of Will to upload more songs. More to follow.



Robin Starfish said...

O! I've missed Will's music ever since his dancing cat waltzed off with his bag o'tunes. Thanks for this!!!

Welcome back to a master songwriter/musician. Will, these are just great.

Big smiles...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks John!
I love Will's lyrics! For my birthday, I'm gonna get the cds!
I also love Will's poems, and like you said, when Will speaks, everyone listens!

Let us all keep him in our prayers 'cause even tho Will never complains, I know he faces some huge physical challenges.
He inpires n' motivates me, that's for sure. :^)

Sal said...

"Saints of the Shadows"
I really love that one.
Okay, Ben- next orphan sweater for your 'spasin'. The one after that for Will. Prayers up.