Desperately Seeking Employment
Hopefully you joined me on the final edition of "Something Special," which aired Friday afternoons during the summer for something truly 'special' ... a journey through thru the music of Chris Whitley.
I am also pleased, and equally thrilled, to have brought you an interview I did with film producers, Jon Mayor and Michael Borofsky. Jon and Michael are in the final stages of producing a documentary film about Chris called, "Dust Radio: A Film About Chris Whitley."
"Dust Radio," according to their Kickstarter webpage says: This project brings together two filmmakers with unique perspecives and a lifetime of combined footage about the same man, once on the meteoric rise to megastardom, estranged and destitute at the end of his life. A story that shows Chris Whitley for who he was, in all his brilliance and anguish, all of his seeking and and longing to communicate and be heard.
Check back here for the interview ... coming to this space in the very near future.
Thanks for listening!
(Notes: One of the reasons I program a show called "The RustyString Cafe" is because I've had music move me in my lifetime that no words can explain. It effects my soul. OK. You may not 'get it' or buy it, that's fine, I don't expect many to; I'm surrounded by people like that. But the ones that do, know what I'm talking about. You may have your own kind of music that does this to you but either way, it does it or it doesn't. I love to hear, feel, think, and be music. I never want the music I've grown to appreciate to go away. I had a scare once with a brief loss of hearing in my right ear. It occurred to me, though briefly, that there may come a day in my life that I'd be deaf. I strongly believe in mind over matter and was convinced that that couldn't happen to me, but if it did I was comfortable with the fact that I already had a catalog of music that already lived in my head and figured that would be enough musical pleasure for a lifetime should I go deaf.
I often will sarcastically say that I play certain music on the air for my own listening pleasure; that statement is not quite as sarcastic as I claim it to be. I truly do and invite anyone along on my trip. August 31 marks the anniversary of the birthday of one of my absolute favorite artists' and musician, Chris Whitley. I aired a special to commemorate Chris' life, music and genius.
At the surface, he has a great story: quit high school and went to New York City and played on street corners to make money to eat. He was 'discovered' there. He lived in Europe as his career blossomed but he always stayed true to himself and his music. It seems each one of his albums has a different face, though they are the similar, they couldn't be more different. He is contrast.
I can't explain in words what his music, his poetry and his being has done to me; it's much deeper than language allows. His music reaches way below surface level. He has his own distinctive sound and approach to music, one that not everyone 'gets.' In fact, I personally only have come in contact with a handful of folks that do get it. But that's ok. It's not a culture-thing, it's a soul-thing.
If you are not familiar with his music, it would make no sense to tell you that it's a genre-less sound, sort of a mixture of Jimi Hendrix with old Delta blues. Yea, that's a hard combination to imagine. Here, let me make it less clear, some of these are his words: he uses noise as music - harmonic noise, not tonality but harmonic; quiet with tension; tender power. His music is a walking contradiction. I call it quite assaulting in a good way. I can't explain how some of his songs create so much conflict and tension within. OK; I told you that you wouldn't get it, so I won't continue. You need to listen for yourself. I listen to Chris Whitley at high volume.
Chris uses different guitars and musicians for different projects. He has maintained a resolute musical integrity through his brief career. He is one with rare poetic honesty. He is nothing flashy. Each of his twelve albums are packed with intense emotion and constant invention. He claimed he did it all for himself, always feeling the audience but didn't necessarily give to them. I think he was wrong. I think he gave to the people that did respond more than he'll ever know. Again, the few did 'get it.'
I hope you'll listen but you need to do it with an open heart and mind. Again, I don't expect you to get it. I don't expect you to like it. That's fine. That's all. GodSpeed, Chris. I love and miss you.