Enough is enough. Yesterday, it took a shovel, boiling water poured on ice, and kitty litter to get the car away from the curb. On my way to the airport to pick up my son -- who had been stranded in Salt Lake City en route from Boston -- snow froze on the windshield wipers, rendering visibility somewhere between challenging and nonexistent. Outside of taking the wrong exit and driving halfway to Tacoma before realizing my error, the trip home (with cleaned wipers) was relatively uneventful until I exited the freeway. The car hydroplaned immediately, but regained traction that it lost going downhill right as I came to a red light that I slid through. Luckily, the intersection was empty. The car slid again when I turned onto our street, this time coming to rest in the snow. The combined efforts of me, my son, a neighbor and his son, and a passing Good Samaritan got the car back on the road and safely to my house where it's going to stay for a while. This just isn't pretty any more...
In case you're tired of Christmas music or just an old Scrooge, you might consider these alternatives:
Gracias, Omara Portuondo. Supposedly, she's 78, but you can't tell that from her voice: Omara has the pipes of 25-year old but sings with the wisdom of age. Gracias consists mostly ballads and lullabies supported by spare arrangements featuring fingerpicked 7-string guitar and various Cuban percussion instruments. The occasional guest enhances the proceedings, but they are hardly necessary. The accompanying booklet is a gem: There's a photograph for song of Omara at different stages of her life, starting with childhood. The pictures range from candid family photos to glam shots from her days at the Havana Tropicana. The name of the CD may be Gracias, but it's we who should be thanking her for recording it.
Liejacker, Thea Gilmore. Impressively mature songwriting from a 30-year old Brit. She's says she's "looking for an old soul," but she needn't search any further than her own lyrics. She knows it, too:
Well the cars are leaving town
The winter's moving in
A tree has been torn down
By an ill wind, an ill wind
Oh, Rosie, can you tell my age from where I sit?
I'm younger than I look but old enough to know the half of itWhat's more, there's an outstanding duet with Joan Baez. Download tip: Don't miss Gilmore's acoustic cover of "Bad Moon Rising."
No One Left To Crown, Richie Havens. Say it isn't so, the old pro laments, "That people must bend/To this war without end/I can't believe it." So, he vaults into the breech again, vowing in his brilliant cover of "Won't Get Fooled Again" that they won't get us this time. Sadly, there's a worry and resignation in his voice that makes him less certain than he once was. Overall, No One Left To Crown is a fine effort from a working folkie who continues to travel the country spreading the word to people who still need to hear it.