Sunday, August 17, 2003
Eliot Bronson and Christina Muir, August 15, 2003 -
At the 333 Coffeehouse Annapolis Md
There are big round tables, long rectangular tables and rows of chairs - lots of seating choices at the 333 Coffeehouse in Annapolis Maryland. Too many seat choices tonight.
It's been a traumatic week, what with electricity blackout in the NorthEast, and the loss of coffeehouse address files from Max Ochs' computer. Admittedly, two urelated events but both stressful. Because Max's computer crashed, he was not able to send out a reminder about the concert tonight. There was such a wonderful crowd here last month, but although there are many zealous Eliot Bronson and Christiana Muir fans here tonight, this large hall is not filled and it should be. I meet a woman who is a huge fan of Eliot Bronson and others like him and who drives from here to the Iron Horse in Northhampton MA to see people like Eliot.
Coffeehouse Host Max is a lover of both poetry and the blues. Acknowledging what happened in NY, he opens with a poem about Electricity. Then he shares a few James Agee poems. And tells us that Agee was probably the best ever American film critic. (My husband whispers to me, yes and he wrote the screenplay for the African Queen!)
We have so been looking forward to seeing Eliot Bronson here, aware that we saw him so much more often when he lived in Baltimore. We sit at a large table with a friend who came with us and is excited about seeing Eliot for the first time. Also here are Eliot's parents, Richard and Grace and their friend Tina, and another wonderful Baltimore singer-songwriter, John Seay and his wife Martha. John is going to be appearing in a new venue, Aletha's Fine Art Gallery, in Monkton on September 5 (8 pm) , with Paul Iwancio and Lea Jones.
Woolen Socks - about wearing the clothes of someone you love when they are not around. This sets a theme for the evening - each of the other groups also, coincidentally, has a song about someone else's clothes.
Patron Saint of the Lonely - a new song, and I am not sure of the title. Eliot says it's about someone who appears on the surface to have everything figured out but to some degree this is not true. Of course, this could be any of us. Is this a loving indictment?
"you give away what you believe".
You Don't Even Know the Way that You Move Me - another new song. As Eliot says, a bit more straightforward than the one before.
Songs That I Can't Play - Eliot says this is his car crash song. It is about the feeling when you are about to crash, time slows down, there is amazing clarity and absolutely nothing you can do will change what is about to happen. When it's a relationship and not a car, you can (1) do nothing, or (2) do nothing and write a song about it. My friend whispers that this song reminds her about Eckhart Tolle's work on being in the Now. Where does Eliot find the wisdom and perspective in the songs he writes with such warm melodies and catchy words. This is a great Eliot song, and I have never heard him sing it with more passion.
Cookie Cutter - Eliot's anthem about the suburbs.
Guru - an almost true story.
Throw Me Over - this was a request. Eliot wrote this song when he was 18, and it is the earliest song of his he still performs. An awesome song about risk taking.
Calling Yourself - This will be on Eliot's new CD (but what about the earlier new song I love?) "who you are is not who you have been".
Cathedral Pines - one of the first song's Eliot wrote when he moved from Baltimore to Western Massachusetts about a year ago. "your body's made of stars, and the dust of dinosaurs" - this is about being ageless and interconnected. Yes.
There is a cameo appearance by a group called Echo Mutt from Arlington Virginia - Julia, John, John, Jeff and Mike who has a rocking sound. When Max asks them where they got their name, they say - from a game of darts. Their song, Not my Boxer Shorts, continues the theme Eliot started about someone else's clothes.
And there are poems, from a new 333 Coffeehouse Poet in Residence, Shirley Brewer, who writes of the Tire and the Toreador and a fantasy meeting of 2 stars - Marilyn and Shirley.
Christina Muir's accompanist for part of her set is Carolyn Anderson Surrick, of Ensemble Galilei, who plays a viola de gamba. So is this a new trend in folk music - viola or cello? Rick and Audrey now have a lovely cello accompanist, as does Lisa Moscatiello. Christina and Carolyn do an exquisite instrumental piece together. I am not sure I have heard Christina's moving song Moonchild before. And It is a New Day is great, and really speaks to people who are not morning people.
Christina proves she can delight and nourish without the "Soup" (the incredible group "Hot Soup"). The Hot Soup Trio will be at the Takoma Park Folk Festival on Sunday, September 7 - http://www.tpff.org/ . And Christina is doing another solo show at Vic's Music Corner in Rockville Md on Wed, Sept 10 with Eric Schwartz. What a contrast. Our innocent looking angel Christina with Eric? Well he isn't a devil, but he can be risqué. It should be quite a show; we've already paid for tickets and are looking forward to it. Eric, when you see Christina's sweet face will you be able to sing that song you sang at Falcon Ridge this year?
I am so grateful for people like Eliot Bronson and Christina Muir, Carolyn Anderson Surrick, and Christina's partners in Hot Soup, and other performers I write about.
Lewis Hyde has written I book I just read and am rereading: The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property. In the title, by the word erotic, Hyde means, helping to establish bonding, a community feeling. Lewis Hyde discuses gift and creativity and . says: "Once an inner gift has been realized, it may be passed along, communicated to an audience…Sometimes, then, if we are awake, if the artist really was gifted, the work will induce a moment of grace, of communion, a period during which we too know the hidden coherence of out being and fell the fullness of our lives." Hyde is talking about what Eliot and so many others bring, and what makes time with these artists so very special