Monday, September 01, 2003
Vic's Music Corner - August 27, 2003 - Lucie Blue Tremblay and Rachel Bissex
Bad summer thunderstorms caused a power outage here last night. The volunteer at the door wonders nervously if he'll have to give money back if the predicted thunderstorm tonight also outs the power.
Rod, who does the sound here (as well as music in Baltimore), is a co-worker of mine, and we catch up on stuff about commuting and the building construction at work. I realize I haven't seen Rod in ages; I am now in an outlying building at work. Why has it taken me months to get back here to Vic's where Rod does the sound each week? The music is great, the barbeque (beef, ribs, turkey, chicken or as an alternative salmon) is good and portions generous. And what words can describe Vic and Reba, the hosts, here - venerable, benevolent folk royals, nurturing sages? They welcome fans with much grace, and open large hearts to so many artists. How many performers, like Rachel Bissex, are extra daughters in their extended family?
Vic introduces Lucie Blue as a singer he met about 7 years ago when she was opening for Patty Larkin at the Birchmere. He mentions she whistles. We saw Lucie Blue Tremblay for the first time at SMAF (the May festival near Havre de Grace Md) and knew we would enjoy seeing her for second time. She is Canadian and tells us that French is her first language. I am glad she said this, because I don't realize it hearing her speak English. She sings some songs she writes in French, some in English.
Her many songs of love and life include the following:
Because of You - from her new CD
Pour Toujours - in French - and with her whistle - which is an otherwordly sound; it is like another instrument, some pure melodic classical orchestra instrument; totally another language, not English, not French, pure clear gorgeous sound.
Lucie Blue tells us that touring the South this year, it was not her frankly "out" signs that got her in trouble, it was her peace signs. A West Virginia newspaper even said she deserved to die (for her peace sentiments). But she says she is just "glad to be alive and queer". She wrote a song for her lover which she fedex'd to her lover's mother.
Mrs. Kline I love Your Daughter - In a song called "Writing Again" Brian Gundersdorf of We're About Nine credits breaking up with unblocking writer's block. But for Lucie Blue falling in love caused the songs to flow - she wrote 14 songs in 10 days after meeting her partner.
I'm Moving in Your Neighborhood - diversity never hurt anyone, so get ready for me.
Lucie Blue tells us that last year at the Southern Women's Festival in Georgia, some guys in pickup trucks fired shotguns into the women's camp grounds. Later, she went to a nearby Waffle House to get grits, and they were there bragging about it.
Is This Some Kind of Love
At the break, I see Paul Iwancio, another Baltimore singer-songwriter in the audience and he puts it succinctly, "Rachael Bissix is so special". Though Lucie Blue is great, Rachel is the reason we just had to be here. Mary Cliff of the Traditions show on WETA is here too.
And Rachel looks great. She is quite open about the fact that she has two more chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer and has lost her hair. Her hair pieces have names. She appears first in her "Audrey" look - a wig and a cute small black leather looking hat with a brim in the front. She is glamorous in a rust colored silky blouse and matching vest with sparkling black and multi-colored jeweled beading; and she wears elegant long shining earrings. Later in the evening Rachel wears 'Lizette" - a shimmering blue sort of Egyptian metallic looking head covering with long bead strings like hair (this she ordered from a catalog of head coverings for people undergoing chemo).
Rachel's songs include:
People just like That - Rachel dedicates this, as always, to Vic and Reba. In this song, Rachel describes them more eloquently than I have been able to.
The Royal Blues - Rachel shares that this song helped her through the last few months - it is a favorite of Sherry Panzer's (and of mine too) with the chorus "Do not be afraid"
Dancing with my Mother - a song that never fails to move me is now also a children's book by Rachel. Rachel tells us her book illustrator has been her friend since 5th grade, and the illustrator's family is here tonight. Rachel also shares she wrote this song 6 years after she lost her mother. As she finishes this song, I wipe tears from my eyes.
Dear Martin, Who Knew it Would Come to This Now - Rachel's mother greatly admired Martin Luther King Jr. Rachel's soldier son, is out of Baghdad now and will be home in early October. But in 1991, when the first George Bush decided to start the first Gulf War on MLK's birthday, but then waited till the next day because of "timing", Rachel wrote this song.
Starting Over - an audience request
Just hold on, sping is comin on - a new song of Rachel, written from the point of view of the trees. Rachel was driving back to Vermont from New Hampshire on April 4, and saw the trees bent over with snow, covered by freezing rain. In this song, the tree remembers that spring is coming.
Sun Goes Down, Moon Comes up - A song Rachel wrote thinking of her son Matt who will be home soon - "the moon will see me safely home"
What a gifted evening - songs of love and being yourself, of tolerance and peace, of courage, of the coming of spring, of the moon's protection. Beauty and harmony surround us. May healing light continue to surround you Rachel, and peace surround us all.