Go out and listen to something…

July 22, 2007

Aaron Flinn: Giving up the Ghost

Filed under: music — burnett @ 5:27 am

CD: Giving up the Ghost http://www.saladdaysmusic.com/

I had the chance to visit with Aaron Flinn in the summer of 2004. Or was it 2003…anyway, his house is in Charlotte, VT and is in a quaint and lovely corner of farm country, over a one-lane bridge, and all that. I don’t remember every musical instrument that was in the house, but he has one of everything. And he plays all of them, from what I could tell. What I always note about Aaron is that he is one of those rare people who did not seem to be in a hurry while he was in music school. He was at Berkley in Boston, and from what I remember, his goal was to learn everything he possibly could while there. As a result, he plays all the instruments, writes the songs, sings, and produces the recordings.

The result is unmistakable and distinctive. The sound is brilliant and articulate. The lyrics stand before everything else, and the instrumental fabrics are very separated and precise. He is a great guitarist. The instruments that he plays on this disc include various guitars, banjo, double bass, harmonica, drums, percussion, ukulele, piano, banjo, and, well, melodeon.

Aaron has the ability to change his voice into different textures, ranging from a bright folk singer to a dark rocker. In fact, in the lower register he shares a sound with David Bowie. In the rock tunes, i.e. “Giving up the Ghost” and “Is It Love”, he delivers the lyrics with a dark power.

The lyrics themselves are the center of Aaron’s work. He speaks confessionally and personally. On his recordings, he is an open book.

July 15, 2007

National Portrait Museum in Washington, DC

Filed under: Art — burnett @ 8:21 pm

I finally got to the National Portrait Museum today.� It has been open a year now since its renovation.� It was always a favorite for somewhat obscure, and, well, American Art.

� Today I checked out the folk art collection and the modern portrait collection, then the old collection of American portraits.� It is hard to convey how seductive this museum is.� Nothing there is famous, with the exception of the portrait of Ben Franklin.� Everything else requires some scrutiny to understand just why it it there.

A significant portion of the collection includes� good ol’ Americans who owned a significant chunk of human flesh known as slaves.� � Another group became famous for eviscerating and slaughtering the civilization that lived here before 1600.� I kept asking myself when “King” Carter, General Custer and others would finally be recognized as some of the great criminals of all time like Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Caesar, etc.� The Virginians especially caught my attention because the underlying assumption was that without hundreds of slaves on their plantations, they would have been TV repairmen.�

� But lets move on to Paul Manship.� To my delight and surprise, there is an extensive exhibit of Manship’s bronzes.� I had only seen his sensual � work at the National� Gallery of Art.� I have always wanted a Manship in my living room, but that is not likely.� I discovered today that he was on the board of the American Portrait Gallery, and was a conservative influence on the choice of acquisitions.� (go figure)� Anyway, I love his work, and I will go back to the gallery for many reasons, but one will be to review the� Manship pieces there.� This one below is� “Diana” at the� National Gallery of Art:

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