idling right


Played a private party on the Isar this evening, and it really was quite enjoyable. Relaxed and a bit languid, even. I told Jarrod that I used to play gigs in a tuxedo and this was much more fulfilling. Wouldn’t go back to that earlier life as a musician for anything. Not that anyone misses me in the classical music world. There are plenty of people willing to do that sort of thing – I’m just glad I’m no longer one of them.

You might be wondering what we played, so I’ll list a few of the songs here. We normally play a lot of originals when people want to hear our tunes, but this sort of event is normally all covers. I have a weird history with covers. I like the lesser-known songs of many artists, so if you ask me to play Harry Chapin‘s Cats in the Cradle, I’m more likely to pull out Danceband on the Titanic or A Better Place to Be instead.

My friend Dermot came by to listen, so we did a few Dylan songs for him. Both I’ll Be ‘Your Baby Tonight and Just Like a Woman. My compadre on twitter @Hazelblackberry would’ve approved. She likes Bobby Zimmerman.

We did If You Needed Me by Townes Van Zandt and Jarrod likes playing Whiskey in a Jar, so we did that. I’m sure Townes would’ve approved. Maybe not the song but the sentiment, I’m sure. Alan Parsons Project‘s Eye in the Sky and Daniel LanoisWhere Will I Be, which are two of my favourite songs.

Rain by the Beatles and Rod Stewart‘s Maggie May. I know that was a huge hit for him and I just said that we avoid the better-known cover songs, but by then we were just trying to play anything that people might recognize and enjoy. They were a tough crowd. Very cool and reserved until near the end. Jarrod played REM‘s You Are the Everything from the Green album.

We’ve been doing Friend of the Devil (music by Jerry Garcia and John Dawson & lyrics by Robert Hunter) since we were playing guitar and bass (before the ukulele obsession), so we did that and later we closed the evening out with Brokedown Palace. It was the perfect ending to a party on the bank of the river. Look up the lyrics. They’re beautiful.

At some point, I’ll upload a recording of Idleright. It’s the least I can do.



  1. Townes Van Zandt, very nice. And the Chapin song A Better Place To Be is one of his best. He always talked about his songs not being radio friendly. But in a concert setting, they were perfect.
    I bet Pancho and Lefty would sound good on the ukulele.

    1. I thought you might like those. You’re right about Chapin. The one exception was WOLD, but only because it was about a grizzled old radio dj.

      Thanks John.

  2. This entire post is joyful. I like that. I needed some joyful tonight.

    Tomorrow when I am idling (but probably not right…maybe just left of center) I will YouTube some of these songs. Because I am a musical-taste heathen, and I have heard of…four. Four of them. And you listed substantially more than four. And one of the four was the one you were NOT playing.

      1. You’re not going to like most of the answers. You know how you and I get along very well, except when it comes to food, and then we’re exact opposites, so we just kind of don’t discuss that? Except to pick on each other? I think maybe our musical taste might fall under the food category of our friendship. But I’ll tell you, because you asked.

        (This is going to be a really long comment.)

        I didn’t listen to Cats in the Cradle, Rain, Just Like a Woman, or Maggie May, because I knew those.

        I didn’t like either of the Harry Chapin songs because they were too long. Other than that, they weren’t objectionable. They were just really, really long. I don’t have a long-song attention span except for a few select songs.

        I was madly in love with Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” which I hadn’t heard before. Don’t even start on “what the hell is wrong with you that you haven’t heard something of Dylan’s?????” There are a lot of canonical things I haven’t heard. It wasn’t on Dylan’s greatest hits tape I had growing up, so I hadn’t heard it.

        I was unaffected by Townes Van Zandt. Maybe I’m broken, I don’t know.

        This is where you hate me, ready? “Eye in the Sky” is one of my least favorite songs in the world. So much so that I didn’t know what it was because apparently I’d blocked it out of my brain completely, and when I played it, I was all, “OH NO NO NOT THIS SONG I HATE IT SO MUCH I CAN’T LISTEN TO THIS” and I turned it off. Maybe you playing it would make me less likely to want to stick knitting needles in my ears, I don’t know.

        “Where Will I Be” was beautiful, and I plan on hunting down more of Lanois’ work, because I really enjoyed him. That song will be going on BFFs end-of-the-year best-of CD, so thank you for that.

        I hadn’t heard the REM song, which you’ve already expressed shock and awe about, and loved it. Yes, yes. I know. I had one REM cassette growing up. It was Automatic for the People, and I loved it immensely. It was the only one I ever owned and I don’t own it on CD and haven’t listened to it since technology moved on.

        Here’s part two of the “ZOMG I HATE AMY” hatefest. I can’t listen to the Grateful Dead. Bad college flashbacks. I just hate them so much. So, yes, I listened to both of those songs, but my Grateful Dead hatred made me unable to enjoy them. There were a lot of covers of “Brokedown Palace” on YouTube; you like it so much, I’m going to listen to a cover of it by someone I don’t hate. Joan Osborne was one. I like her. She’s a possibility. I’m nothing if not tenacious.

        This is possibly the longest comment I’ve ever left on anyone’s blog ever. Your own damn fault for asking.

        How much do you hate me right now? Like, “Amy likes mayonnaise” hate? Or worse?

      2. I don’t know how to interpret the blank stare. I’ll just assume you still love me, even though you think I’m a heathen. In followup news, I listened to more Townes Van Zandt today, and read all about him. He’s interesting. Not a huge fan of his music, though. Not my thing, I guess. (Although I listened to a song he sang with Willie Nelson that I loved.) And I listened to 47 billion* (*4) covers of Brokedown Palace. It’s prettier than the Grateful Dead make it out to be. It was the Grateful Dead that was the problem for me. It’s a very nice song.

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