The New Jerusalem – Patti Smith

The New Jerusalem, the latest book by Patti Smith – poet, punk legend and author of the bestsellers Just Kids and M Train – is now available for order. A stunning long prose poem in the tradition of St. John and William Blake, The New Jerusalem presents a prophetic vision of art and humanity, faith, and freedom; a vision of escape from the rituals of power and the mechanisms of social control.

Illustrated with color photographs and artwork by Patti Smith, this beautiful hardbound volume is a true collector’s item and will be irresistible to bibliophiles. With an introduction by Rob Riemen exploring the connection between art and spirituality in Patti Smith’s poem and in art more broadly, The New Jerusalem can serve as a reminder of the prophetic power of poetry and a guide to all who need it in these times of resistance.

The New Jerusalem was presented at the Nexus Symposium with Patti Smith ‘An Education in Counterculture’,  May 26, 2018, in Amsterdam.

 

Advertisements
Advertisements

Hydrogen Jukebox and Solace

The soul yearns for peace in a time of crisis…

A chance encounter between minimalist composer Philip Glass and beat poet Allen Ginsberg results in the collaboration, Hydrogen Jukebox

Hydrogen Jukebox is a chamber opera, taken from a phrase coined by Ginsberg, from his poem Howl.

‘…listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox…’

Of the project, Glass said:

“In 1988…I happened to run into Allen Ginsberg at St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York and asked him if he would perform with me. We were in the poetry section, and he grabbed his book from the shelf and pointed out Wichita Vortex Sutra. The poem, written in 1966, reflected the anti-war mood of the times, seemed highly appropriate for the occasion. As a result I composed a piano piece to accompany Allen’s reading, which took place at the Schubert Theater on Broadway.

The reading went so well they decided to collaborate by creating a full-length work. A small orchestra and six voices with text compiled from Ginsberg’s catalog of poetry.

According to Ginsberg, “Hydrogen Jukebox signifies a state of hypertrophic high-tech, a psychological state in which people are at the limit of their sensory input with civilization’s military jukebox, a loud industrial roar, or a music that begins to shake the bones and penetrate the nervous system as a hydrogen bomb may do someday, reminder of apocalypse.”

The crisis state of Syria and the pending talks with North Korea that fills our airwaves compels the music of our heart to find solace and meaning from this past work. My personal mission today is to listen to and comprehend Hydrogen Jukebox. 

May the past genius of Ginsberg and Glass bring the soul peace.

 

Johnny Cash: Forever Words – Available Friday April 6

Johnny Cash’s legend lives on in a unique collaboration project, Johnny Cash: The Music, Forever Words. 

The album co-produced by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, features music chosen from Johnny Cash’s handwritten letters, poems, and documents discovered after the deaths of his parents.

The album showcases Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, who interpreted her Dad’s “The Walking Wounded,” marking just the second time that she has collaborated on a record with her half-brother John Carter Cash.

Filmed by David McClister at Johnny Cash’s childhood home in Dyess, Arkansas (part of the Dyess Colony Heritage Site and Museum).

“Determining the artist for each song was truly a matter of the heart,” John Carter Cash said in a statement. “I picked the artists who are most connected with my father, who had a personal story that was connected with Dad. It became an exciting endeavor to go through these works, to put them together and present them to different people who could finish them in a way that I believed that Dad would have wanted.”

Johnny Cash: Forever Words
1. Forever/I Still Miss Someone – Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
2. To June This Morning – Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves
3. Gold All Over the Ground – Brad Paisley
4. You Never Knew My Mind – Chris Cornell
5. The Captain’s Daughter – Alison Krauss and Union Station
6. Jellico Coal Man – T. Bone Burnett
7. The Walking Wounded – Rosanne Cash
8. Them Double Blues – John Mellencamp
9. Body on Body – Jewel
10. I’ll Still Love You – Elvis Costello
11. June’s Sundown – Carlene Carter
12. He Bore It All – Daily and Vincent
13. Chinky Pin Hill – I’m With Her
14. Goin’, Goin’, Gone – Robert Glasper featuring Ro James, and Anu Sun
15. What Would I Dreamer Do? – The Jayhawks
16. Spirit Rider – Jamey Johnson

Johnny Cash: Forever Words is the musical companion to the best-selling “Forever Words: The Unknown Poems,” a volume of Cash’s unpublished writing edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and curated by John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz.

 

Killer Road – Soundwalk Collective w/Jesse Paris Smith featuring Patti Smith

I find myself, yet again, happily transported by the art and symbolism of Patti Smith and her talented daughter, Jessie Parris Smith along with the collaborative known as Soundwalk Collective. They give us pause to show how fragile life is in this garden universe.

Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon, while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988. A hypnotic meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death, the composition features Patti Smith lending her unique voice to the last poems written by the artist. Soundwalk Collective uses a travel log of field recordings and samples of Nico’s signature instrument, the harmonium, to create a magnetic sound scape.

Killer Road is an ambient sound scape and spoken word tribute to Nico, eight interpretations of her lyrics, predominantly taken from classic albums such as Desertshore and Drama of Exile, arranged by fellow poet and kindred spirit Patti Smith. Originally executed as a live performance piece with Jesse Paris Smith and Soundwalk Collective, Killer Road sees the light of day in album format for the first time in stores, next week, September 2, 2016.

I ordered the limited edition online as a collector, ***Limited Edition Version: Edition of 300 hand-numbered copies, comes with alternate screen-printed wrap around sleeve, wax sealed, and available by mail-order only. ONE PER PERSON LIMIT.***
Directed by Stephan Crasneanscki
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Bella Union & Sacred Bones Records
Video by Tina Frank

Patti Smith Reads Jack Kerouac’s “The Last Hotel”

Patti Smith  is a poet with a liking for setting literature to song reads Jack Kerouac’s poem “The Last Hotel” to music by Thurston Moore and Lenny Kaye.

I love the cadence of her voice with its ethereal respect for the written word.

*Patti Smith reads Jack Kerouac’s “The Last Hotel” by brainpicker is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.

Ballad of the Skeletons – Allen Ginsberg, Sir Paul McCartney, Lenny Kaye and Phillip Glass

Ballad  of the Skeletons

Talk about your collaborations, this one was special.

The single The Ballad of the Skeletons, was Allen Ginsberg’s last recorded release, it is his musical masterpiece and deserves to be considered one of the most passionate, powerful, and articulate performances in the history of rock.

Allen Ginsberg Raps on this recording. Refer to the Allen Ginsberg and Paul McCartney performance video below to get a fuller sense of the mutual respect and dignity each man shared for the other.

Videos

‘A Ballad of American Skeletons’ was performed by Allen Ginsberg and Sir Paul McCartney for an evening of poetry and performance at The Royal Albert Hall promoted by Goldmark entitled ‘The Return of the Reforgotten’ in 1995.

“Ballad of the Skeletons” with music by Philip Glass and Paul McCartney playing guitar.  The recording was a follow up to Allen Ginsberg’s “Ballad of the Skeletons”

 

 

 

 

Van Morrison – Lit Up Inside

Van Morrison has selected his best and most iconic lyrics which span 50 years of writing and representing his entire creative journey for a new lyrics book. Lit Up Inside will be the first literary work published with Morrison’s blessing.

Van Morrison himself sought out City Lights to publish the U.S. edition of his selected lyrics.  Morrison chose City Lights to release the book because of the house’s consistent commitment to artistic integrity, from the beat generation forward.

I’ve decided in the music of our heart that purchasing directly from City Lights will further confirm Van Morrison’s belief in City Light’s independent vision. It is due to released on October 21st, 2014.

The introduction by Eamonn Hughes, of Queen’s University, Belfast, gives a career-long overview of the creative influences Morrison has absorbed and channeled through the years. The Foreword by poet David Meltzer provides an appreciation of the writer’s craft demonstrated in Morrison’s evocative, timeless lyrics.

 

“Take Me Out Into The Light” – Celebrating Lou Reed

The life of Lou Reed, New York City poet, singer and songwriter was celebrated with a memorial in Harlem at the historic  Apollo Theatre on Monday night (12/16).

The show honoring the Velvet Underground frontman was organized by Reed’s management, and his widow Laurie Anderson.

The memorial took place 50 days after Lou Reed’s death on Oct. 27, Laurie Anderson explained, at the end of the 49 days of what Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo, a transitional state after death.

The memorial gave witness to some of Lou’s notable friends/collaborators singing the songs of the Velvet Underground and his solo career plus reading or performing tributes to him, including Patti Smith and her bandmate Lenny KayeAntony HegartyDebbie Harry(of Blondie), Paul SimonJohn ZornPhilip Glass, former Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker, and others.

Maureen Tucker read a message from John Cale the keyboardist and violist that said, “Regardless of our differences, we never really drifted too far from what initially brought us together. I guess that’s what real friendship is, and I miss my friend.”

Patti Smith chose “Perfect Day” for what she called “Lou’s most poignant lyric”: “You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else, someone good.”

Laurie  Anderson noted that her husband wrote songs in single bursts. “He would wake up in the middle of the night and just write the song down and it was complete,” she said. “He never changed a word. He thought, ‘First thought, best thought.’

“There was never a single doubt that we loved each other beyond anything else, from the time when we first met until the moment he died,” Laurie Anderson said.  “Almost every day we said ‘you are the love of my life,’ or some version of that in one of our many private, and somewhat bizarre languages. We knew exactly what we had, and we were beyond grateful.”

(Pictures courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan and the Lou Reed Website.)

Jim Morrison, Poet, 70 Years Young Today

December 8, 2013 marks the 70th birthday of the late singer, songwriter and poet, Jim Morrison of The Doors.

I always think of Jim Morrison as poet first, singer second. The posthumous recording An American Prayer evidences Jim’s poetic pentameter in a haunting, personal dimension.

Five years after the group disbanded (1973), Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore reunited for the recording of this album, produced by superimposing the voice of Jim Morrison (mostly taken from a recording of poems recited by the singer in 1970) the music composed for the occasion.

A major fan of Jim Morrison’s poetry is Patti Smith our poetess of  punk. Patti Smith wrote a review of An American Prayer in Creem Magazine in 1979, american prayer (scream of the butterfly).

american prayer (scream of the butterfly)

“His fatal flaw was that his most precious skin was the thin membrane that housed the blood of the poet,” she wrote.

“He pledged his allegiance, in the end, to language, to the word. And it did him in…An American Prayer resounds in the silence that surrounds the cocoon of the lord, he is sleeping, hibernating, awaiting the changeling and the elegance of his change.”

I plan to honor Jim Morrison’s birthday by listening to An American Prayer. I played this album often on the air when I was an FM disk jockey in the 70s.

To All The Girls… Willie Nelson

I love a beautifully sung duet, a musical composition for two performers. The sweet harmony of voices joined in unison, trading off song verses which enchants the music of our heart.

Willie Nelson recently released To All the Girls…  a series of duets recorded by Nelson with prominent female country singers. The performers featured on the eighteen tracks of the album are Dolly PartonMiranda LambertLoretta LynnCarrie Underwood,The Secret SistersRoseanne CashSheryl CrowWynonna JuddAlison Krauss, Melonie Cannon, Mavis StaplesNorah JonesShelby LynneEmmylou Harris, Lily Meola, Brandi Carlile, Tina Rose; and his daughter, Paula Nelson.

Congratulations Willie Nelson. According to Billboard Magazine he has extended his record for the most top 10s in the nearly 50-year history of Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, as the duets “To All the Girls…” entered at No. 2,  He also claims his best Nielsen SoundScan week and highest rank on the tally in 24 years, as the set starts with 43,000 sold. Willie Nelson has secured 46 Top 10 Country albums an amazing achievement for the 80-year-old Red Headed Stranger 🙂

Willie Nelson ‘To All the Girls…’ Track Listing:

1. ‘From Here to the Moon and Back’ feat. Dolly Parton
2. ‘She Was No Good for Me’ feat. Miranda Lambert
3. ‘It Won’t Be Very Long’ feat. The Secret Sisters
4. ‘Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends’ feat. Rosanne Cash
5. ‘Far Away Places’ feat. Sheryl Crow
6. ‘Bloody Mary Morning’ feat. Wynonna Judd
7. ‘Always on My Mind’ feat. Carrie Underwood
8. ‘Somewhere Between’ feat. Loretta Lynn
9. ‘No Mas Amor’ feat. Alison Krauss
10. ‘Back to Earth’ feat. Melonie Cannon
11. ‘Grandma’s Hands’ feat. Mavis Staples
12. ‘Walkin” feat. Norah Jones
13. ‘Till the End of the World’ feat. Shelby Lynne
14. ‘Will You Remember Mine’ feat. Lily Meola
15. ‘Dry Lightning’ feat. Emmylou Harris
16. ‘Making Believe’ feat. Brandi Carlile
17. ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’ feat. Paula Nelson
18. ‘After the Fire Is Gone’ feat. Tina Rose