The Letter

This post is all about songs that involve the mention of something near and dear to me, in this time of rampant technology. Please note: the author of this post is aware of the irony of using technology to rave about old-fashioned communication.

Who doesn’t love getting personal “snail mail?” Handwritten expressions carry more weight because they mean that you took the time to sit down, relax and invest thought in someone you care about.

My friend, Cathy, writes at least seven of her friends one and sometimes two cards each every week, even when she is under the weather. We’ve decided to celebrate National Letter Writing Day (Monday, November 28, 2011) with a program about postal mail at our work place.

Thinking of mail, of course, I’ve been singing the Box Tops “The Letter” for a matter of days now, when it occurred to me to ask for feedback from my readers. I will leave a few examples here but please feel free to post your own. It is my hope that, before the program, Cathy and I will create a mixed CD of songs relating to the value of postal communication.

Here are a few of my favorites, followed by a list of suggestions. I’d like to see yours.

And off we go:

The Box Tops “The Letter.” This was Alex Chilton’s (God rest his spirit) first debut with his rough and rich vocals.

“Please Read the Letter” Robert Plant and Alison Kraus,

“Letter to Elise” The Cure

“The Letter” Natalie Merchant

Take a Letter Maria R. B. Greaves

Love Letters in the Sand (Patsy Cline or Pat Boone or Gene Austin.)

Sealed with a Kiss The Four Voices

Just a Song Before I Go Crosby Still and Nash

Rock and write on!

“Postally” yours,


P.S. By the way, I really, really love The Cure.

Bated Breath

fifth grade

So it happens.  You max out a credit card to go to a once-in-a-lifetime show.  Your ten-year-old self once vowed that “if this ever happened, I’d sell my soul to go see it,” and now it’s happening.  But it’s bittersweet, because you just found out there is a possibility it won’t be everything you hoped it would be.

When I was ten and fell in love with Pearl Jam, I, of course, discovered Temple of the Dog and Mother Love Bone.  For a 25th anniversary (yes, now I do feel old, thank you) the group, comprised of members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, are hosting a ten-date U.S. tour.  Only I heard, after spending an OBTUSE amount of money for a pair of tickets from a ticket scalper (see my thoughts on that in the previous blog), that Eddie might not be there.

(Record scratches.)  How?  Why?  What the hell?  Eddie was invited into this tribute band to honor the life of former Mother Love Bone frontman, Andrew Wood, who passed from a heroin overdose, after remaining “clean” for sometime.  The members of Mother Love Bone disbanded, and Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament met Mike McCready and discovered Eddie Vedder and wham!  Pearl Jam.  At the time, Matt Cameron was Soundgarden’s drummer, but now makes a perfect puzzle piece place in the group.

I bought said tickets (that I’m now paying interest on) with the full intention of bringing my ukulele to get signed, should that happen.  (Please God and Universe, align just right.)  Now, I hear that he may or may not be at certain shows.  Listen, Eddie, I have never spoken an ill word against you, nor will I ever, but I have to know…please, will you be at the Tower Theatre show on Saturday, November 5th? Please will you sign my ukulele, my arm, my soul?  May I get a picture of you, as chubby as I’ve become, to commemorate my life’s BIGGEST dream coming true?

Did you know that when I was ten I had a stained glass music note inscribed with Andy’s name on it, and another one, a heart with roses, that read: Eddie and Rachael Forever?  Come on, I was ten, cut me a break.  But please be there.  I don’t see how you could NOT be.  You sing on three of the songs, at least!  You are an integral part of that project!  And now there’s talk of a second release?!  Why would you not take part, 25 years later?  Plus, it’s only ten shows.  Ten shows upon which millons of fans were disappointed, because, once again, Ticketmaster sucks, and we waited, with breath bated, only to find out that no, we never had a chance.  Before the page could even open, all tickets were sold out.  We wasted a sick day from work to be horribly dissappointed.  Down-trodden, we turned to eBay and, instead of paying our student loans, we racked up “cashback bonuses” on our credit cards because of the ticket scalpers.

So, please.  Please be there.  Everyone who waited, breath bated, counted on this.  We can’t find a better man.

Respectfully in debt,


Dear Ticket Scalpers…

FUCK YOU ALL.  I’m kind…I try not to be profane on my sites, especially since I want to write professionally about music.  I had a college professor once tell my class, “Profanity is not bad, it is the excessive use of it that makes the word meaningless.”  So, I vow to only leave my opener profane.  My living room heard enough of the profane, hilarious sentiments just moments ago…

I’d attach a screen shot of eBay to explain what I’m talking about, but why?  Tickets that have NOT even gone ON SALE yet are being sold for upwards of $1.199…some as much as $3,447/pair.  I have an idea, why don’t I open my chest up with a butter knife and FedEx my still-beating heart to you, you modern-day, human-sized, soul-sucking parasites.

Have you ever loved a band so much that your heart ached?  So much that hearing them gave you wrinkles on your eyes and nose from hearing the sounds?  Has it ever been so visceral to you that your whole body responds to the living energy in your speakers?  That is magnified at a concert, nosebleed seats or otherwise.

Well, there won’t be any nosebleeds for me.  Unfortunately, this was a once in a lifetime concert event.  I never thought it could happen.  I never thought I’d see the day.  It was highly unlikely, in all circumstances.  My twelve-year-old self said, “Man, I’d sell my soul to see that happen.”  Well, it’s happening without me, in select cities around the world.

The achingly beautiful tribute to Andy Wood, frontman to Mother Love Bone, womb to Pearl Jam…gorgeous melding of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden…Temple of the Dog is touring in select cities around the U.S.  Some lucky fan club members (of which the fan club I am a part, not so much the former adjective) were drawn in a ticket lottery.  The rest of us waited eagerly to realize that even before we had the chance, credit card poised in hand, day taken off from work–desperately praying and counting down to that moment…the chance was never there to be discussed.  Tickets were not on sale, no.  There wasn’t even an opportunity for them.

Nor is there now, unless we bow to your disgusting fees, preying on our life savings, our student loan money, the very essence of our souls…as a Unitarian Universalist, I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all human (and animal) life.  You are a challenge to that, my foes.  How can I respect someone who preys of the hopes and dreams of the music-obsessed?  Would you sell cancer medicine on the black market, too?

That same professor continued, “You see, the beauty in using profanity is that when you use it passionately and sparingly, that’s when it really means something.”  I really mean it.

Blessings to all the ones who have been let down.  Keep on rockin’ even in a corporate greedy whore society,



Cigarettes, Lipstick, and Cobain

My wonderful friend and writing colleague Amye Archer captures life and music and style…you would enjoy reading her…

The Fat Girl Blog

I fell in love with you on a kitchen floor after my junior prom. You wore a loose tie with your red chucks. I wore a size 12 black and white dress that hour-glassed my expanding body into something more desirable. You couldn’t keep your hands off of me. That night became the night against which my beauty would always be measured. Remember how beautiful you looked in that dress on that night? You would ask me when you remembered it. It was as if that version of me-young, beautiful, thin, and sexy-was an island I could never again reach, not by swim, by boat, by rocketship.

We went with another couple, rented a limousine, sat at a table, ate a meal, and danced, just like we were supposed to. We had been dating only three months at that point, and if you were panicked or anxious, you didn’t show…

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The Core of Things in the Countdown

Stone Temple Pilot’s Core

STP’s debut album Core is an incredible-dance-in-your-living-room-fest album filled with contemplative lyrics, oddities and a lot of incredible music.  It is a must have.  I cannot speak for “new” STP from whence Scott Weiland was ousted from his own band (and maybe rightly so, but again, we don’t know the real story).  Either way, do yourself a favor and revisit this gem.

The opener, “Dead and Bloated” starts with a raspy lyric that explodes into crawling full-blown rock with definitive drum taps and driving bass.  This is perhaps one of their most dynamic tracks, going into a lilting chorus with “whooooa yeah-eh-yeahs.”  What exactly does Weiland mean?  Well, this is one time where I let the music take over.  This particular track has incited a dialogue with my husband and me.  We always speak to one another in lyrics anyway, and I always get these particular lyrics wrong.

Some of my favorites:



“Wicked Garden”

In a little under one hour, this album drives a consistent beat throughout.  I recommend it for a road trip album more than definitely so.

Opening the lid on Jar of Flies

Alice in Chains Jar of Flies

Weighing in at only 30 m 52 s, this cup of instrumental genius is filled to the brim with…no, not with flies…but with dark and melodic nuances, and Staley’s unique voice.  The lyrics at times are melancholy but never lack the authenticity with which you will always find in this band.  “We chase misprinted lies…we face the path of time…”  “if I can’t be my own, I’d be better dead.”  A haunting sentiment from a singer who battled with addiction until it overtook him–into a different beyond.

As usual, Cantrell’s pointed and clean guitar playing and harmonic background vocals give this four-piece set a mellow and haunting feel.  It’s not a minor thing, though…when the band explodes into this uplifting, hopeful chords, it can bring tears to a listener’s eyes.  After two solemn openers, we are greeted with a lilting, uplifting howl from Staley that emits hope from the deep recesses of depression in which we have retreated to to be with this album.

My particular favorites from this album are “Whale & Wasp” and “No Excuses.”  “Whale…” is an instrumental piece with strings that might make you feel like Vivaldi married an acoustic electric guitar.  “No Excuses” is a power-packed, snare drum heavy celebration of music.

All in all, Jar of Flies is a must-have for those of us, especially those, who are authentic Alternative rock fans.  Open the lid.

Be well and rock on,


Counting Down in Sunny Day…Real Estate

Sunny Day Real Estate Diary

Yes, they’re a band from Seattle at a time when “grunge” and “alternative” were terms as widely spread as the flannel shirts in your closet…well, maybe not your closet, but most people’s.  Sunny Day Real Estate, however, doesn’t seem to adhere to any genre of music I’ve heard of other than AMAZING.  I understand that I write this, knowing that they won’t be everyone’s cup of tea–but if you drink of the same mug as me then you should give them a listen.

One time, an eleven-year-old aspiring musician said to her mother, “I’m a musician without a band.  I’m just a poet.  How is this ever going to work?”

This girl’s mom replied, “Isn’t a song poetry put to music?”

This is exactly how I feel about Diary.  This album reads like a chapbook in your favorite advanced poetry class in high school.  But I don’t understand what he’s saying when I just listen.  That’s fine.  My mom often teases me about Eddie’s lack of annunciation in his singing…and, truth be told, Enigk’s melodic professions aren’t always that clear–but if you understand the words below the vocal emissions, you will get goosebumps, guaranteed.

To this day, “In Circles” is one of my favorite tracks, musically…especially when driving, “Well I go in circles…RUNNING DOWN!”  or in “Seven”‘s “You’ll taste it!  You’ll taste it!  In time…”  you will find me parked at a railroad stoplight, pounding on the steering wheel to the bassist’s beat.  I know, I don’t do it justice.  You’re going to have to listen to the entire album.  And after that, listen to The Rising Tide.  Both of these selections were listened to as I walked to my advanced poetry class in 2005–mind you, listened to in my 1985 cassette Walkman.

Both were enigk-matic.  So, if you aren’t friends with SDRE yet, you’ll thank me for the introduction later.

Rock and roll on,