June 22, 2017 – Beth Hart

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“His love is like fire on the floor/
It’s got me running for the door/
But I’ll be crawling back for more/
Of his fire on the floor”

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Beth Hart is an untamed bundle of electricity when she’s on stage and, even though she’s been making music for almost thirty years, she seems to be cranking out more and more great music with each passing year. ‘The Blues’ magazine called her “the ultimate female rock star,” and she performs like it. She’s recently produced albums of high praise and has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her in the green room for a special holiday season performance a few years ago. Playing to a packed house, she was just as lively and personable onstage as she was backstage; when Beth’s in the room, all eyes are on her. Period.

In April 2015 she released “Better Than Home,” a critical and commercial success topping the Blues Charts and recognized as the No.4 best blues album of the year by Mojo magazine. She has also received a nomination from the American Blues Foundation for Contemporary Blues Female Artist. Her most recent studio album, “Fire on the Floor,” was released last year.

Check out Beth Hart’s website here.

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January 22 – Piano Guts

01-22 Piano Guts post

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”
~Plato

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This past week I have been spending my days in church; most of that time has been spent tearing it apart.

But no. I’m not a rock star and this sanctuary isn’t a hotel room. I’ve been remodeling it with a carpenter friend who’s been teaching me some of the finer points of woodworking and repair. This week’s project had us redesigning & rebuilding a stage. Sledge hammers and circular saws aren’t anything I ever associated with church when I was growing up. Back then, church was this big room where people mutter the same responses like wind-up toys, kneel and stand over and over, and I always left feeling more perplexed about religion than when I arrived.

Even after being forced into catechism, most of my lingering questions remained unanswered or ignored. The King James Bible isn’t the most relatable piece of literature to a twelve-year-old. Hell, it barely makes sense to most adults. Religion was a frustrating experience altogether, which is probably why I elected to reject religion outright from an early age. I have since made peace with those adolescent frustrations. I still haven’t found god, but I don’t feel like I’m being judged just because I stopped looking. There’s a really big club called the Catholic Church, and I just happen to not belong to that club. And that’s okay with me.

Morality and decency isn’t defined by your faith. It’s defined by your actions. I made a house of worship look a little more grand today, and I have every expectation that the congregation will enjoy the things that I have built for them. At least that’s the hope.

There’s this upright piano that the church is remodeling, too; they’re going to install a keyboard but keep the veneer of the old piano. Keyboards don’t go out of tune quite so easily, and the church had been spending over a hundred bucks a month just to keep the old piano in tune. Earlier tonight, before grabbing my water bottle and coat, I snapped a few pictures of the piano’s interior. I’d never actually seen what the inside of one of those vessels actually looks like, and I thought it was a fascinating, industrial arrangement.

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