The Redheaded Stranger Ain’t No Stranger

I don’t normally do back to back music related posts, but I couldn’t let the 80th birthday of one of my favorite singer/songwriters go without mention…especially following the loss of another favorite last week in “The Possum”, George Jones.

Willie Nelson, aka “The Redheaded Stranger”, has been a notorious and fun part of music tapestry for a while. In fact, Toby Keith and Scotty Emerick even wrote the above song to warn about partying with Willie. LOL! He’s one of the few who can claim to have smoked weed in the White House, and we just nod and smile tolerantly.  We all know he began the stand for farming communities through Farm Aid. With all that and his amazing talent with voice and lyric, can we really call him a stranger? It seems he’s made an impact on so many!

There was nothing like the legendary ballads he told, especially when he’d do it with his equally legendary friends. The Highwaymen is probably one of the most popular songs shared in multiple repertoires as this song was done with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash…. Truth is, these kinds of collaborations don’t happen very often anymore. Sadly, only 2 of the Highwaymen are alive. Kris Kristofferson & Willie.

It’s funny, because they did Good Hearted Woman (In Love With A Good Timing Man)…and I think they got it right. It wasn’t an easy life, but boy, if you could hang on…you were in for the ride of your life.

There will always be a soft spot in my heart for To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before. Change the gender and adjust the word from “loved before” to “lusted for” and it could’ve been the song of my youth. The fact that he blows away another strong vocalist and Latin playboy in Julio Iglesias should tell you just how powerful Willie’s vocals are.

He has a way of making you feel his music. Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground is a prime example of how he can tear your heart out even as you sway to every word he says. In fact, this makes me think of my brothers who both died way too young. It would’ve been a great dedication for them.

As lovely as songs like this and You Were Always On My Mind are, though, my all time favorite is a duet called Seven Spanish Angels that he does with Ray Charles. I think it’s the poetry to the words and the way these two vocalists dance around the words that wowed me.

So in honor of Willie’s 80th birthday…what’s your favorite Willie song? I’d love for you to share! You can never have too much Willie. (Yes, that innuendo was deliberate….LOL!)

Friendship And Boundaries

I’m going to have a ranty moment…

Everyone has “that friend”…the one who drives them absolutely nuts. Everyone has different triggers. This woman is hitting all of mine. I am trying to be kind and understanding, but I’m running out of patience…and you all know how honest I can get… Today I had to follow the age old rule handed down from parent to child “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

One of my old friends from high school is a friend of mine on Facebook. She and I have been playing each other in SongPOP. A few of my followers from way back probably remember how much of an addiction this game is for me. Well, one of the things you can do in between games is send messages back and forth. With this particular friend it ALWAYS starts with a message from her… To give you a hint at the cause of my frustration I’m going to throw in a song…you all know how well I relate through music.

Today it started with the following messages:

Her: Ugh. Having a shitty day. My first real boyfriend is being deployed in 24 days to Afghanistan

Me: (thinking…this has absolutely nothing with you and it’s been more than 20 years since you dated him…and not in the mood to coddle you.) My best friend was there for two tours.

Her: I don’t know what the future holds for him. He’s in the Navy. He has 2 children. He’s 42. He signed up later in life. Fucking dumbass. Been chatting with him today. I’m happy with who I’m with, but he’s my “could have been”. I feel terrible.

At this point I didn’t respond. Maybe it was callous of me, but I didn’t see how anything she mentioned should contribute to her “shitty” day. It had absolutely nothing to do with her…not really. If anyone had the right to feel that he was having a shitty day, it was her friend who’s being deployed. The nasty, catty side of me wanted to start listing off all my friends that have been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan…but quickly discarded it. I’m not big on pissing contests.

Then she sent me a text: Not sure why I’m getting so emotional about him going to Afghanistan. I’ve known about it for six months.

The thing is…this friend has a knack for making everything all about her. For example, on my wedding day she came with her husband. I have a large family. So does my husband. He’s Italian….that pretty much says it all. Anyway, we said hello and spent a few minutes talking before we had to go in to the reception hall. Several days I got a call after the wedding telling me her feelings were hurt that I “ignored” her and that she didn’t understand what she’d done. Hello! It. Was. My. Wedding. Day!!!

Or there was the guy who I went to high school with that died of a heroin overdose. Apparently she’d seen him several weeks before and he hadn’t been doing very well. Almost every time we talk, she brings him up and how terrible she felt that she couldn’t save him…and how she’d known “a different side of him” back in the day. One of my closest friends used to be his live in girlfriend and was madly in love with him. She doesn’t carry on about him the way this friend does. Anyway, I guess she was talking to the girl who was once our mutual best friend the other night.

Her: Was talking to our old friend about Max last night. She feels I shouldn’t have cared.

Me: (thinking, good. Someone who was friends with them both giving her some brutal honesty) Our old friend is good at compartmentalizing.

While I was in El Paso she called asking to talk for a “few minutes” late one night. That call turned into a 2 hour ordeal that kept me up till 3 am when I had to be up at 6. She’d had some medical issues a while back that required surgery. After she’d been able to return to work, certain circumstances had happened and she wound up without a job. She talks about wanting to write…but that the well has run dry. She talks about getting a job, but she doesn’t try. She told me she was depressed. I recommended she talk to a therapist or get off her ass. She didn’t want to pay the co-pay for a therapist…and she’s not ready to get off her ass.

She then went into the fact that she can’t understand why she’s not dead when “so many people she’s known over the years are”. She suffered with cancer as a child…and many of the children she knew didn’t make it, but she did. She’s nearly 40 now. I just want to shake her! Or wash my hands of her. Seriously.

I mean…this is the same woman who called me a month or two before my wedding and unburdened herself on me with the fact that she cheated on her husband. (Granted her husband was verbally abusive, but still…timing is everything.) This is not exactly something you share with someone about to make those vows, you know?

::Deep Breath:: Thanks for letting me rant. Really, I think it boils down to this… I don’t need to invest in this relationship. I don’t need her drama… Seriously. And I’m beginning to think she’s happy wallowing. Am I overreacting?

So…that friend that drives YOU crazy…what is it that they do that makes you nuts? Please don’t let me be the only one…

I promise…tomorrow I’ll talk about something fun… Maybe sex toys… 😉

Rising Through The Ashes…

To say this week has been a challenge would be a mild understatement..and it’s just Tuesday.  Yesterday I chose to spend time with my husband and didn’t have much to say anyway.

Last week, Julie Glover wrote a blog on movies that defined our generation.  For whatever reason, Julie’s blogs always seem to get my own creative juices flowing.  I take a few days to soak up her posts, then I write.  Considering that Pump Up The Volume was my all time favorite (Yes, even over The Breakfast Club which is my 2nd fave), it really got me reminiscing…and thinking about what it was that made that movie matter so much to me.

You know, these days you hear so much about bullying and all of it’s causes.  This is nothing new.  In fact, it doesn’t just stop because you become an adult!  I don’t like it.  I don’t agree with it.  In my youth I’d gotten more than my fair share of it.  In Pump Up The Volumethe main character, Harry, played by Christian Slater says that getting through it…surviving it…that’s the point!  I think about that line a lot.  And I think he’s right.

There’s a scene where Samantha Mathis’ character (his love interest) tells him that he keeps waiting for a voice to tell him what to do or what to believe…then says…you’re the voice you’ve been waiting for!  In fact, earlier in the movie she sends his character a letter on red paper with a poem on it…She’s trying to figure out who his radio persona really is.  The only thing she knows at this point is that they go to school together and that he speaks to her on a very visceral level.

“You’re the voice
crying out in the wilderness,
you’re the voice that
makes my brain burn and make my guts go gooey.
Yeah you gut me,
my insides spill on
your alter and tell the future,
my steaming gleaming guts spill out your nature.
I know you,
not your name, but your game.
I know the true you,
come to me or I’ll come to you.”

Going through challenges in life, embracing them, allowing them to sink into your soul and strengthen you…it helps to define the person you are.  It feeds your passions.  As writers, musicians and artists…it really helps you constantly recreate yourself.  These are the gritty things that inspire you.  They’re the opposites of the good, clean positive feelings that help you to realize, remember and appreciate when the good ones come along!

There’s another not so well known movie from the recent past that starred Lindsey Haun  from True Blood & Toby Keith, that really drives that point home.  It’s called Broken Bridges. It’s where I discovered Lindsey Haun for the first time.  She has an amazing voice.  I’d love to hear more of it!  And the lyrics are just so powerful, so filled with emoition.  We artsy types really feed on emotion.  I know for me, though I can’t always write my grief while it’s happening, give me a couple days of distance and poetry or stories fly…and with a type of depth to them that speaks to real life experience.  In this movie, and the above song, Lindsey Haun’s character writes this song and sings her heart.

She found a way to turn her pain into something beautiful.  Because, like Christian Slater said…”surviving it’s the point!”  What about you?  Are there movies that have touched you deeply?  Maybe pushed you harder toward your dreams?  Maybe helped you get through tough times?  Or maybe it was music?  What inspires you?  Who inspires you?