Category Archives: Music

There’s Still My Joy

I first heard this song in 2008. My father died that October, so Christmas was destined to be quiet and strange. He had had dementia. We lost him slowly and painfully over six years, hundreds of small goodbyes and flickers of hope, a human game of snakes and ladders, but rigged with many many more snakes.

I was listening to a Christmas music station on our television the week before Christmas that year and in the midst of all the fa-la-la-la-las and jingle bells came Roberta Flack’s clear and tender version of this song. It made me stop and sit and listen. The only other time I remember having that happen was while I was shopping in an enormous bookstore in Toronto and hearing Norah Jones singing Don’t Know Why. Same kind of calm, quiet, sweet song cutting through jangle.

There’s Still My Joy isn’t well known, but should be. It just popped up on my iPod and I searched for Flack’s version to share. Seems the Indigio Girls do a lovely version too, but here is the queen of my teenage angst, Melissa Manchester, with a beautiful version of the song she cowrote with Beth Neilsen Chapman and Matt Rollings. They sang my spirit back to life.

I brought my tree down to the shore
The garland and the silver star
To find my peace and grieve no more
To heal this place inside my heart

On every branch I laid some bread
And hungry birds filled up the sky
They rang like bells around my head
They sang my spirit back to life

One tiny child can change the world
One shining light can show the way
Through all my tears, for what I’ve lost
There’s still my joy
There’s still my joy for Christmas day

The snow comes down on empty sand
There’s tinsel moonlight on the waves
My soul was lost but here I am
So this must be amazing grace

One tiny child can change the world
One shining light can show the way
Beyond these tears for what I’ve lost
There’s still my joy
There’s still my joy for Christmas day
There’s still my joy for Christmas day

iskwē acākosīk is not iskw ackosk

This popped up on Stingray Music station I am listening to, and I was certain someone was now employing cats to do data entry:

“I know I’m out of touch, but this is a band and album?,” thought the old lady who is now me.

DuckDuckGo helped me find this fantastic person, iskwē, who has a new album, acākosīk, coming out in November. Her website helpfully explains that “she has adopted Standard Roman Orthography to write her name.” Seems the line over some of the letters in her name and album title are called a macron, but in Shaw Direct’s system, the macron just works to make the letter under it disappear. Too bad we can’t manage to honour Indigenous artists by at least being able to use their preferred spelling.

Wela’lin, iskwē, for this beautiful song.

So Enjoy Your Life

I made this fish biryani (every Thomasina Miers recipe seems to be golden!) for supper while listening to Enjoy Your Life by Marina more times than might seem appropriate for an old doll like me.

Stoic Week is going well (and Marina is half Greek, after all!), and maybe I’m not Stoic enough to sit back and enjoy my problems, as she suggests, but I’m working on it!

Sit back and enjoy your problems

You don’t always have to solve them

‘Cause your worst days they are over

So enjoy your life

Your Smith

The night after the 2016 presidential election, the world already seemed off-kilter. I had carved Hillary’s logo into our Halloween pumpkin that year, for cryin’ out loud, this wasn’t supposed to happen!

Jacked and hijacked.

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee that night saved me from descending into a chocolate coma. They had booked a young singer to perform in honour of the first female president of the US, but instead it became something else.

That singer was Lizzo. Watch her performance here (only 229,578 views as I write this? I’ve watched it at least ten times!). She was as joyful and proud and positive then as now when she is at the top of the charts. I sang “Good as Hell” all day every day for a few weeks, as my patient husband can attest. (Aside – “Good as Hell” was on Graham Norton’s Saturday show this morning as a pick from the Radio 2 New Music Playlist for this week, even though the song is from 2016. “Truth Hurts” was from 2017, but it just topped the Billboard Hot 100 list, so I bet Lizzo Inc. are hoping “Good As Hell” will have the same kind of luck second time round.

In getting to know and love Lizzo, I found a catchy song she did in 2014 with Caroline Smith,“Let ‘em Say”, a fundraiser for The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Then I fell in love with Caroline Smith! Look closely at the video for Smith’s 2013 song Magazine and I think Lizzo might be dancing in there, too!

Caroline is now performing as Your Smith. Last year she released a couple of great singles, Bad Habit (“I’ve got a bad habit of living rich on minimum wage”) and the Sheryl Crow-y The Spot (this live version makes her look like a DJ, especially with the Stevie Wonder “Do I Do” sample mashed in there, but that’s a new side of her to me!).

Last week she released the Wild Wild Woman EP. I especially like “In Between Plans” (Joe Janiak’s guitar work reminds me of Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham) and “Man of Weakness” has a great Paul Simon vibe. The video for that one is a handheld one-take! 

I hope she can grab the same rocket that her old Minneapolis pal Lizzo caught and ride her way to the top…if that’s what she wants, of course. Now on tour with K. Flay, go go go!