Birth month

· long story short

I was out at dinner with B the other night, celebrating my birthday, and I mentioned how I wasn’t following my old tradition of posting a note about the birthday of my blog (because I started breathing room on my 33rd birthday and briefly considered calling it “Outliving Christ”) because, as with so many things in this past year, I had no time for the grace notes of life and have had to take my satisfaction from the things I can do.

To take some of the anxious pressure off of birthdays and their proper celebration in our family, we’ve adopted the notion of a “birth month,” loosely defined as the month containing the birthday (especially for dates early in the month), or about a month starting on the day of the birthday (especially for dates late in the month).

The birth month is full of win. I recommend it. If I were technical about it, mine will stretch till November 29 this year, coincidentally the proposed birth date of another project of mine.

So here I am, posting not on the (fifteenth!) anniversary of my now somewhat anemic blogging career, which was two days ago (Tuesday), but somewhere in the midst of my blog’s birth month, and mine, and – as it happens – on the one-year anniversary of my father’s death.

It hasn’t been an easy year. It has been a year of wrenching changes, of transformation, and of sorrow, fear, grief, and worry. Thank goodness it’s also been a year of creation, renewal, opportunity, and bold adventure. I wish I could tell Dad all about it. I miss him so.

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

The above link should play my brother, “xourmas,” and I – aka The Power & Mighty – doing an impromptu rendition of the Rev. Gary Davis (?) spiritual blues, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” from a few days after Dad’s death last year.

This ain’t no cocktail you buy in a bar

· Music, Musicology, Songs for Beginners, The Reuben Kincaid, ukulele stories

One of the songs I’ve been playing the longest with the Reuben Kincaid is an original by Cecil Vortex about prison booze called “Pruno.”

In fact, before the Kincaid even got together Pruno was one of the first tunes Cecil taught me and that we played together, and it was one of the first songs I recorded myself playing with Cecil, when I started to get the idea that this playing music together thing is actually pretty cool. At the time we were playing it on piano and uke but not TRK plays it in our current power trio format, with Cecil on guitar (sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric), the Reverend So-Called Bill on bass, and myself on ukulele, of course. Vocals on the “I don’t want to be right” chorus by hillbilly leprechaun Shmuey, who would himself never make or consume pruno.

Over the last few years we’ve played the song scores of times, usually with some major or minor flubs. The version I’m posting today is done in the slow epic/anthem mode, and has its share of clams, but is also a fairly representative demo of how we play “Pruno” today:

Pruno (demo)

UPDATE: Shared with the gracious permission of Cecil Vortex!