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As I recently shared with someone who means a great deal to me, if there were one singer/songwriter’s CD that I was allowed to have on my iPod, I’d select David Gray’s, “White Ladder” record. So many good tracks on that effort.

There’s a silver lining on all aspects of our lives, no matter how hard you question, wonder, or worry. No matter how dark it may be at any given moment. If we just remember and keep a watchful eye open for it.

Here’s Gray’s “Silver Lining.” No one sings it like he does.

Lyrics

Take this silver lining
Keep it in your own
Sweet head
And shine it when the night is
Burning red
Shine it in the twilight
Shine it on the cold, cold ground
Shine it til these walls
Come tumbling down

We were born with our eyes wide open
So alive with wild hope now
Can you tell me why
Time after time they drag you down
Down in the darkness deep
Fools and their madness all around
Know that the light don’t sleep

Step into the silence
Take it in your own
Two hands
And scatter it like diamonds
All across these lands
Blaze it in the morning
Wear it like an iron skin
Only things worth living for are
Innocence and magic, amen

We were born with our eyes wide open
So alive with wild hope now
Can you tell me why
Time after time they drag you down
Down in the darkness deep
Fools and their madness all around
Know that the light don’t sleep

Woah, wooah

Time after time they drag you down
Down in the darness deep
Fools and their madness all around
Know that the light don’t sleep
Know that the light don’t sleep

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It’s heeeeeeeeeere: 2009. Well almost here. It’ll be here when we’re all kissing our sweethearts on New Year’s Eve and falling into bed at 12:06 a.m.

I’m not a resolution guy.  Perhaps it’s because resolutions like, “I will exercise more,” only focus on the “do” in our lives and not on the “be.”  And the “do” we do is done for all the wrong reasons. We “do” something so we can “have” something so we can “be” something else. When we fail on the “do,” the wheels of the plan come off entirely.

So instead of resolving to do something, I’m focusing on being.  It starts with  finding the one area of life you want to positively change, then selecting a word to guide you through the year. Pick a word to remind you to live life on the “be” level.  Instead of “get fit” (do), perhaps you choose the word “health” and focus on making healthy choices the entire year.

My word? Bold.

Short back story: Through the past couple of decades, I got rutted in letting life happen to me. In that time many positive and wonderful things did happen. But I didn’t necessarily play a hand in carving the path with my own machete. No, the path was mostly pre-paved leading to a glass that was just three-quarters full when it should be brimming. My word “bold” will enable me to top off the glass each day – living life intentionally at work, in relationships, at home, in my desire to be fit and happy et al.  With this in the forefront, I’ll change behavior, live more purposefully and take myself out of life on the periphery.

I’ve already practiced using my word in recent weeks. It’s presented me with challenges and  anxious moments resulting in sleepless nights, like any shift in life presents. Being bold has risks, but it’s a step in a direction I must take. Plus, it’s exhilarating to hear my own voice when I say out loud the things that would have previously gone unsaid or take action on something I would have only thought (mightily) about.

I’ll kick bold into full throttle in January and post on my successes and failures during the year.

In the meantime, I’ve picked this John Mayer cover of “Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix as my theme song. We all need anthems in life.

Happy New Year. Make it a bold one.

Lyrics

Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted
They quietly understand
The once happy turquoise armies lay opposite, ready
But wonder why the fight is on

But they’re all, they’re bold as love, yeah
They’re all, they’re bold as love, love, love
They’re all, they’re bold as love
Just ask the axis

My red is so confident, he flashes trophies of war
And ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring
But it, it’s very unsteady for the first go round

My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from
Giving my life to a rainbow like you

But I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, love, love
I’m bold, I’m bold as love
Just ask the axis

He knows, he knows, he knows
He knows everything

I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, ohh
Been talkin’ to ya
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah.

P.S.  Be sure to wait an extra second on New Year’s Eve before planting that first kiss. A leap second has been added to the clock by the U.S. Naval Observatory. This will be the 24th leap second added since 1972. Thanks U.S. Naval Observatory clock watchers.

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A Little Deja Vu

Roughly 30 years ago, I stopped at the local record store in my hometown of Spencer, Iowa, and bought a cassette tape of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” I was 14 and played that tape again and again until the hiss on the cassette overshadowed the songs.

Flash forward to present.  A few days ago, my 14-year-old son was playing some songs from YouTube and invited me to sit down to hear a tune from (drumroll) AC/DC. Talk about deja vu.  Two generations appreciating the same band at precisely the same age. It struck a proverbial chord. The moment made me smile. And while I don’t rock out to songs like “Back in Black” or “You Shook Me All Night Long” anymore, I’m pretty pleased that my son took a liking to the same band that entertained his Dad three decades ago.

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Ray LaMontagne launched a new album, “Gossip In The Grain,” about a month ago. Here’s a track I’ve come to like. The video is taken from a gig he played in Boulder. It’s a bit shaky, but the sound is good.

Let It Be Me

There comes a time,
A time in everyone’s life
When nothing seems to go your way,
When nothing seems to turn out right

There may come a time,
You just can’t seem to find your place
For every door you open,
Seems like you get two slammed in your face

That’s when you need someone,
Someone that you, you can call.
When all your faith is gone,
It feels like you can’t go on

Let it be me
Let it be me
If it’s a friend that you need
Let it be me
Let it be me

Feels like you’re always comin’ up last
Pockets full of nothin’ ain’t got no cash
No matter where you turn
You ain’t got no place to stand
You reach out for somethin’ and they slap your hand

I remember all too well
Just how it feels to be all alone
To feel like you’d give anything
For just a little place you can call your own

That’s when you need someone,
Someone that you, you can call
When all your faith is gone
It feels like you can’t go on

Let it be me
Let it be me
If it’s a friend you need,
Let it be me
Let it be me

Let it be me
Let it be me
If it’s a friend you need,
Let it be me
Let it be me
Let it be me

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UPDATE:  I purchased my copy of the 20th Anniversary Sampler CD. The CD was nearly entirely sold out by 11 a.m. this morning (Nov. 20).  That’s $1 million to Minnesota charities.  Congrats to Cities 97.

Next poll. The
20th Anniversary edition of the Cities 97 Sampler CD (which will be a two CD set) goes on sale Nov. 20 at Target stores in the Twin Cities.

So, which song on this year’s Sampler CDs are you most looking forward to hearing?

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Friday evening found me at The FItzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minn., for an evening of “A Prairie Home Companion,” you know, Garrison Keillor’s public radio program that airs live around the country. Lake Wobegon? A Hollywood movie of the same title was made several years ago starring Keillor, Merrill Streep and several other big name actors. Does any of this ring a bell?

Anyway, we sat in the first balcony and watched Keillor (who must be 65 by now, but looks only 45 from a distance) do his show with his posse of musicians, actors and others. The show is highly entertaining in and of itself. From one word guy to another, Keillor still has it goin’ on with the writing and story telling.

But the highlight of the evening was hearing the music of Nick Lowe. Lowe, if you don’t know, is a musician, singer, songwriter from London and has written some very memorable tunes…stuff like “Cruel to be Kind,” and “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding.” While these songs left a mark on the music world, the best news is this: Lowe still has all the talent from back in the day and then some.  On Friday evening he performed, masterfully, “The Beast in Me,” a song he originally wrote for Johnny Cash. He also sang, “I Read A Lot,” and “When I Write the Book.” His voice, the lyrics and the performance won’t be forgotten by this Guy Noir.  (Oh come on! Google Garrison Keillor and you’ll get it.)

Here’s Lowe with Elvis Costello singing “What’s So Funny…” together a few years ago.

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Weezer rocked the house on Friday, Oct. 3 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  As if hearing the band perform its hits including Beverly Hills, Islands In The Sun, El Scorcho, Troublemaker, and Perfect Situation wasn’t enough, it also happened to be my son’s first-ever concert.

We sat in a suite far away from the mosh pit on the floor and enjoyed the ramp up provided by the Tokyo Police Club and Angels & Airwaves. Weezer owned the stage for a solid 90 minutes and put on an awesome show with humor, great guitar and a hootenanny consisting of more than 30 local musicians.

Here’s Weezer and the bands video for “Pork and Beans.”  Betcha recognize more than one familiar YouTube face…

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