Monday, January 11, 2010

Quiet Moments By the Sea . . .

On the day before New Years Eve less than two weeks ago, the penultimate day of the year, we took an evening walk along the bay to get out and stretch the legs. No storms that afternoon, just the timeless show of sea, horizon, and clouds . . .
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Time to head for home, as the sun sank low, working her alchemy on the water, producing pure gold . . .
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Even after the sun had slipped out of sight, the light show continued in quiet splendor . . . made me think of the Chesapeake Bay, where I watched many a sunset in years past . . .
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Subtle colors out over the water, with the lights of the port of Roscoff in the distance . . . where one can catch the ferry to either Portsmouth or even Ireland, were one so inclined . . .
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This is not an advertisement for Volkswagen, just the full moon rivalling the electric light for brightness in the rapidly dimming sky . . .
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While out in Brittany at New Years, I noticed a photograph in a hidden corner I hadn't seen before. The young girl is la Grenouille's grandmother, with her mother, la Grenouille's great grandmother . . . I photographed the photo, to save it for posterity . . . I met her grandmother only a couple of times before she passed away, well into her nineties. . . a sweet soul . . .
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And now for something completely different . . . I'd been wondering for some time how to go about adding a little slightly more personal music to the blog, and finally got around to finding what I hope is a fairly simple solution via a file hosting site. I wrote this piece probably about 20 years ago, and it is the only song I've written that was ever "released" publicly in any form. . . on a cassette tape, thanks to the efforts of my old friend Scott S. who played bass guitar, mandolin, and twelve string guitar on this, while I did the rhythm guitar and vocals (if you can stand to call them that...) When I click the below link, it opens my media player automatically, I hope it will work for you too, if you have the patience to indulge me here. . . (I know, I'm asking alot; after photos, poetry, and now... home-made music... baring my soul... taking big risks...)
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Owen - Standing On The Brink.mp3
Free file hosting from File Den
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46 comments:

Nevine said...

A confession? A transgression? Is that you singing, Owen? Is it? If it is, then I just heard your voice... heard it completely... heard it with all my senses. Excellent idea, Owen, to allow us to get to know you better. It makes this whole blogging thing feel a little bit more personal... if you know what I mean. And as for those photos... "the sun sank low" is where my heart stopped for a split second. And I was flooded with thoughts and memories that always hit me when I see a beautiful sunset. I saw it with my eyes, and felt it in my soul.

Promise you'll share some more "baring my soul" stuff? :-)

Nevine

The Sagittarian said...

Do I detect a Dylan influence in those vocals (yes, I am calling them that)...with perhaps a bit of Mark Germino and the Sluggers?

Brave move to let us hear your voice as observed above, well done!

Loved the pix, esp the sunset one with the people...clever sod. That's you. But more clever than sod.

Owen said...

Dear Nevine, you are the early bird today... it is my voice, admittedly a bit younger than now... but I still play around with the guitar, was playing in the kitchen this very afternoon... there may be a little bit more where that came from in the pipeline... Ahh, Sunday evening in San Antone... hope you're managing to stay warm...
:-)

Owen said...

Dearest sister Saj, you slipped in there while I was typing an answer for Nevine... you are a kind sod, and more kind than sod I guess... touchée...

Am going to have to look up the Sluggers, that's a new one to me...

Thanks in any case for putting up with me... ! You're a great sis...

Cafe Pasadena said...

These pics are really nice! I can't imagine them being shot any better.

How's the weather where you're at?

Liz said...

What beautiful pictures!
And a lovely song. It is quite something to hear your voice!
Thank you for baring your soul :)

AmyR said...

Thank you for sharing your song. I really liked it! It's good to take risks. We all should learn from your example.

I love the subtle changes in the sky...

clo said...

Owen....tu joues de la guitare merveilleusement bien...
superbe...merci pour ta confiance et pour ce partage..
c'est tres touchant de t'entendre chanter au petit matin ...surprise...
tu es plein de talent et de créativité....
je repasse plus tard...
que ta journée soit douce...
bises....

Nathalie said...

Wow Owen what a treat!
That top photo just blew me away. As far as I'm concerned all the others were superfluous - apart from the last one but then it pulls a very different string.

And then the amazing gift of your voice. Love the guitar, love the song. What better start to the year could there be? I was really moved.

I'll second Nevine : Promise you'll share some more "baring my soul" stuff?

@eloh said...

I'm old, I'll click on stuff...I did my over view and clicked...minimized that light show cause they make me jealous that we didn't have them back in the 1960's when they could have really been nice.

The music comes on and I'm back inspecting pictures..slowly..and groovin' to the tune... my brain is trying to place the music/voice... and I'm groovin' to the tune and inspecting photos...but the song keeps demanding my full attention... so I just shut my eyes and get lost in the song a second time...I gotta do it a third time... I really love the lyrics , music, vocals...

Then I read that it is you singing... this deserved a post of it's own... what else you hiding from us?

I love the photographs, as usual, but my brain is lost in the beautiful song.

Babzy said...

I love the old photo very much ...And the others too ;)*
Unfortunately i can't listen to the song , it doesn't work !!!

Deborah said...

A brave thing to do, Owen.
It's a very listenable song, good melody, faintly melancholic in that minor key. Intelligent lyrics. The mandolin gives it a Middle Eatern aura, which is something I particularly like.
It seems to me to be much more than an amateur effort. Did you do a lot of composing/singing at one time?

Your voice was not a surprise to me, somehow. I'm quite glad to have this further glimpse of you.

PS If Babzy or anyone else has difficulty opening this file with their IE borwser, try Firefox, which was what worked for me.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Wow... That was Beautiful.. Art pours from you... Thank you..

designslinger.com said...

Taking risks are a good thing.
Otherwise life would be a bore.
Thanks for sharing!

Jim

TechnoBabe said...

I could be an ad for Volkswagen. It's a wonderful picture. We used to live a block from Chesapeake Bay. Really liked it there.

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired said...

Bravo, Dylan... er, I mean, Owen. Loved "Standing" -- I think you've got to share more of this talent with us. I see in a previous response here that you're still working at it... Please do share. I've been meditating on sharing more of myself on SM through file uploads. Sharing in creative ways like this, though not through singing... but you get the idea.
The quiet moments by the sea shots are really very calming and enchanting. And that tree, the moon, the sky, and the water seem to magically highlight the VW, so it indeed could be a subtle advertisment (do you own stock?).
Great post, Owen. Your skills at creative blogging are an everpresent inspiration to me. Thanks.
David

Peter said...

What a bright idea to let us listen to this!! I really, really liked it! Your blog is a pure treasure for the photos, for the writings ... and now also for the music!! As others, I was really moved listening to this. Hope to hear something more, even if this was the only one officially "released"!

amatamari© said...

I have everything for a good evening: images to admire, the past black and white and good music. Very nice. All very nice.
Thanks for sharing.
:-)

louciao said...

So you've thrown yourself at our collective feet-- and we are NOT embarrassed (adding my own voice to the other fans' screaming and rending of clothing). Just as long as it's only your soul you intend to bare within the confines of the Magic Lantern. There is a limit, you know, to what we'll put up with. But you haven't reached it yet!

Now I have to figure out how to get this fine tune onto my new MP3 player, without causing my computer to implode again.

I also love the light show that goes along with the song...reminiscent of my first experience of such, at the Jefferson Airplane concert, with Grace Slick belting out White Rabbit.

You are full of surprises, Mr.Toad.
:-D

jeff said...

"Standing on the brink" ! Hé bien mon ami ! Chapeau ! J'en reveux bien encore d'autres morceaux...! ! ! C'est français dit comme ça ?...
Par pure politesse, je dirais que j'aime bien ce morceau de guitare, et par pure honnêteté, je te dirais que j'aime beaucoup ta voix hésitante qui apporte beaucoup de chaleur à cette chanson !... Du coup, j'en ai oublié de regarder les photos de coucher de soleil et l'arrière garnd-mère de ta grenouille comme tu dis ! Non, je plaisante ! Elle est très très belle cette photo Noir et Blanc et merci de l'exposer ici, sur ton blog, aux regard de tous !... J'ai un profond respect pour les générations qui sont passées et qui ont fait ce que nous sommes aujourd'hui, nous qui à notre tour construisons le futur qui...

Merci de livrer là une partie de toi-même à travers ce morceau de guitare ! Pourquoi ne puis-je en faire autant ? Comme j'aimerais tant savoir jouer d'un instrument de musique ! ! ! Qui a dit du pipo ? ! ?...<:(...
Non, sérieux, les percussions sont les seuls instruments que j'afectionne et... à quand un "boeuf" à la guitare ?...:)

A bientôt cher Owen et merci de nous avoir fait cadeau d'une part de ton histoire...
Amitiés...;)

Steve said...

Wow. I am very impressed. A bit of Dylan, a bit of Spanish (?) guitar. A very accomplished piece that has more immediacy to it than a lot of the guff that chokes up the mainsteam music industry. Someone give this man Simon Cowell's phone number so he can tell him to stick his pop manufacturing factory and reach the top alone!

Maryh K. said...

Owen,
Merci (comme d'habitude mais que dire d'autre ?) pour ces fantastiques photos (je veux parler des ciels et couchers de soleil sur la Bretagne), ainsi que pour ce partage de ton enregistrement à la guitare et autres instruments assurés par ton ami Scott. J'aime énormément. Ca fait tout bizarre d'associer une voix à un blog (nous sommes plus habitués (encore ces maudites habitudes qui reviennent) à des photos et à toutes sortes de représentations picturales.
Crois-tu vraiment que la voix change en une vingtaine d'années ? je ne suis pas sûre de cela, sauf bien sûr si tu passes de la petite enfance à l'adolescence ou l'âge adulte.
En tout cas ton essai semble avoir été fort réussi puisque je ne suis pas la seule à avoir pu écouter ton enregistrement sur mon pc.
N'hésite pas à recommencer. Tu as un public presque inconditionnel !

Jill said...

Owen, I was so delighted to hear your song! - thoroughly enjoyed it! In fact, I was giggling gleefully, not because it was in any way funny, but because I was getting such a kick out of it. And your voice is quite pleasant, I think :) I could picture you performing it in a coffeehouse, somewhere...Do treat us to more songs, Owen!! Or to whatever else your creative inclinations come up with!

Owen said...

Hi Cafe Pasadena... in a word... the weather is FREEZING ! Pasadena sounds good right about now... or some sunny southern island in the tropics... Hawaii or Tahiti would do just fine... Many thanks, glad you enjoyed the photos...

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Liz, thank you... you are very welcome !

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Hi Amy... a thousand thanks... putting the song up felt almost like jumping off a cliff, once it's out there, one can't go back... but hey, life is short...

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Bonsoir ou bonjour Clo ! Tout simplement merci... si cela t'a fait faire même un tout petit sourire, alors je suis comblé....

Douce soirée à toi...

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Hi Nathalie !
Trop sympa ! Bon, je ferai pas de promesses, mais peut être un de ces quatre j'aurai encore l'inspiration de récidiver... il faut admettre aussi que l'inspiration est venu largement grace au blog des Watercats, qui affichent régulièrement leur excellent musique en Irlande...

http://thewatercats.blogspot.com/

En tout cas, je suis plus que content si tu as aimé cela, et merci pour les photos aussi, même si une seule pourrait faire l'affaire, j'aime en mettre plusieurs, pour les différences subtiles qui les séparent...

Stay warm ! La neige à Avignon, qui l'aurait cru ???

Argent said...

Hello, I wandered over here having read your response to the Watercats' post. Your song is great! You should definitely keep on playing and singing (and posting your music).

Owen said...

Hey @eloh; wow! cool! am happy this gave you some good listening time ! Am tickled pink in fact... I'm hiding all sorts of secrets... it wouldn't do to empty the whole sack at once on the table...

Keep clicking away ! We'll see what else I can find in the cupboards and attics and desk drawers...

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Hi Babzy, am glad you're enjoying the photos... am not sure why the song didn't work for you, most folks seem to be able to play it on both PC and Macs. Perhaps you could try a right-click on the link, then choose "Save target as" or "Enregistrer Cible" if your machine is in french... and then save the mp3 file to your machine, then try to open it with any media player which is mp3 compatible.... good luck, and many thanks !

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Hi Deborah... thanks a million ! It is true, in my younger years I used to play in some folk clubs and bars for a while, nothing major by any stretch of the imagination, just out fooling around with some friends, and no agents were beating my door down or anything, so I always kept it pretty low key... really appreciate your perceptive feedback... Hope you are warm whether in Canada still or in southern France, which also got snowed on last week...

Owen said...

Gwen... too kind... a thousand shining thank you's...
:-)

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Hi Jim, you're right, without risks, there would be little spice in life... just starting the blog in the first place felt like a risk at the time, going public with what had previously been a totally private life... but it's been a good trip so far, we'll see where it goes... hasn't gone viral yet either... there's only about 20 million blogs out there... if not more, which is why I really appreciate everyone who does somehow drop in here...
:-)

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Hi TechnoB,
So you were living right by the Chesapeake ? There's alot of nice real estate down that way. We used to go to a place called Elk Neck State Park and hang out on the beach there... My parents loved Smith Island... In any case, many thanks !

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Hey David ! I had a friend named Dylan while still in grade school... does that count ? He turned out to be a great jazz bass player btw...
http://www.myspace.com/dylantaylor007

And no, no VW stock in the vast portfolio... just alot of old black & white photos and a few odds and ends of songs & poems... not much, but it's all I've got...

Really appreciate your company on this long strange trip...

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Hey Peter, a great big thank you... I'll have to see what else I can find in the closet...

Owen said...

Amatamari, well, I hope you also had a glass of good wine to sip while partaking of the rest ? Many thanks !

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Dearest big sister Lynne,
What's this about rending of clothing ??!!?? I promise I won't be baring anything else besides a bit of the old soul in these pages... Wow, so we've gone from Grace Slick singing White Rabbit live to copying music onto mp3 players... how times have changed ! It still amazes me how whole shelves full of vinyl records and drawers full of cassette tapes and big piles of CDs can now all fit on one little gizmo in my shirt pocket, and I haven't even half filled the darn thing up yet... And I'll bet you saw some good light shows way back when. Well, the sky's the limit, eh? Will try to keep surprising you, though it may get tougher to find surprises... but a little good calm stability and reliability is perhaps a good thing too ?

Take care, don't get lost in the snow !

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Salut Pixpote !
Bon, ce n'est pas Hendrix, mais si cela t'a plu même un tout petit peu, bah, suis content... Quant aux aieuls, moi aussi j'ai bcp de respect pour ceux qui sont passés avant nous... qui explique en partie pourquoi j'aime rendre visite aux cimetières... :-)

Donc, il n'a pas neigé à Toulon ou Hyères ? Chez nous le grand froid continue... ça commence à bien faire... si ça continue comme ça je vais faire comme St Ex et partir dans le désert, en espèrant d'y croiser une rose, un mouton, un renard, un homme d'affaires, et un petit bonhomme qui me parlera des étoiles lointaines...

A plus mon ami... à bientôt...

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Hey Steve ! I'm not sure Simon Cowell is ready for me, I don't belt them out like Susan Boyle... and I'm not sure I'm ready for Simon Cowell either ! Hope you are still managing to stay upright...

Owen said...

Chère Marie K, J'ai bcp de chance d'avoir un public si généreux, et sans conditions ! Merci bcp de toute ta gentillesse ici ! Je verrai ce que je pourrais trouver au fond des tiroirs... J'espère que tu as de non chauffage là où tu es, car ce temps de grand froid ne semble pas pret à nous lacher... de quoi pousser des gens à partir au chaud... !
Merci infiniment !

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Jill, for you, a million thank you's; if that got you giggling, then for me it is a roaring success ! It did get played in a bar or two around Philadelphia, but that was years ago... Will see what else I can scrape up for you...

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Hi Argent, and welcome... those Watercats are good folks, and I love what is going on in their blog ! Good down to earth writing and music... And many thanks, will have to see where it goes...

louciao said...

Calm stabililty and reliability? Don't try to kid the troops.

Owen said...

Lynne, you are right... I'm still crazy after all these years...

English Rider said...

Re-post your "Between Two Islands Post" I loved that.

Alberto Oliver said...

Owen, you are a real rennaissance man. =)=)=)=)=)=)

the watercats said...

aaahhhh.... well.. firstly, sorry for taking so long to call over, have fallen behind with blog visits.. secondly.. ..
I think we'll give up now!
what a fecking great song, and I listened while I read your posts and flicked through your pictures and it matched everything perfectly!, especially the pics in this post, really atmospheric, love it! I loved the lead guitar on the twelve string, cool.. and the voice wasn't so much dylan I found.. little tendencies maybe.. I heard you more Nick Drake in tone.. beautiful voice anyway, nothing like i was expecting, lol!
You can tour with us after hearing that.. and sell t-shirts and be photographer etc.
Look forward to hearing more snippets.. :-D and I now have the song permanently on our player! woo hoo!

Loulou said...

It worked very well, the song went directly to iTunes on mu computer. Love the voice, your voice, fragile... such a wonderful surprise Owen! You never cease to suprise us you know!!!!

And what a beautiful B&N picture! So nice that you want to treasure it for sure (I take the opportunity of this post for sending some warm wishes to your lmovely wife)

Looking forward to some more (of everything)
Bises
Loulou

Stickup Artist said...

What a major treat. I listened twice, once to experience the sound and second to focus on the lyrics.

Perhaps in a previous life you were a wandering minstrel, or a troubadour for a royal court... writing poetry, putting it to music, performing. But there were no cameras then so I'm glad you are here now adding that dimension.

This is a really excellent and personal post with so much WOW factor hitting more of the senses with a such great depth of feeling, enhancing the start of my day.

I don't know what else to say but yell out ENCORE accompanied by enthusiastic applause!

TheUndertaker said...

Hey Mr Toad, you are indeed very clever! The song jump straight into my I-Tunes, so it's now on my I-pod, squeezed between Nickelback and P.O.D, haha.
Love the guitar, agree with Steve, a bit of Dylan and spanish guitar mix. Very good. Thanks for being brave!

ladydi said...

Oh my! Such gorgeous photos. Water and sky; it doesn't get any better than that. Enjoyed the music - nicely done.

ρομπερτ said...

wow.

Deidre said...

I really enjoyed the song, Owen. And the pretty photographs of the sea!

I think you're lying I think that is a VW ad. :)

desi said...

and now i am so disappointed. :(

After this fantastic story, poetry, lovely sunset...NOW i cant listen to your song because my work's firewall blocked it. :(

Lovely..!!

but thanx anyway Owen!!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :)

Lille Diane said...

I, too, am applauding, cheering, begging for an encore! MORE!!!! What an awesome song. I think it would do very well today. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Bravo!!!

Jeanne said...

I think the music is wonderful, the photos of Haiti heartbreaking and your words...powerful.I imagine your two lovely daughters are quite proud of their Papa. PS...I took a bunch of photos in an old cemetery the other day and have debated blogging about it. Am willing to take a risk now! Thanks for following m blog..I look forward to following yours. Great photos/stories!
Jeanne :)

The Pliers said...

I'm completely gobsmacked by the family photo of LG's grandmother and her great-grandmother! Worth it's weight in gold. I love digital cameras for their capacity to allow one to photograph all of those old photos that no one has the time, energy, money, or desire to share. Yippee for pixels! I'll catch up with your music as soon as I'm resurrected from my current condition of toast post-voyage!

Owen said...

Hey there Pliers ! We are truly lucky to have some of the technology we have these days... high quality photos with no wait while they get developed at the lab... instant gratification, excellent for us impatient types... Hope your post travel toast state will rapidly dissipate...

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Hi Jeanne, welcome... I think if it is treated with all due respect and sobriety, the subject of cemeteries can be a rich one, rich in philosophy, art, poetry, poignant, on many levels. So please do share your photos... If you go down the right side of my page, in the labels list if you click on "Cemeteries", you can see the hundred posts I've done over the past year and a half or so pertaining to cemeteries... a subject I love...

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Hi Lille Diane, many thanks ! Too kind ! Well, who knows, maybe it will go viral now that it's out there on the net !?!

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Hi Desi ! Too bad !, well maybe when you get home you can hear it ? Glad you liked the photos though... I have to get around to sending you one for this month... will do so shortly...
:-)

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Hi Deirdre, thanks so much... you may be right, I have a soft spot for Volkswaken, after having owned a couple years ago... A convertible Beetle would be fun, no ? It wasn't mine though...

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Hi Robert... thanks ! Sometimes one word says a mountain...

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Hi Diana ! Glad you enjoyed... did Larry get to hear the music too ? Hope it passed muster...
:-)

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Dear Undertaker, well, it's not that I'm so clever, it's just alot of things related to the internet are getting easier for idiots like me as time goes by... I had to search for quite a while before finding a way to post the music...

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Dear Stickup ! You are too kind by far... but certainly, in a previous life centuries ago, I was a troubadour, wandering Europe, singing in bars and on street corners... thank you !!! Glad it got your day off to a good start...

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Hi Loulou... will do my best to continue surprising you, if that's possible. So glad the music worked easily for you, right into iTunes huh ? Maybe iTunes will be selling it one day for ,99 centimes ???
:-)

Owen said...

Hey Vicky, can't wait to go on tour with the cats... selling shirts, doing the soundboard, lights, whatever... glad you had fun with it, and I hope it likes its new home on your player...

:-)

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Hey Alberto, well I guess all us bloggers are sort of rennaissance people, a new way to create a living work of art, that lets others know we are here, that we existed...

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Hi English... I'm happy you remembered that one, will give a thought to bringing it back out of the past and into the present...