Journal

Rockin' in Pittsburgh

Most of the time you'll see me playing banjo, guitar or mandolin in bluegrass circles but from time to time I reach back to my musical roots which are firmly planted in rock and pop of the 1960s-70s. Each year I am a part of the Monster Bash Film Convention in Pittsburgh, organized by my old friend (we've known each other since junior high) Ron Adams. One of my many activities is playing old rock and roll with friends in a group called The Bash Boys. Here's a good example of what that looks like.

That good old "alien sounding music"

I was interviewed on the ever-changing world of bluegrass music, how I first discovered the genre and what our band, The Savage Hearts is doing these days.

http://www.timescall.com/entertainment/ci_31650477/kevin-slick-mid-winter-bluegrass-denver

CBMS Hall of Honor Update.

Here's a nice article that appeared in Bluegrass Today about The Colorado Bluegrass Music Society's Hall of Honor Ceremony at the Mid Winter Bluegrass Festival.

https://bluegrasstoday.com/mid-winter-bluegrass-festival-2018/?utm_campaign=Daily+Buzz&utm_source=Daily+buzz&utm_medium=email

The Savage Hearts at IBMA

Here's a nice little video collection from one of our showcase gigs at the International Bluegrass Music Association Conference in Raleigh, NC September 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94MQWyybNs0&list=PLfQ5xXQuzs51ALLfQkxRsG7FHKeyPbVVi

Summer's Here and the time is right

I'll be playing several shows with my old friends in The Steel Pennies bluegrass band this summer, we'll be back at one of the finest festivals anywhere - High Mountain Hay Fever which is always a great time in Westcliffe, CO in July. My main musical focus, The Savage Hearts also has a few gigs this summer, hitting Iowa City in June for example, but most of our work will be getting ready for the International Bluegrass Music Association conference in September where we'll be one of the featured bands. Check out the calendar section of this website to see where you can find me over the summer.

New Album is Out!

You can pick up my new album now! It's available through CDBaby as well as iTunes and all the other usual hangouts - listen to me on Spotify and all those other fancy streaming services too. I'm also on this site: https://kevinslick.hearnow.com

Check it out and let me know what you think.

The album features several new songs plus some re-workings of older tunes all with the wonderful assistance of Annie Savage on fiddle and vocals. 

Savage Hearts Heading to IBMA

We just got the wonderful news that The Savage Hearts will be one of the featured showcase bands at the IBMA conference in September. It's an amazing honor for the band, especially as we're really just wrapping up our first year of existence. We recorded our first album last summer and saw it hit number one on the International Folk DJ charts and the first single "Age" topped the Roots Music Contemporary Bluegrass chart. We just returned from the Durango Meltdown Bluegrass Festival and now we're making plans for going east to IBMA in the fall. https://ibma.org/world-of-bluegrass/bluegrass-ramble/showcase-lineup

Bluegrass Mass

http://boulderchorale.org/boulder-chorale-bluegrass-mass/

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas time again in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Here's a little video of the band gathered in our practice cabin playing some Christmas music. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RYxahVJ-Ec

We're Number One!!

The official standings for the month of October have been released in the folk music charts and The Savage Hearts are #1 for our album "Playing it Forward"! We also charted at number 2 and 8 on the singles charts and came in at number 3 on the artists chart.

You can read the details here - http://www.folkradio.org/

Have you seen some of our latest videos? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7MOeECkwF8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtCB1jm42yo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTcbq9HRwlY

and this little gem - the encore for our CD release concert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqknXnuPi6E

New Video for Savage Hearts

We in The Savage Hearts have been working on a new album, recording at ETown studios in Boulder.  Here's an old classic from Jim Croce that we've woven into our sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnzEj4CGzz0

Savage Hearts Album Kickstarter!

Be the first one on your block to join our kickstarter for the new Savage Hearts album.  Visit the Kickstarter page for a video about how we incorporate our teaching into performance and recording.

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1100033650/savage-hearts-the-twin-fiddle-album?ref=email

New Album!

Annie Savage and I have a new album coming out - July 6th is the release date.  The album features mostly instrumental recordings of old gospel favorites.  These are the songs we learned as children and still resonate all these years later.  Annie plays fiddle and harp, I play guitars, banjo, mandolin and bouzouki and we both do some singing.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8MmDZ2FGY8

New band The Savage Hearts

You'll also find me playing in a new band, The Savage Hearts, these days - here are a few videos

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAZmEHx7IILqaFR8W2ShuqDwj_YhRuB7E

Latest Steel Pennies videos

Here's the latest Steel Pennies videos from 2016

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAZmEHx7IILpCdyixglq4sLIQ82rn4I9i

A new song

I've been writing and recording some new material, here's a new song played with Kathy and Annie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OetMAk0RrYc

Playing an old favorite

Here's a video of Kathy Drazsnzak, Annie Savage and myself playing an old favorite hymn "How Great Thou Art"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tukoxgayQxU

Sept. 11th Journal

Here are some of my thoughts on 9/11 taken from my journals of that time when I was teaching 4th grade in Manhattan. http://kevinslickpoet.blogspot.com/2014/10/september-journal-2001-new-york-city.html

Next Bluegrass Jamming Class happens in September

I'll be teaching the next Wernick Method Bluegrass Jamming class in September at The FARM School, 102 West Chester St. in Lafayette 

Here's the info:

http://jamclasses.drbanjo.com/jamclasses/ks-2015-09/class_page/

Photos from Rocky Grass

I was busy this past weekend enjoying the music at the Rocky Grass Bluegrass Festival, but also photographing the scene.

Here's a selection of photos 

https://picasaweb.google.com/117614875666278399488/RockyGrass2015

A little tune for banjo

This is one I wrote a few years back.  https://soundcloud.com/kevin-slick

Here's a video of me playing the song - this video is in the key of C, the recording on SoundCloud is in D which is probably an easier key for others, in particular fiddle players to join in with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-Fu9I_3ooA

Bluegrass Jamming

Here's the link to the upcoming jam class.  The Wernick Method classes are great for total beginners as well as those who have stuck their foot in the waters of jamming a few times and want to improve their skills.

http://jamclasses.drbanjo.com/jamclasses/ks-2015-06/class_page/

Summertime

Welcome to summertime.

I played my first festival of the season with band mates in Steel Pennies.  You can follow our schedule of upcoming shows, pictures, words of wisdom and other assorted goodies at www.steelpenniesbluegrass.com

You can follow me on Twitter if you'd prefer your updates in 140 characters or less @KevinSlick1

If you're in the Boulder area this summer and want to learn the ins and outs of bluegrass jamming I'll be teaching a new class in the Wernick Method with Annie Savage starting June 30th.  For more info, email me or go to www.BGJam.com and look for my class listed in Lafayette starting June 30th.

Questions? email me here: slick@kevinslick.com

Tis the Season

Happy Merry Solstice Holidays Christmas and anything else you celebrate at this time of year.

The Amen Trio's album A Midwinter's Eve has been remastered and expanded.  You can download copies here

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-midwinters-eve/id947562129

or here - http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/theamentrio

You can also buy physical copies of the CD from any band members - Annie Savage, Andrea Love or myself.  Send me an email and we'll get a copy out to you.  If you're in the Boulder, CO area you can get one from Andrea Love at the Boulder Theater on Dec. 20th when she performs as a part of The Christmas Revels.

I'm busy watching all the Christmas movies I can and listening to seasonal music day and night.  I'm looking forward to a lovely 2015 with all of you.

Bluegrass Jam Class

I'll be teaching a bluegrass jam class this fall here in Boulder County, CO.  The exact location will depend on how many people sign up. Most likely it will be in Louisville, but I have a location in Lafayette set aside as well if we need more space.  I'll be teaching the class using the Wernick Method developed by Pete Wernick a.k.a Dr. Banjo.  If you're in the area and have been wanting to get into the amazing jam scene check this class out - here's the website with info on how to sign up http://www.drbanjo.com/classes/2014-10-kevin-slick-louisville.php

An album you should hear

If you're checking out my website chances are you know Bet Williams as well.  Bet was a part of the State College, PA music scene of the 80s and 90s with the band Bookends and later her solo work.  She was also part of the extended family of Neo Pseudo that migrated east to Philadelphia and continued creating wonderful music.  Her latest album is called The 11th Hour and you really should check it out.  Here's my thoughts on the album:

Bet Williams has always created music that spans, fuses and intertwines styles, influences and traditions and so it was quite fitting that she has now physically traveled far and wide as well living and working primarily in Berlin.  She even addresses this part of her life with the lead track “We Geography”, a brilliantly catchy tune built on clever word play that transforms “Geography” into a verb.  With her astounding vocal range and far-ranging imagination, Williams has always crafted music that stepped beyond the boundaries of the typical singer-songwriter fare but was always rooted in the solo-artist-with-acoustic-guitar model.  On this album Bet’s musical and life collaborator John Hodian, producer and arranger, pushes the sound into unexpected and delightful place.  Hodian’s background in composition and skills on keyboards work to match the musical ideas that Bet Williams has been building for years with appropriately adventurous sonic landscapes.  To get an idea of how much a producer skilled in classical composition can make on a recording, give a listen to “Magnolia” or “Moon River over the Hudson”.   A great producer knows that an actual string quartet sounds different from someone with a synthesizer and also knows how to weave the parts to lift, but not overwhelm the melody. 

The music on this album moves from stirring sing-along pop sounds like “Super Summer” which I would defy anyone to listen to without singing along to slightly more twisted melodies and instrumentation on a song like “Beautiful”.  With Williams and Hodian as your musical guides, the transition is never jarring, just strangely beautiful.

I could choose two song titles from the album to describe the musical experience within; “Bold” and “Beautiful”.  The sounds are indeed beautiful, sometimes in savage and strange way and other times calm and comforting.  The songs are bold in the way that a skilled practitioner executes their craft and there is no doubt of Bet Williams’s skill as a songwriter and performer.  Listen and you can hear a rare combination of the assuredness of a master and the child-like delight in discovery.  Bet Williams has this wonderful gift, the sound of someone in complete control of what they’re creating and someone completely surprised by what they have made.

click on this link to get more info on Bet and buy her CD - http://epiphanyrecords.com/bet-williams/

On The Radio

I am featured on the latest installment of Northern Spirit Radio and you can hear the interview right here:

http://www.northernspiritradio.org/index.asp?command=showinfo&showid=677446035888

Summertime

School's out for the summer and festival season has begun.  Steel Pennies has several festivals coming up, and if you want to catch us playing some bluegrass around the great state of Colorado visit http://www.steelpenniesbluegrass.com and look on the calendar page.  The Amen Trio will be working on a new website and Facebook page in the coming weeks so be on the lookout for that lovely collection of images and news.

As always you can catch up on info here or add me as a friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter - @KevinSlick1 is my Twitter account for music/art/writing etc.  If you think you'd like to follow what goes on in the art room at school then @SlickClass4 is the one to follow although I don't expect to post much there during the summer.

I'm also on Instagram but the majority of my visual art is posted on my Facebook page.

Sunday Gratitude Session

I realized that I forgot to put last week's Gratitude Session up on the website - if you want the most up to date news Facebook and Twitter are updated more regularly.  Anyhow - here's last week's song:

https://soundcloud.com/kevin-slick/connaughtmans-ramblerskesh-jig-by-the-amen-trio

May the 4th (be with you) Sunday Gratitude Session

The Amen Trio continues with our Sunday Gratitude Session releases with Gartan Mother's Lullaby.  Watch for a new release every week on Sunday mornings.

https://soundcloud.com/kevin-slick/gartan-mothers-lullaby-by-the-amen-trio

Sunday Gratitude Sessions

One my bands, The Amen Trio has decided to release a new recording each week on Sunday mornings as a way of giving thanks with and for music.  While we are not affiliated with any specific religious or spiritual group even though the name might suggest such a connection we do embrace the spiritual in a universal sense.  Our first release of these "Gratitude Sessions" is Lark in the Clear Air.  Andrea Love is the vocalist, Annie Savage is playing harp and fiddle and I'm playing guitar.  You can hear the track here on this website in the "Listening Room" or you can check out a little video I created with some photos on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s5rWbC5oYw or you can listen on my SoundCloud channel here: https://soundcloud.com/kevin-slick/lark-in-the-clear-air 

My Greatest Teacher

I heard the songs he wrote, adapted or otherwise shared with the world long before I knew there was a guy named Pete Seeger who was a famous singer. In later years as I learned more about him and had the chance to spend some time talking with him I realize that’s exactly the way he would want it to be. It seemed that for Pete fame was a useful, if sometimes uncomfortable, way to get songs out into the world to do the good work that needed to be done.
When I worked in radio our station had a closet filled with promo records that the program director had decided we were never going to play. DJs were able to sift through these piles of albums and take whatever we wanted. One day I found a batch of Pete’s Columbia releases and took them home. I was aware that he was the guy who had written “If I Had a Hammer” and some other tunes but not much else. I started listening to the albums and I was transfixed. I felt like I had opened a magic door to an amazing world that was hiding in plain view. It was as if the songs on those albums were diamonds that had been laying on the ground all around me and I had seen them a thousand times, just never really noticed them. I also discovered that he was a brilliant instrumentalist on 12 string guitar and banjo, I dug out an old 5 string banjo from my parent’s house and started trying to play like Pete. Just one of a couple million other pickers who have fallen under that simply beautiful spell.
As I began to seek out all things Pete I discovered that those old albums in the public library with the thick cardboard covers were indeed Pete Seeger’s old Folkways albums and once again I tumbled into another wonderland. There was, and is, such power in the simplicity of his arrangements of traditional folk songs often accompanied by only his banjo sketching out the melody under his voice. Soon I was filling up notebooks with the words and chords to hundreds of folks songs that I learned from listening to those albums over and over and over again.
The first time I met Pete was at a gathering of The People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle. There were workshops and song sharing sessions and I had been taking pictures at one of Pete’s workshops. Another attendee came up to me and told me that Pete really didn’t like people taking pictures during the workshops. Later in the day I found Pete and asked him about the photos. The first thing he said was “Aren’t you the guy who sang that song about living on a farm last night?, that was great”. He then said “You know, I used to think that music was the universal language but I’ve come to believe its photography because pictures are instantly understandable to anyone anywhere.” We then talked for an hour or so about photography and ways to use images in conjunction with music. He told me he was writing about this gathering for Sing Out and asked if I would send photos to them for his article.
I learned over time that this was pure Pete. If someone came up and told him they loved his music or thought he was the greatest banjo player he’d be polite and friendly but if you came up and said something like “Pete, I just found an old garage full of tractor tires what do you think we could do with that?” His eyes would light up and he’d be tossing out twenty ideas to the dozen.
I often admired his energy and I think he was a master at soaking up the energy of the people who were around him and radiating it back ten-fold.
As a writing teacher I often talk about finding a “mentor author” to study, Pete was my mentor songwriter for sure. When I play a song of mine like “One New Road” and see people singing along the first time they’ve heard it I know Pete’s lessons are coming through. I listened to many of his songs when I was writing “Paul Robeson Song (Powerful Voice)” and had the somewhat scary experience of playing it for the first time in public with Pete sitting in the front row. When I finished the song I stepped off stage and was kneeling down to put my guitar in the case when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned and there was Pete “Now, that’s a damn good song!” He said. That was just pure Pete.
Of course Pete would die someday. I often wondered about how I would feel. I did have a little practice though. I remember waking up to the radio when he was given the Kennedy Center Honors award. I woke up to the sound of President Clinton’s voice talking about Pete and saying all kinds of wonderful things. “Oh no, I thought Pete must have died, the President is saying all these wonderful things about him” I couldn’t imagine the President of the United States saying something nice about Pete Seeger unless he had died. A few months later I was able to share this experience with Pete who thought it was pretty funny.
That old physical part of Pete is gone but so much is still here. When I read the news this morning I felt sad but not overwhelmed. Maybe because it was morning and I was getting ready to take my son to school and get to work myself I was rushing around and the news was still sinking in. We went out and got in the car. I turned the key, the radio was on and instantly the car was filled with the chiming electric twelve strings of The Byrds playing “Turn, Turn, Turn” from the back seat I heard my son singing along and that’s when I really cried. It was pure Pete, one of his many gifts being passed along to the next generation.
To everything there is a season, indeed and we’re so fortunate to have been here for the Season of Pete.
He once sang “To my old brown earth and to my old blue sky, I’ll now give these last few molecules of I”. Pete truly gave every last molecule of “I”. He’s a part of my world as much as sun and sky and always will be my greatest teacher.

A New Christmas Story

The junior high members of Boulder Friends Meeting wrote a little modern re-telling of the familiar Christmas story.  I helped a little, but it was mostly their ideas.  Several people have asked to have a copy so I'll post it here and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

MODERN Christmas Story

One day Ceasar tweeted his followers of which there were many “Yo! It’s time to pay your taxes #ObeyMeOrElse

All over the world people logged onto Travelocity for the best deals in getting back to their hometowns.

And Joe googled the best prices on his iPhone which was a gift from his fiance Mary and booked a flight on Southwest airlines for behold they had no baggage fees and Mary and Joe were rather poor after all.

While they were traveling they searched Craig’s List for baby items and hoped it wouldn’t be born on the plane.

Alas when they arrived they found they had no room as Joe had neglected to click on the book a room button while booking the flight online.

So Mary gave birth to her first born son in the back of a Costco store, because after all they do have ginormous panda bears and more diapers than you’d ever need free samples and those incredible peanut butter filled pretzels.

And there were in same country associates working in the Targets, WalMarts and King Soopers for the stores were open 24-7 when lo, a mass text was sent out from the social media angels
And it said “Hey get on over to Costco, there’s something amazing going on and it’s not a sale!”

And so they want and found Mary and Joe and Jesus in the Costco walking the aisles collecting diapers, rattles, toys, cribs, pacifiers and other assorted baby items.
And suddenly there was a flash mob singing “Glory to God” and posting Instagrams of the baby online.

A video of the event from Joe iPhone went viral and all was well.
#TheEnd

Christmas Music

As promised, several tracks from "A Midwinter's Eve" by The Amen Trio have been posted on the Listening Room page of this website.

I've put several tracks on YouTube as well and they can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxhK9uDlhGU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdHAZK4BKjI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmot2fnA5lg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozv46KRSA7g

The Amen Trio is myself on guitars, Annie Savage (known to bluegrass fans for her work with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado and being a teacher at Steve Kaufman's camps) on violin, harp and vocals and the wonderful Andrea Love on vocals and pennywhistle.  We plan to start work on more recordings in the new year and have already started selecting songs for next year's winter themed album.

Tis the Season

It's my favorite time of the year… or at least one my favorite times of the year (in truth there are probably at least 12 favorite times of the year)

I am part of a new Christmas album this year: A Midwinter's Eve by the Amen Trio which is Annie Savage, Andrea Love and myself.  It's a rather lovely album of acoustic celtic based folk versions of Christmas tunes and some generally wintery feeling music.  Annie plays harp and fiddle, Andrea is a incredible vocalist and plays penny whistle while I pluck the guitars.  You can order a copy from me by sending $15 to paypal (slick@kevinslick.com) or email me with info on sending a check.

Over the years I've posted a fair number of Christmas songs on video and they can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAB0779B1E9C55F44

October

It's the lovely season of autumn and I just finished reading "Something Wicked This Way Comes", a book I read every October because after all, it is a rare month for boys.

If you'd like to see what I'm up to during my days as an artist/educator here are some links:

https://blogs.svvsd.org/slickart/  This is my art blog

Here are few online gallery episodes that show student works:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyH8clggkAw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHVZjlCGtyQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7CoUaCFV1c

As long as there's baseball, it's always summer

In honor of the Pittsburgh Pirates making it into the playoffs for the first time in many years I'll re-publish two of my baseball poems.  The first about seeing The Great One on my birthday in 1971, the second about the wonderful feeling of baseball on the radio. 

This is the Moment

There were at least a thousand different moments that day

August 13th 1971, my thirteenth birthday.

It’s not the long line of baseball fans

on a hot afternoon

winding their way up the ramps

circling Three Rivers Stadium like a python preparing for dinner.

It’s not the grey concrete walkway

speckled and spattered with

chewing gum

cigarette butts

beer stains

and something that might have been food.

Not even the sudden rush of fans pushing together

as the clubhouse door swung open

and like baseball cards come to life,

two Pirates emerged to sign autographs.

It might have been the face

of Roberto Clemente

granite features

with blazing eyes that met my own for an eternal moment

but then

maybe not even that.

It was, however,

the feeling of my feet leaving the floor

and my father’s hands

as he lifted me above the crowd

and his voice

younger than I had ever heard

saying

“There he is!, the great one!”

That was the moment.

That is the moment.

©2011 Kevin Slick

 

Baseball Radio

Baseball radio

skipping across the thick summer night sky

transistor voices

painting soundscapes in dreams

gathering in a plastic dream catchers with antennas reaching to the stars

There is a static and crackle, the sound of the air itself

that fills the beautiful moments in between

the pause between pitches

when the patterns of voices and noises weave together in a blanket of sound

the bat crack,

the glove smack,

the long ball crowd roar

a tapestry of sound rising and falling like waves on the sea.

And in that aural landscape

in the slow, spacious story telling

memories, like fossils revealed breathe the summer air and live again.

Somewhere Willie is stalking the fly ball from the bat of Vic Wertz,

and somewhere Roberto is firing a cannon shot from right field to nail an

over-confident runner on the way to second,

somewhere Babe is still on deck  and the game is still within our grasp

and autumn and winter are a million miles away.

 

©2011 Kevin Slick

September Journal

By Kevin Slick

© 2001

 

There are so many pictures frozen in my mind.  A family album that doesn’t have to be opened to be re-lived.  There was that perfect autumn blue sky, just so blue, so blue that it almost hurt to look at, that perfect blue with a jagged grey cloud ripping across the middle of the sky, like a gash in the atmosphere, a hole in the universe.  There was the man covered in dust standing next to me at the 14th street subway station as we waited to see if any trains could still run over to Brooklyn.  And there in an abandoned lot off Atlantic Avenue, a homemade American flag nailed to a piece of wood in the afternoon sunlight welcoming me home.  But the image that always comes back first is the light coming through the window of my classroom after everyone had left as it gently floated through the window onto the newspaper that was lying on my desk, filled with words that no one would remember.  And I stood there to try to understand that moment when all those words would be re-written and this day would have forever a new meaning.  I stood there trying to understand, but couldn’t.  I could only live in the moment, and so walked outside and headed south toward that ragged tear in the sky.

 

 

I bought a newspaper on the way to work this morning.

I thought I would talk with my class, fourth grade at P.S. 116, about the primary election for mayor.  After all there would be people in and out of school all day since it was the polling place for the neighborhood around 33rdand 3rd.

But we didn’t talk about the election.

The voters left early, if they came at all.

By three o’ clock in the afternoon I was alone in my room.

Sunlight was coming in the window at an autumn afternoon slant

Dragging long shadows across the front page of the newspaper,

Still lying where I left it on my desk.

No one will ever remember the stories from the front page of today’s paper.

No one will ever think of this day and talk about the election

Or any one of ten other stories that were worthy of the front page of the

New York Times on September 11th, 2001.

 

I walked downtown

Smoke arched across the sky

People’s faces; grim, vacant, worried.

We talked to each other like people at a funeral;

“How are you doing?”

“Are you okay?”

The streets, a constant stream of fire trucks, ambulances, police cars.

Police on every corner

Crowds gathering at the hospital a few blocks away.

And the people’s faces, unbelieving

I can’t believe it.

(how many times have I said “ I can’t believe it” when I could have said “that’s surprising” or “ I didn’t expect that”)

Now, I really can’t believe it.

Tell me again,

They’re gone?

Those two buildings are gone?

The two buildings I see from my window every day?

The two buildings I rode past this morning on the train?

Gone?

I saw an old man walk out onto 3rd Avenue and stop traffic because some people were walking up to a hospital helping several others who appeared to be bleeding or injured in some way.  It was perfectly normal, and all the cars stopped. 

He said that it was what he had to do.  That’s what we were doing there that day – “what we had to do”

When I returned home to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn the man who owned the middle- eastern restaurant on the first floor called me “brother” and offered food.  I joined others from the street and we ate in silence together.

Later I heard someone say “There are no words” 

 

 

 

The next day.

Everyone is in motion today.

On Fulton street the sun is shining and the streets are full of people.

Loud dance music rips out of a store selling stereos.

A man is begging on the corner, shaking a cup full of coins endlessly. 

Now he switches hands and adjusts the volume on his Walkman.  He’s looking all around and no one is looking at him.  He looks around some more and drives his electric wheelchair away.

The other people on the corner just keep talking and ignoring the place where he was.

It seems like this city is too big to slow down, even with the heart torn out, the body is still going through the motions.  If you chose to ignore media and not look across the river you could pretend nothing had happened.

I want to believe that nothing has happened.

This morning I work up and prayed for it to have all been a dream.

 

The sky is still so blue today

Only that one line of grey

Grey smoke to the south that lays across the sky.

It looks like rain clouds,

Long, low rain clouds

But it’s too sunny for rain.

 

There’s a cool breeze

Like the best ocean breeze on the last day of summer

It’s such a beautiful day

Such a beautiful day.

 

Is it nature, or God

Trying to say that life goes on?

Is this a day to help us heal?

Is this a day that covers the terrible with beauty?

 

This beautiful sky lies across our lives

We are held together under this sky

Held together by each other

By our heartbeats

Our footsteps

Beating out a rhythm together.

 

I heard a woman say

That the most important thing in the world

Was the smell of her daughter’s hair when she hugged her.

 

Later,           

I can see the sun as a fuzzy white ball in the grey, cloudy sky.

 

In Union Square there are huge crowds

Gathering around signs, candles and pictures

Offerings, gifts people have left.

 

Behind me, a group is singing “America The Beautiful” some of the crowd, however are only singing the first line of the melody, having forgotten the rest I guess. 

The result is an edgy harmony as one group repeats the same line over and over.

 

People have written poems

And the word “Love” appears over and over again.

I’ve been writing what I see and feel, waiting for words to have some meaning again, but I can’t find the meaning. 

I’m living on faith that the meanings will be revealed sometime, maybe someday. 

But I see that I’m in the midst of a living poem, the voices, the pictures, the streets themselves, the city itself is singing.

Whitman was right, this is America singing, the varied carols I hear with melodies hard to understand and words that tear and strain to rhyme but still singing.  The music is un-planned, improvised, ragged and beautiful.

Why are we all here, right now, at this moment?  How did we get here?

Maybe we’re all here just to be next to other humans

 

Every sound is muffled, like a church

This seems like a sacred site.

The stained glass windows have been replaced with

Flowers

Paintings

Pictures

All those pictures

Thousands of pictures.

This whole city has become a photo album

A large family photo album.

Walking down the streets, I feel like I’m leafing through memories

Memories shared with strangers.

Weddings,

Back yard picnics

Vacations.

I’m looking for my family here

Looking for faces I recognize

And I realize I know every one of them.

 

 

 

I can’t sing

I want to sing, but I can’t find a song to sing

Not one song

Not one song I can sing

But all songs

I have no song to sing

Unless it’s all songs

 

I try to speak but I have no voice

Only all voices

 

I’m calling on God

But I think God will only answer

To all his names

To all her names

Spoken as one.

 

One sky

One blue, heavenly sky

Covers us like a prayer shawl.

I want to wrap myself in the sky.

 

I wrap myself in these pictures

These words

The quilt of life

Of lives sewn together on the streets by broken hearts seeking peace.

 

I stand with others, with everyone

In search of release.

My feelings pour out on the names

On the faces

And I think all my feelings have gone out of me

But new feelings appear

Like waves on the ocean, endless

The best I can do is open my heart to the emotions

The way a rose opens it’s petals to drink the dew

And I release those feelings

Like the rose gives up it’s petals.

 

Award Winning Guitar Player

On the weekend of August 24th I traveled south with the wonderful Steel Pennies, the band I've been a part of since January 2013, to play at the Santa Fe Old Time and Bluegrass Festival.  We had been trying to get into this festival, our first outside of Colorado, and quickly took the open slot they offered even though it was at the extremely high and lonesome hour of 9:30 on Saturday morning.  We played our set and had the stands filled by the time we finished.  It would seem that there are a lot of early rising bluegrass fans in Santa Fe!  Since our goal was to make ourselves noticed to the festival it was suggested that several of us sign up for the instrumental contests going on that day.  David Okay Patton had already signed up for banjo and soon Darrell Cox was roped into joining the mandolin competition.  I was nominated to represent our group in the flatpicking contest.  I hadn't planned on playing in the contest but thought "What's the worst that can happen?".  I asked Kathy "Tater" Draz to accompany me on one song (we were allowed six minutes) and we did "Cherokee Shuffle".  The only thought that really went into the song selection and playing on my part was that maybe there would be a lot of fast, flashy pickers and perhaps a slower song would stand out.  I improvised a version of "Shenandoah" with a lot of cross picking and chord variations.  Something must have worked because I won first place!

 

 

Steel Pennies concert on video

Here's a live stream show we did earlier this year.  It was broadcast live on the web but there was no one in the studio except us and the camera people.  The hosts were in another studio talking to us through speakers in the studio.  We usually use just one mic, so this was a little different, but it's a nicely shot video and sounds pretty good I think - so if you're checking in from somewhere else in the world, here's a chance to see what we've been up to lately. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqr7YyGk2m4

Summer becomes Fall

As the summer of 2013 draws to a close I'm still quite busy playing bluegrass music with Steel Pennies.  We've played at Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, High Mountain Hay Fever, Bluegrass at the Fair (in Pueblo, CO), Rapidgrass in Idaho Springs, CO as well as a gig or two in our home area of Boulder.  You can follow some of our musical exploits at http://www.steelpenniesbluegrass.com

If you like videos check out: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAZmEHx7IILp1RxTidCvy20NZhyhxHPao

You can always check out my channel on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/kgslick50/

We released a new album with the band too! You can find that at all the regular outlets either as a real CD or digital download, here's one link to try if you're in the mood for some bluegrass: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/steelpennies

I played my usual silent movie music at this year's Monster Bash International Film Convention in Mars, PA.  This year I played for Hunchback of Notre Dame which runs about two hours.  I played it all live this year, no backing tracks, just me on the piano... with sore fingers and wrists by the end of the film!

You'll find more updates more often on Facebook so come on over and friend me there if you really want to stay up to date.

Spring Time

Hi!

It's springtime in the Rockies, that wonderful time of snow and sunshine, flowers, ice, sleet and the promise of warmer weather.

I've been playing a lot of music lately, bluegrass to be exact with Steel Pennies http://www.steelpenniesbluegrass.com

You can see us live on a webcast on April 14th at: www.ustream.tv/channel/free-range-pictures

IF you miss the live show, I believe they will archive the program so you can tune in later.

You can follow me on Twitter these days as well @Slickclass4 is my classroom account and I'm also at @KevinSlick1

Blogs!

I've been busy this school year with blogging.  I hope you'll check out my personal blog http://www.kevinslick.blogspot.com/

as well as my classroom blog http://blogs.stvrain.k12.co.us/kgslick/

The personal blog covers education issues including work I'm doing in the classroom as well as political ramblings.  The classroom blog, along with my "play by play" on what we're doing in class also includes samples of students writing.

The sky was so blue...

September Journal 

By Kevin Slick

© 2001

 

There are so many pictures frozen in my mind.  A family album that doesn’t have to be opened to be re-lived.  There was that perfect autumn blue sky, just so blue, so blue that it almost hurt to look at, that perfect blue with a jagged grey cloud ripping across the middle of the sky, like a gash in the atmosphere, a hole in the universe.  There was the man covered in dust standing next to me at the 14th street subway station as we waited to see if any trains could still run over to Brooklyn.  And there in an abandoned lot off Atlantic Avenue, a homemade American flag nailed to a piece of wood in the afternoon sunlight welcoming me home.  But the image that always comes back first is the light coming through the window of my classroom after everyone had left as it gently floated through the window onto the newspaper that was lying on my desk, filled with words that no one would remember.  And I stood there to try to understand that moment when all those words would be re-written and this day would have forever a new meaning.  I stood there trying to understand, but couldn’t.  I could only live in the moment, and so walked outside and headed south toward that ragged tear in the sky.

 

 

I bought a newspaper on the way to work this morning.

I thought I would talk with my class, fourth grade at P.S. 116, about the primary election for mayor.  After all there would be people in and out of school all day since it was the polling place for the neighborhood around 33rd and 3rd.

But we didn’t talk about the election.

The voters left early, if they came at all.

By three o’ clock in the afternoon I was alone in my room.

Sunlight was coming in the window at an autumn afternoon slant

Dragging long shadows across the front page of the newspaper,

Still lying where I left it on my desk.

No one will ever remember the stories from the front page of today’s paper.

No one will ever think of this day and talk about the election

Or any one of ten other stories that were worthy of the front page of the

New York Times on September 11th, 2001.

 

I walked downtown

Smoke arched across the sky

People’s faces; grim, vacant, worried.

We talked to each other like people at a funeral;

“How are you doing?”

“Are you okay?”

The streets, a constant stream of fire trucks, ambulances, police cars.

Police on every corner

Crowds gathering at the hospital a few blocks away.

And the people’s faces, unbelieving

I can’t believe it.

(how many times have I said “ I can’t believe it” when I could have said “that’s surprising” or “ I didn’t expect that”)

Now, I really can’t believe it.

Tell me again,

They’re gone?

Those two buildings are gone?

The two buildings I see from my window every day?

The two buildings I rode past this morning on the train?

Gone?

I saw an old man walk out onto 3rd Avenue and stop traffic because some people were walking up to a hospital helping several others who appeared to be bleeding or injured in some way.  It was perfectly normal, and all the cars stopped. 

He said that it was what he had to do.  That’s what we were doing there that day – “what we had to do”

When I returned home to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn the man who owned the middle- eastern restaurant on the first floor called me “brother” and offered food.  I joined others from the street and we ate in silence together.

Later I heard someone say “There are no words” 

 

 

 

The next day.

Everyone is in motion today.

On Fulton street the sun is shining and the streets are full of people.

Loud dance music rips out of a store selling stereos.

A man is begging on the corner, shaking a cup full of coins endlessly. 

Now he switches hands and adjusts the volume on his Walkman.  He’s looking all around and no one is looking at him.  He looks around some more and drives his electric wheelchair away.

The other people on the corner just keep talking and ignoring the place where he was.

It seems like this city is too big to slow down, even with the heart torn out, the body is still going through the motions.  If you chose to ignore media and not look across the river you could pretend nothing had happened.

I want to believe that nothing has happened.

This morning I work up and prayed for it to have all been a dream.

 

The sky is still so blue today

Only that one line of grey

Grey smoke to the south that lays across the sky.

It looks like rain clouds,

Long, low rain clouds

But it’s too sunny for rain.

 

There’s a cool breeze

Like the best ocean breeze on the last day of summer

It’s such a beautiful day

Such a beautiful day.

 

Is it nature, or God

Trying to say that life goes on?

Is this a day to help us heal?

Is this a day that covers the terrible with beauty?

 

This beautiful sky lies across our lives

We are held together under this sky

Held together by each other

By our heartbeats

Our footsteps

Beating out a rhythm together.

 

I heard a woman say

That the most important thing in the world

Was the smell of her daughter’s hair when she hugged her.

 

Later,           

I can see the sun as a fuzzy white ball in the grey, cloudy sky.

 

In Union Square there are huge crowds

Gathering around signs, candles and pictures

Offerings, gifts people have left.

 

Behind me, a group is singing “America The Beautiful” some of the crowd, however are only singing the first line of the melody, having forgotten the rest I guess. 

The result is an edgy harmony as one group repeats the same line over and over.

 

People have written poems

And the word “Love” appears over and over again.

I’ve been writing what I see and feel, waiting for words to have some meaning again, but I can’t find the meaning. 

I’m living on faith that the meanings will be revealed sometime, maybe someday. 

But I see that I’m in the midst of a living poem, the voices, the pictures, the streets themselves, the city itself is singing.

Whitman was right, this is America singing, the varied carols I hear with melodies hard to understand and words that tear and strain to rhyme but still singing.  The music is un-planned, improvised, ragged and beautiful.

Why are we all here, right now, at this moment?  How did we get here?

Maybe we’re all here just to be next to other humans

 

Every sound is muffled, like a church

This seems like a sacred site.

The stained glass windows have been replaced with

Flowers

Paintings

Pictures

All those pictures

Thousands of pictures.

This whole city has become a photo album

A large family photo album.

Walking down the streets, I feel like I’m leafing through memories

Memories shared with strangers.

Weddings,

Back yard picnics

Vacations.

I’m looking for my family here

Looking for faces I recognize

And I realize I know every one of them.

 

 

 

I can’t sing

I want to sing, but I can’t find a song to sing

Not one song

Not one song I can sing

But all songs

I have no song to sing

Unless it’s all songs

 

I try to speak but I have no voice

Only all voices

 

I’m calling on God

But I think God will only answer

To all his names

To all her names

Spoken as one.

 

One sky

One blue, heavenly sky

Covers us like a prayer shawl.

I want to wrap myself in the sky.

 

I wrap myself in these pictures

These words

The quilt of life

Of lives sewn together on the streets by broken hearts seeking peace.

 

I stand with others, with everyone

In search of release.

My feelings pour out on the names

On the faces

And I think all my feelings have gone out of me

But new feelings appear

Like waves on the ocean, endless

The best I can do is open my heart to the emotions

The way a rose opens it’s petals to drink the dew

And I release those feelings

Like the rose gives up it’s petals.

 

 

 

Painful

Another news headline from Colorado screams across the TV screens, laptops and tablets.  Once again people gather and cry, curse and wonder, wonder why?  Just a little ways away, just down the road from me it's happened once again.  But it doesn't matter where exactly, does it?  In the human village distances are not measured by miles but by feelings, by shared happiness or shared pain.

Once again there will be talk of "doing something" about gun violence and I think I can predict that the powerful gun lobby will trot out the old defenses that guns don't kill people or that we need guns to defend ourselves or they'll pull out those vintage Americana photos of a hunter and their child in the woods. I t's worth remembering, that the laws that the NRA fights so successfully have nothing to do with responsible gun owners and in no way infringe on sportsman and hunters. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania where the first day of deer season was a holiday, no kidding, no school. Hunters and target shooters (and I enjoy target shooting) do not use the kinds of guns that are routinely used in shootings. The weapons that have only one purpose, to shoot other people at close range, are the issue here. When the NRA and it's allies throw up the picture of a hunter and his child out in the woods, it's a false image, these people are not carrying automatic rifles. The claim that people need guns for self defense is a ruse as well. Documented cases of guns being used for successful self defense are so rare as to only make up a tiny fraction of one percent of the killings by guns. The NRA has been incredibly successful in creating an image of a government that is coming to take your guns. I know many people who believe this. They are afraid to acknowledge any hint that the availability of guns might have anything to do with this. And yet, if you break it down, many have told me that they think having more background checks etc. make sense, and these same people scoff at the idea of people needing to buy an automatic weapon for hunting. Some have admitted to me that they just like the idea of owning a machine gun or some other heavy weapon because it's fun to shoot. Here's where I think people have a chance to grow up a little and become more mature. If driving one hundred miles an hour in your sports car is fun, should you be allowed to do it on the streets? We routinely confine and regulate dangerous activities for the good of the community. Since there is no realistic defense for fighting any and all gun controls based on the self defense argument, one has to assume that the gun lobby believes that the second amendment guarantees your rights to do whatever you want with guns. Again, it's worth noting that "gun control" is not "gun elimination". A car can be a deadly weapon and we have a lot of rules that govern how you can use one and what condition you have to be in to drive. A gun can also be a deadly weapon and in fact it's uses that aren't inherently dangerous are much fewer than just about anything else, but I'll acknowledge that there are uses that are not oriented towards violence, so why not allow the same kinds of regulations as we have to driving a car?  Otherwise, aren't we helping make guns more available to crazed people just for the sake of someone who wants to have fun, and can't stand the idea that something they might like to do would be denied them?  What kind of childish ego demands that nothing is done to stop incredible violence and waste of life just so as not to interfere with their own desires?


Summertime

Obviously I've not been very good at updating the front page of my website.  To be honest if you really want to find out what's going on day to day for me it's best to find me on Facebook.  It is summertime and I've been traveling so that might count as some excuse for not updating things around here.  I haven't heard any complaints though so I'm guessing no one has been dying for news.

Here's a link to a recent video I recorded: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwCkmRwG7q8

If you look through my YouTube Channel you'll find lot of videos from this summer.

One of the very wonderful things that happened this summer was being awarded a "Forry".  This is a lifetime achievement award for work in the classic horror/sci-fi realm, named after Forrest J Ackerman (Mr. Sci-Fi himself)  I guess it says something about you when you're at a stage of life where you get a "lifetime" achievement award, but I'm just delighted to have been honored.


Mother's Day

A Song for my Mother – Kevin Slick © 1999

 

My mother sang

My mother sang easy for herself

In the kitchen, in the car, in the garden

My mother sang.

Hymns, Blues, Jazz, Swing, Rock and Roll and Folk

All these my mother sang easy for herself.

“How Great Thou Art”

“Mrs. Robinson”

“Side by Side”

“Goodnight Irene”

this might be her idea of an afternoon concert

it didn’t matter if she knew all the words

one line was all she needed when my mother sang

easy for herself.

in the morning

mid-day

midnight hour my mother sang.

Words and the sounds of words

Rolling, tumbling, falling

Like a Pennsylvania mountain stream.

Words and the sounds of words

My mother sang.

Melodies like leaves on the wind

That whistled down our long valley.

Songs just came to her

When she wasn’t even thinking of singing

In the kitchen, in the car, in the garden

That how it was when My mother sang easy.

 

My mother sang serious in the church choir

Where she was the director

Who tried to direct me.

There is a proper way to sing she said

And she tried to teach me

The kind of singing

Where one note is right and another one is wrong.

This kind of singing where you are a tenor

And you sing with the tenors in the tenor section

And you not a baritone or bass

And don’t even think about soprano.

That’s what she said.

Songs that started and stopped on schedule.

That’s what she said

My mother when she sang serious.

 

When My mother sang serious

She laid those songs down end to end

On a narrow groove

A straight line highway to the horizon.

 

When My mother sang easy on her own

She wove a quilt full of songs

That spread out in all directions.

“What a Friend We Have In Jesus”

“I want to hold your Hand”

“Pennsylvania 6-5000”

and “Rock Island Line”

 

When My mother, the choir director

Tried to teach me proper singing

She tried to teach me with what she said

With clearly outlined parts

To be learned and reproduced.

 

When My mother sang easy on her own

She taught me with how she lived

And she covered me with a feeling of sound.

Sounds that covered me

The way the ocean wraps around you

When you dive into an oncoming wave.

 

When she tried to teach me with what she said

It was only words

And they blew away

Like seeds scattered on Chimney Rock

On the side of the Alleghenies.


 

 

I learned from how she lived

I learned from the sounds,

The songs that filled our house.

I absorbed those sounds into my skin

And they stayed.

When My mother sang easy on her own

That’s when I learned.

Not from what she said

But from how she lived.

And my life is filled with songs

That come to visit like old friends

Who drop by in the afternoon

And then decide to stay the night.

Songs and sounds and feelings

That return like waves on the ocean.

Waves that whisper

Waves that shout

Like My mother when she sang

When she taught me with her life

Singing easy

Like My mother singing easy

Like My mother singing

My mother singing

Only now

Her voice in mine

Endless like the ocean.

 

New Stuff

I've been adding new videos to my YouTube channel and new thoughts to my blog.  You can find my blog at 

http://www.kevinslick.blogspot.com/

Videos are available at

http://www.youtube.com/user/kgslick50?feature=mhee


There are moments (for JVP) .

There are moments, rare 

when you can see the change, when you can watch time passing.

There are moments, deep in memory 

where dreams are born and your heart is shaped, crafted, sculpted and painted with experience.

The television set in the living room of my home, my first home, where I grew up, where my memories still live, alive with flickering blue and white against a green background, mixing with the glow of Christmas tree lights and advent candles on a winter's night in 1969, and my father and I on our knees as if in prayer watching a futile attempt to go ahead on a two point conversion only to find redemption and a second chance from the twelfth player on the field that lead to an improvised frantic finish that won the game and forever my heart.

There are moments, rare

when time stands still, when a passing spirit pauses

and you can wave good bye

and say thank you one more time.

Songs from Long Ago

This summer my dad asked me to make a CD of some old bluegrass, folk and country gospel tunes.  It began with playing the song "Life is Like A Mountain Railroad" at the church I grew up in and having so many people share their memories of that song.  I recorded the songs over a weekend, usually beginning with vocals and guitar and then adding other instruments later.  I've posted a few songs on the "Listening Room" page on this site.   I hope you enjoy the music and Happy Thanksgiving.

Ten Years After

I posted my writings about September 11th 2001 on my blog which you can find here:

http://kevinslick.blogspot.com/2011/09/ten-years-after.html

It's not often we have the chance to be in the midst of such historical events and I've tried to think about and learn from what I saw, heard and felt that day and the days that followed.  I'm still learning.


Summertime on the Farm

Here's a video I shot using the iPod Touch at my family farm (where I grew up) in central Pennsylvania.  I'm glad to got to introduce my son to fireflies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLcBN-J339Q

More from the Bash

The Monster Bash website has a bunch of great photos posted and you can see them here:

http://www.monsterbashnews.com/scrapbookNEW.html

If you scroll down to the most recent Bash - Summer 2011 you'll see plenty of photos from the film convention including many shots of my performance for Nosferatu.  There are a lot of great photos of the wonderful make-up job done by the folks at ReelMagik.  You'll also see photos of the Bash Boys where I joined my friends Dan, Bob and Steve for some good old rock and roll.

Back from the Bash

Once again I had the honor of participating in the annual Monster Bash film convention in Pennsylvania at the end of June.  I performed a new score for classical guitar with the 1922 film classic Nosferatu and did it in full make up.  I also got to lead a sing along version of the theme song from Gilligan's Island for Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann in the series.  Along with the film stars who come to tell stories and sign autographs, the Monster Bash has some of the most talented, and without a doubt the nicest people on the planet.  You can find more information on the event at http://www.creepyclassics.com

You can see some photos of the event including some wonderful pictures of me performing during Nosferatu in make up here:

 

 

 

Summer's Here

Summer is here, and the time is right for dancing in the streets or pulling weeds in the garden.  I just got back from Ghost Ranch, New Mexico at the IMYM gathering of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).  While there I had the chance to do some songwriting with junior high kids and you can see the results here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-HySm2mb_8

In a week I'll be off to Pittsburgh to watch some movies with friends at The Monster Bash International Film Conference.  I did the music for Charlie Chan in Transylvania which will premiere on Sunday.  I'll also be doing live music for the 1922 classic Nosferatu.  I did a score for this film back in 2001 and I've updated the music a bit.  Those who have been to the showings in the past know that I usually use some backing tracks to give the music a fuller sound live but this year I'll be doing it all live on classical guitar.  I've wanted to try out this tightrope walk for some time now, working without a net as it were.  I actually had thought about recording some backing tracks to use, but when I tried I found that both my DVD recorders were not working so I took that as a sign that this must be the year to go completely solo.

Plans are underway for a fall reunion of Random Draw and Smokin' Bananas including just about all the various incarnations of those bands.  Also appearing will be The Hipsters and some other bands of the 1980s from the State College music scene.  

National Poetry Month April 17

This afternoon

sunlight crawls through the air

anyway it can,

knowing that winter will hide it’s glow for a season.

Sunlight sinks deep

and I believe I can see trees

pulling the warmth into their bark

and into their branches

as if

to hold it

remembering

all winter long.

National Poetry Month April 16

Sometimes poetry can just be fun, so here's a jump into the pool of funny words.

 

I was in a bookstore when…

 

Godfly yo blingo

bo teddy fry not slabber

ah wet-lee go dingo

and bil-bee in tatters.

Cron tingle the soft spoon

elastic in spatters

see-bart doe fingers

ripen the singers

tee-blex that lingers

and harbor the goat

Tay-beeps!

Tay-beeps!

The shore is not swingle

apoot-vents go flavel

a donkey plays bingo

Ooh border gap nan-tooth

your wingle unhitching

my wandering snip nose

unfloundered while pitching

Yet gingles do platter

and rake the small tweed

not won-ton on butter

or the foot of Sam Snead

So stand fully bothered

and pink the green pine

For I have found a book finally

about the artist Franz Kline

National Poetry Month April 15

I am always moving between prose, poetry and songwriting - this is an idea that also showed up in a song

 

Moment of Change

 

I’m always looking for the moment of change,

the moment when change begins. 

The crest of a wave, the edge of winter, the break of day. 

There is a powerful stillness on the edge, a powerful silence too. 

The moment of flight, hanging in the balance. 

There’s a moment before falling when you fly, when gravity forgets you. 

A powerful still moment, the moment of change.

This is when we slip inside time.

When we open time like a curtain and crawl inside,

in between seconds, in between time.

 There are words underneath your skin, breathing underneath your skin,

waiting for the moment and changing. 

Constantly changing. 

With each breath, the air changes around us. 

The sky becomes fuller, the air around us ripples and changes. 

This is the time for faith, when the balance tilts and change begins. 

Pure energy released and moving the world. 

But in that moment there is only silence and stillness.

Pure stillness,.

Pure silence, the power of the universe

waiting in the falling of a leaf.

National Poetry Month April 14

There was this sound

and I don’t know if you heard it

but it came from somewhere close by

and it sounded like the voice of a friend

and yet there was something new

and different

and strange

yes,

strange enough to make you stop

strange enough to make me stop

and listen

and the sound was awake

or perhaps the sound of awakening

and I don’t know if you heard it,

but I’m telling you this

because I want to remember

that sound

and I want breathe that sound

because my heartbeat has found a partner

in that sound.

National Poetry Month April 14

This bright wind,

that’s how it is.

This  quick, cold air

yes,  that’s how it is.

As if that small patch of trees

might grow out of my memories

and fill the world around me,

that’s how it is.

Pennsylvania brown, grey-green

thin winter branches

twisting

wrapping

a universe in their arms

that’s the way

just like that.

And I would be forever

walking quietly through those woods

lightfoot

mysterious walker through the trees

where no one can hear me

as I am invisible

that’s how it is

yes, it’s just that way

as the bright wind weaves itself into

grey cloudy forests deep in the afternoon

as that bright grey wind follows me in the forever afternoon

and I find myself searching for this forever afternoon

in that stillness between day and night

In between time

when I practiced walking

quiet and invisible

listening

forever 

National Poetry Month April 13

This one was inspired by Walt Whitman's poem about attending a lecture on astronomy.

 

When the word

beauty

has been defined completely

charted, catalogued, wasted,

used to describe such mundane fare as sunsets,

mountains and oceans, so that it has become meaningless

still you will confound the cartographers of language

with your soul,

still you will surprise those who expound

on the recognized meanings of words

simply by turning to face them.

the scientists of language will

drop their books, their defenses and expectations

at the glimmer of your eyes

 

National Poetry Month April 12

Since this is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, I tried to put some thoughts into words.  I thought about Fort Sumter then and now.  I know this one, the poem and the conflict actually, is not finished but sometimes it's good to try to put the words out there in the world to see how they feel.

 

April 12

Where once hearts beat

and blood flowed

hatred burned

defenders of chains

and those who would break the chains painted the sky with fire.

Iron and steel tortured the land and seared the soul.

And now,

that fire, iron and steel have become words on a page

stories on paper

paper, the most brittle and fragile holder of dreams

and we

are the inheritors of the dreams watching

waiting for the new birth of freedom.

National Poetry Month April 11

Southern Utah Journal

 

This is my cathedral

Wide

Beautiful

Wild

This is my dream land

visited by spirit gods long gone

and yet to be

There is no time

No passing of time

There is only a sound

and no sound

in this land, silence is a sound

in this land there is stillness and power

in this land the patterns of sky and rock are joined

forever

My eyes walk high ridges

cutting through ageless stone

my eyes walk with the older spirits

and we follow the same patterns

of rising stars

of rock edges against sky

My cathedral

god mountains rising

saints and angles towering

watching

My cathedral

beyond dreams

only in dreams

There is no time

time has been laid aside

forgotten by these solid living gods

who spread dreams across the ages

one slow life dream

one slow word spoken

forever

National Poetry Month April 10

Is it easier to write about memories? maybe, it does seem that they make up a large portion of my writing work.  Maybe it's just that when something is in the past I've had the chance to think about it for a long time.  Thinking about something for a long time does seem to be an important part of the writing process for me.

 

Flat rough field

Flat enough,

Just barely flat enough

To run without too much trouble

Wheeling around the base paths or chasing

Wild hop grounders

That danced with infield rocks.

Flat rough field

Full of heroes

Fifteen or so legends

In fifteen or so minds

Whose sandlot deeds became mythic

With endless re-telling from imaginary broadcasters.

Flat rough field

Sweat covered midmornings

And dusty late afternoons

Sweltering days

Frozen in time

Rippling heat figures and late day shadows

With eyes forever on the ball

Bats dented and splintered swinging through the slow summer air

Powered by late afternoon weary arms

Held by hands still stinging from last inning’s line drive

Late dusty shadows

Called by distant voices to dinner

Scattering

Drifting in lines that are rarely ever straight for home.

National Poetry Month April 9

There are many people who inspire me.  Biography is perhaps my favorite or at least most read genre, and so many of my poems come from people's stories.  Here's one called "Ashes"

Ashes

I looked outside my window

November sunrise

sharply painting the air

clear and bright.

The wind walks,

doesn’t run through the yard.

It opens and folds itself into the growing forest.

There are more leaves on the ground

than on the trees

and so that fluttering dance is rare

each one is spotlighted in the autumn air

a dried soul dance

riding the faint touch of wind

into eternity

joining the song of the earth

the slow dreaming song of decay

and merging

to melt into the ground

to spin inside the earth

speaking the language of ground

the dreaming of oceans

wrapping around the earth

and one leaf merging into the earth

one leaf

one earth

the same.

It was eighty five years ago today

that Joe Hill died

killed by his brothers

murdered by his country.

His ashes floated

on a slight autumn breeze

through most

every country

in the world

and every state in the union

save one

(Where no man should be found dead, said he)

One man

merging with the good earth

air

and sky of a thousand countries

of a million dreams

one earth

one man

the same

his words moving beyond the ashes of his used up form

growing, now planted

solid and slow

in the endless circle of life

born and reborn

growing

one leaf, endless

one dream, slowly growing always

Joe Hill

planted on the wind

that covers the earth

His eyes looking back from a million fellow travelers.

National Poetry Month April 8

For the Flying of Kites on October Days

 

The air is tight

clear

brittle

like glass wrapping the earth

sunlight sparkles

separating

shattering on impact

crystal leaves reflect a million colors

startling

clear and brilliant

limbs release their handful of jewels

rubies

amethyst

flaming diamonds

scattered and throwing a million strands of light across the land

The sky begins to open

as trees spread bare branches

This is the season of the sky

the rich earth dissolves into air

we circle the earth with bare branches

open the sky and follow the wind for a moment

like a brief dream before sleep

for a quiet afternoon

where we ride the wind into the day sky

balancing between seasons

before the sky swallows the last days of autumn

for now,

stillness

balance

and the flying of kites on October days

National Poetry Month April 7

Here's one I wrote many years back after seeing Patti Smith at the Troc in Philadelphia.

 

Patti at the Troc 12/16

 

Winter warm air, rain that should be snow wanders along Arch Street gathering light and laying it across the pavement/  Slow breathing, vibrating air filling the cavern space.  Gathering moving swirling, the air wraps a slow dance around a heartbeat.

Many hearts

one heartbeat.

Gathering darkness, look inside.  Stillness erupts into life.  Spirits called, spirits answer and gather themselves inside us, dancing to the heartbeat, slow enough to wander lonesome.

Lonesome cry, the blessed dust rising from ancient radios.  One foot forward, balanced on the bridge, this bridge we cross tonight.  Strong enough? Invisible bridge, crossing spirits, gathering passion, sonic harvest, the fields are heavy as wind brings release.

Running

walking

calling

spirits, we shall live again!

Holy ghost sweating, breathing hard

call on those holy fighting ghosts

revolutionary dreamers

dancing barefoot to the slow rising wave

one wave

a million waves

rise and fall

night and day

and lovers gripped by slow burning, consuming lust, hot fire, sonic lust, the sound of life

the hot pulse of night passion

quick torrent

split second passion burn

Catch me now!

Take me now!

Look fast! A million brilliant stars calling home the storm

holding the hurricane in your arms

air surrounding

air inside us

breathing

hard

pulsing

moving us together

fountains rising

lightning storms from the desert flash the city

walking in the footsteps of revolution

Hallelujah!

The gospel ship sets sail

and we whirl and dance in our power

amazed at the visions

amazed at the power we create and share

and then,

breathe again

into the night

the warm December air, a million streetlights like stars all along Arch Street.

National Poetry Month April 6

Here's one I wrote a while back, but perhaps not many have had the chance to read it.  Sometimes there is just one thing you want to say and it doesn't actually take a lot of words...

 

I have a soft
spot
somewhere 
around my heart 
that is carrying me along this morning
like a creek. 
Can you hear the water, 
somewhere to the left of the trail?  
meet me
there.

 

 

National Poetry Month April 5

Here's a new poem I've been working on.  I think it's ready to come out an play as it were.  It's probably still developing but sometimes you have to write it down and put it out there to see what it might need.

Baseball Radio

Baseball radio

skipping across the thick summer night sky

transistor voices

painting soundscapes in dreams

gathering in a plastic dream catchers with antennas reaching to the stars

There is a static and crackle, the sound of the air itself

that fills the beautiful moments in between

the pause between pitches

when the patterns of voices and noises weave together in a blanket of sound

the bat crack,

the glove smack,

the long ball crowd roar

a tapestry of sound rising and falling like waves on the sea.

And in that aural landscape

in the slow, spacious story telling

memories, like fossils revealed breathe the summer air and live again.

Somewhere Willie is stalking the fly ball from the bat of Vic Wertz,

and somewhere Roberto is firing a cannon shot from right field to nail an

over-confident runner on the way to second,

somewhere Babe is still on deck  and the game is still within our grasp

and autumn and winter are a million miles away.

National Poetry Month April 4

The Morning Mountains

 

The morning mountains

lifting soft shadows

to the sky

as sunrise

pulls back the cover of darkness

and what is

ever changing

and what is

eternal

and what is

newly born

and what seems to be

hidden

is waiting

is changing

is forever

and I

watching

remember and

discover

what is

ever changing

and what is

eternal

and what is

newly born

and what is

earth

and what is

sky

and what is

now and forever

and what I am

National Poetry Month April 3

Bicycle

 

Shadows

Circles

Rolling large

On grey pavement

 

My own shadow

Stretching beyond

My bicycle

 

Pulsing

With each

Circle move

Of the pedals

I am riding through orange

Allowing myself to be covered with

Sunlight

Not long for this world

 

While dust settles on the fields

Where I just was

And always may be

Dust and sunlight settling

Over faint shadows

With their eye

Ever on the ball

 

And shadows

Circles

Rolling large

Carry something

Like dreaming

Like wishing

Like memory

Somewhere

To where I am

Where I may ever be

Keeping my eye on the ball

Following through

Following the dust and sunlight

In

Circles

Shadows

Rolling on.

National Poetry Month April 2

A Song for my Mother

 

My mother sang

My mother sang easy for herself

In the kitchen, in the car, in the garden

My mother sang.

Hymns, Blues, Jazz, Swing, Rock and Roll and Folk

All these my mother sang easy for herself.

“How Great Thou Art”

“Mrs. Robinson”

“Side by Side”

“Goodnight Irene”

this might be her idea of an afternoon concert

it didn’t matter if she knew all the words

one line was all she needed when Mama sang

easy for herself.

in the morning

mid-day

midnight hour my mother sang.

Words and the sounds of words

Rolling, tumbling, falling

Like a Pennsylvania mountain stream.

Words and the sounds of words

My mother sang.

Melodies like leaves on the wind

That whistled down our long valley.

Songs just came to her

When she wasn’t even thinking of singing

In the kitchen, in the car, in the garden

That how it was when My mother sang easy.

 

My mother sang serious in the church choir

Where she was the director

Who tried to direct me.

There is a proper way to sing she said

And she tried to teach me

The kind of singing

Where one note is right and another one is wrong.

This kind of singing where you are a tenor

And you sing with the tenors in the tenor section

And you not a baritone or bass

And don’t even think about soprano.

That’s what she said.

Songs that started and stopped on schedule.

That’s what she said

My mother when she sang serious.

 

When My mother sang serious

She laid those songs down end to end

On a narrow groove

A straight line highway to the horizon.

 

When My mother sang easy on her own

She wove a quilt full of songs

That spread out in all directions.

“What a Friend We Have In Jesus”

“I want to hold your Hand”

“Pennsylvania 6-5000”

and “Rock Island Line”

 

When My mother, the choir director

Tried to teach me proper singing

She tried to teach me with what she said

With clearly outlined parts

To be learned and reproduced.

 

When My mother sang easy on her own

She taught me with how she lived

And she covered me with a feeling of sound.

Sounds that covered me

The way the ocean wraps around you

When you dive into an oncoming wave.

 

When she tried to teach me with what she said

It was only words

And they blew away

Like seeds scattered on Chimney Rock

On the side of the Alleghenies.


 

 

I learned from how she lived

I learned from the sounds,

The songs that filled our house.

I absorbed those sounds into my skin

And they stayed.

When My mother sang easy on her own

That’s when I learned.

Not from what she said

But from how she lived.

And my life is filled with songs

That come to visit like old friends

Who drop by in the afternoon

And then decide to stay the night.

Songs and sounds and feelings

That return like waves on the ocean.

Waves that whisper

Waves that shout

Like My mother when she sang

When she taught me with her life

Singing easy

Like My mother singing easy

Like My mother singing

My mother singing

Only now

Her voice in mine

Endless like the ocean.

 

National Poetry Month April 1

During National Poetry Month I'll post a poem a day.  These are mostly older poems of mine but there will be some new ones as well I promise.  Since today is also the beginning of the Colorado Rockies baseball season I've chosen this one:

 

This is the Moment

 

There were at least a thousand different moments that day

August 13th 1971, my thirteenth birthday.

It’s not the long line of baseball fans

on a hot afternoon

winding their way up the ramps

circling Three Rivers Stadium like a python preparing for dinner.

It’s not the grey concrete walkway

speckled and spattered with

chewing gum

cigarette butts

beer stains

and something that might have been food.

Not even the sudden rush of fans pushing together

as the clubhouse door swung open

and like baseball cards come to life,

two Pirates emerged to sign autographs.

It might have been the face

of Roberto Clemente

granite features

with blazing eyes that met my own for an eternal moment

but then

maybe not even that.

It was, however,

the feeling of my feet leaving the floor

and my father’s hands

as he lifted me above the crowd

and his voice

younger than I had ever heard

saying

“There he is!, the great one!”

That was the moment.

That is the moment.

Free Speech

There's been a lot of press lately about the Supreme Court decision regarding the efforts of the Westboro Baptist Church to share their beliefs with the rest of the world whether they want to hear them or not.  As much as I cringe every time I see them in the news I have to agree with the court, free speech has to be open to all regardless of who finds the speech offensive.  What I find interesting, and perhaps more troubling is that every story I read in the mainstream press describes the group as a fanatical cult, a fringe element who's opinions are repulsive to just about everyone.  One article I read recently made mention of the "ridiculous idea that someone could speak for God or could know God's thoughts."  Perhaps for a lot of people that would seem absurd but it strikes me as very close to the opinions held by thousands of fundamentalist Christians in our society.  It was only ten years ago that Jerry Falwell went on TV to say that the attacks of September 11th were due to America's acceptance of gays.  Doesn't sound that different than Pastor Phelps.  Pat Robertson, another evangelist with a large audience echoed those statements.  Spend some time in a fundamentalist church and I'll wager you'll hear plenty of ideas presented as coming directly from God via the pastor.  The world is filled with what we teachers like to call "teachable moments" I think this is just such a moment.  The thought I'd like you to consider is this; just how far away is the position of Westboro from many of the comments you hear on TV and radio daily.  How many steps would it take for some people who might say they disagree with the tactics of Pastor Phelps and family to join him.  How many people, if asked, might agree with the premise of Phelps' opinion that "God hates fags" but choose not to employ his street theater?  This might be a good time to ask ourselves which side we're standing on.

videos

I've uploaded several recent videos to my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/kgslick50?feature=mhum You'll find several new videos of recent songs plus some videos from my days in Neo Pseudo. I hope to have more videos soon.

For What It's Worth

I'm pretty sure my opinion on the current political landscape will not make any headlines beyond this website but for what it's worth I think what I'm hearing from President Obama via interviews and statements in the press is among the wisest thoughts I've heard from a politician in sometime. I would call the current Republicans from the far right "hostage takers". When a minority holds up legislation that benefits the many in order to obtain rewards for the few, what else would you call it? By the same token, the swaggering, defiant stand that you don't make deals with hostage takers sounds a lot like the unilateral language of the previous administration that created much of the current problems. Sometimes hostages get hurt or killed. Of course that doesn't happen on the hyped up crime dramas on TV which seems to be where many people are getting their version of reality these days. Sometimes you make a deal and you compromise. When did the compromise become a dirty word? I remember when I worked in radio and would get all kinds of advice about programing. People would earnestly tell me that "all their friends" love this song or show or whatever. I would try to share that "all their friends" put together made up about a tiny fraction of the listening audience. In fact, I'd say that my days in broadcasting were a great learning experience. Not everyone likes or wants exactly the same thing and yet you can provide a product that satisfies a large portion of the population. The editorial page of your favorite news outlet isn't sacred text, it's an opinion. Your opinion or mine is one part of the greater whole. And I don't say "It's JUST a part of the greater whole", that would minimize the value. Our opinions and beliefs are vital to the big picture, we ARE the big picture but that picture isn't going to look like only one persons vision. Could the President get a better deal from the hostage takers? perhaps but time and history don't stop when a deal is made. Compromise, in my opinion, moves you forward to the next opportunity. The swaggering tough guy from crime fiction who makes no deals is sometimes left standing all alone at the end of the day with nothing to show for the bravado. I'd rather be walking forward.

Nobody's Talkin' With Me

I listen to the world around me and I hear lots of people talking but it's just voices in the wind. I hear very few conversations and a lot more accusations. I have strong feelings about the laws and policies being shouted about in congress and I really believe in the positions I hold. I expect our hired help in Washington does as well, but I would dearly love to hear more listening and thinking than just shouting.

October

To celebrate the month of October I've posted three traditional songs about the supernatural. You can hear them at http://www.myspace.com/kevinslick

A lot to Think About

Here are two blogs that I've begun since the start of the school year that you might enjoy checking out. The first one is for my classroom (teaching fourth grade this year) and will give you some idea about what 4th graders in Colorado are talking about. It can be found at: http://blogs.stvrain.k12.co.us/kgslick The second one is a blog focused primarily on larger issues in education and society at can be found at: http://kevinslick.blogspot.com I hope you'll visit these sites and make some comments, I'd love to hear what you're thinking... and love to know that you are thinking!

Random Images from an Unmarked Box

I've completed my latest album entitled "Random Images from an Unmarked Box" I thought the title was appropriate because I was working from scraps of lyrics and musical ideas, improvising and putting them together, often without a clear idea of how they would come out. I tried out some things that just didn't seem to work so they were put away for another time. If I improvised something that felt like it worked then I would add a few other instruments, yes, I'm playing everything again on this album. I was greatly inspired by the early recordings of artists like Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, or Bob Dylan were you would generally have guitar and vocals with maybe another guitar or piano but no big productions. I also kept the album to...well, album length. While I appreciate the amount of music you can cram onto a CD I love that you can listen to an album like "Tea for the Tillerman" in one setting and take it all in, so this new one is only 31 minutes. For now you can hear all the tracks at http://www.myspace.com/kevinslick It will soon be available in physical form from CDBaby and through all the outlets like iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.

New Songs

I've been working on recording some new material and you can hear it on my Myspace page at: http://www.myspace.com/kevinslick I had a pile of song notes and unfinished works so I just took out the scraps of ideas and began to improvise, recording whatever I came up with. I added a few overdubs, or more than a few in the case of "Dancer's Eyes" but otherwise tried to keep things simple and hold on to the feel of improvised music. I plan to keep recording like this through the summer. I welcome any feedback as the songs are kind of works in progress.

To finish the unfinished if it is ever finished

I have started recording some new old songs this past week. I had several songs in notebooks that were mostly fragments of ideas. Some actually had music written down but mostly they were just sketches. For several years I thought I would make an album of one or the other groups of these songs, all the break up songs, all the songs about love, all the songs about whatever and there never seemed to be enough of any one subject. So this week I began turning on the mics and having a go at whatever page I opened up to, if there were only a few words I either just sang them or made up more. I recorded first takes pretty much and then began overdubbing in small doses. I've been re-inspired by many of the albums I listened to twenty and thirty years ago that featured vocals and guitar with perhaps a bass or second guitar added in. I'm aiming for that kind of sound, also a spontaneous feel that hopefully will come with the highly improvised style I've been working with. I expect to have several songs ready for listening within the month and more available by summer's end.

My heart is in the mountains

I just read this statement from the president of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 1000, my local in the musician's union. I am a member of two unions, as a musician and as a teacher. Many of my ancestors were coal miners who were fortunate enough to have benefitted from being union miners. I am saddened by the news from West Virginia when it appears that people who provide such a vital service to our country are working in unsafe conditions and that the hard fought labor battles of the past need to fought again. Here's the statement from AFM Local 1000, it expresses my feelings exactly. "On behalf of the membership of American Federation of Musicians Local 1000, I want to extend our condolences to the families of the miners lost in the disaster at the Upper Big Branch Mine (UBB) in Montcoal, West Virginia. The twenty-five miners who lost their lives, the four still missing, their families, and their entire community are in our prayers and in our thoughts. But condolences are not nearly enough of a response to this preventable tragedy. Men and women working in twenty-first century America should not have to worry that there is no recourse for their concerns about workplace safety. For years the Upper Big Branch Mine and its owner, Massey Energy Company, have been cited for numerous violations, especially for high levels of methane and coal dust, the frequent cause of the kinds of explosions that occurred this Monday at UBB. Even in news reports today surviving UBB miners asked for anonymity when relating past safety concerns for fear of losing their jobs. Non-union miners have no protection in such matters. And non-union mines have no leverage for pressing for the safety of those who mine our coal. To put this into perspective, the miners who died at the Sago, WV mine in January 2006 were working in a non-union mine on a federal holiday. There wasn’t a union miner in America working that day until they reported for the rescue team at Sago. Nor are words or outrage a sufficient response to West Virginia’s latest sorrow. We at Local 1000 pledge our membership in support of organizing drives in our nation’s coalfields. We will be there both in spirit and in person to walk the lines, to play at the rallies, and to support our sisters and brothers in their efforts to save their families, save their jobs, and, as has been proven to be literally the case, save their lives. We call on all our brothers and sisters in the American Federation of Musicians, all union members across this great nation, and all people of good will to pledge the same. We can help prevent future disasters by helping workers organize and win the kind of protection only unions can give working people. It’s been proven that the companies won’t do it. It’s been proven the government can’t do it. And history has proven that we can do it. Solidarity Forever! John McCutcheon President, AFM Local 1000"

words and new sounds

I had a goal this year of being published in at least three different magazines and with the new issue of Scary Monsters I've reached third base. Here's the link to the new issue: http://www.scarymonstersmag.com/ I wrote an article about filmmaker Kevin Corcoran (a member of the Ultra Secret Society of Those Named Kevin) I've been in the studio as well creating tracks for the next Robyn Hitchcok tribute album Glass Flesh Volume Four. You can hear what I've done so far at my Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/kevinslick Looking ahead to the summer already I'll be playing at the Monster Bash Film Convention once again, this year doing my "Moon Suite" to accompany "A Trip To The Moon" and we've already laid plans for a return engagement of "Nosferatu" for 2011. Of all the film scores I've done "Nosferatu" is by far my favorite one to play and listen to. I have a show of some recent paintings up at the school where I work so this is a pretty productive time creativity wise. It never seems to be enough though, and I'm sure more is on the way. I have plans for at least two new albums by the end of summer and considering it's been six years since "Dust Tracks on the Road" it's about time I think.

Making Sounds

It feels like forever since I was recording, and I guess the time wasn't right until now. The last album I did was "Dust Tracks in the Road" way back in 2004. Big Sky Radio began working on some tracks this past fall and maybe that jump started the process again. Whatever it is, I've been recording once again and the latest results are on my MySpace page at: http://www.myspace.com/kevinslick there you'll hear four new recordings of songs I did for Glass Flesh Volume Four, the latest Robyn Hitchcock tribute album. I don't know if they'll use all the songs, but you can hear them now. I expect more tunes (of my own making) will be coming along soon.

I know the sun is waiting to shine.

It's been a while since my last update so I hope you're doing well in the world. Here's what I'm up to; I've been recording tunes for the next edition of Glass Flesh. This is the series of Robyn Hitchcock tribute albums that have been coming out for years now. I did a few tunes on earlier releases as well. If you do a search under Glass Flesh I think you can listen to some of the previous releases. I have some recent recordings available for listening on my Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/kevinslick Many of these are in the rough mix stage, fans of Neo Pseudo may be interested in hearing some old favorites like Whistling Eyes again. For the most part, the recordings on Myspace that sound like a whole band playing are indeed a whole band - Big Sky Radio. This is myself, Michelle Allen and Jay Allen playing and singing. The other tracks are solo banjo pieces. Speaking of Neo Pseudo you can find all available CDs at this address - http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/NeoPseudo My solo recordings are available through just about any download place like iTunes or you can download as well as buy actual CDs from http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/kevinslick I've been working on music for another one of Brian Nichol's movies, this one entitled "The Mummy in the Maze" which will be shown at this year's Monster Bash in June. The images I've seen look excellent, it should be a great homage to classic horror films and just a lot of fun. I've also been doing some writing. New songs, poems and articles for several magazines. I have two longer articles in the new issue of Monster Bash #10, you can find it here http://www.creepyclassics.com/product.sc?productId=3837&categoryId=46 I also participated in a documentary film about the Monster Bash film convention. You'll see me waxing poetic about monsters and classic films, plus my music is used extensively throughout the film (You'll hear the opening riff of my song "Night Radio" about 50 times!) You can get it here http://www.creepyclassics.com/product.sc?productId=4012&categoryId=6 After two sunny, fairly warm days in a row I'm willing to believe spring may be coming. Have a wonderful day and drop me a line sometime to say what you're up to.

Goodbye City Lights

I just heard that CIty Lights record store in State College, PA will be closing soon. I spent a lot of time in that store checking out albums (yes, the vinyl kind), tapes, CDs, books and magazines. Greg, the owner of the shop, was like a master of ceremonies as he presided over the scene. He could direct you towards music you were bound to like because he knew your tastes in recordings. It was like the human version of the "People who bought... also like" links that appear when you buy online. I suppose buying online is one of the reasons why City Lights and numerous other independent record stores are closing their doors. I miss the good old days of going down to CIty Lights and hanging out, but I am not completely nostalgic about those times. These days there is so much more music available to the average consumer. Long ago I used to read about a release and spend weeks or months trying to track down a copy. I did find other great stuff in libraries and enjoyed trips to larger cities to search in bigger stores but overall it was just more work. I know that many artists who work in niche genres are able to sell much more music now online. I used to sell my indie releases at City Lights and now they sell all over the world on iTunes and other online download shops. So overall, there is much that has improved for musicians as well as fans. So what do I miss? I miss the human interaction. More often than not I'd not buy anything at the record shop, but would hang out and talk music with Greg or any number of other patrons who were in the shop. I miss seeing bands play live, being able to sit two feet away from Greg Ginn flailing away on his guitar was amazing. I think that online retailing of music has many more benefits for the fan and the creator of the music but it misses the human interaction and connection. Maybe the future will bring coffeehouses or listening centers that are primarily for gathering with other fans of recorded sound. I don't feel bad about buying a CD from a band on it's website, but I miss having a great place to hang out.

On The Air

I'm back on the air. In case you didn't know I worked in radio for about ten years on the air and as a writer and producer. I grew up listening to the radio in the 1960s and 70s. I would sleep out in my treehouse on summer nights and listen to the magic sounds drifting in through the two inch speaker on my radio with the antenna pointed to the stars. Cousin Brucie would speak to me from New York City, I'd hear the sound of Philly Soul on WFIL, CKYW would come in all the way from Canada. There was the "Groovology" show on the local station WMAJ, not to mention the wonderful sound of baseball games on radio. Even today, the sound of a crowd in the background and the slow measured cadance of an announcer describing the pitcher's preperation for the next pitch is one of the most beautiful sounds I know. And yet, as much as I loved the experience I don't recall that it was a dream of mine to be on the air. I was probably more interested in being a rock and roll guitar player (which I also got to do as a full time job for several years) I stumbled into radio actually. My friend Ron Adams was already working for radio stations in State College, PA, my hometown and he eventually pulled me into doing commercials or small bits on the air reading the weather etc. Soon after that, with art teaching jobs in short supply, I found myself working full time on the air. My last regular broadcast was in 1991 and while I've missed the excitement of the medium, I haven't missed the stressful, uncreative world that radio was becoming even in my last days on the air. Fast forward to 2009, the same Ron Adams now owns a station in the lovely, small town of Ligonier PA and since it's automated, or pre-recorded it means that I can "do" a show even from my home in Colorado. A good microphone, digital recording and the internet are all that's needed. So tune me in sometime on AM 1620 in the Laurel Valley of Pennsylvania or at www.ligonierradio.com on the internet 12 midnight to 5am Eastern Time Mondays through Fridays.

New Band Name

When in the course of human music making it becomes necessary to seperate a band from the name it has previous used etc. You know how it goes. For over a year now I've played with two other musicians as the Slick Allen Trio, three people - trio, everyone's last name was either Slick or Allen, made sense, but also sounded too much like a jazz trio to me so we've changed our name to Big Sky Radio. Well, what does Big Sky Radio sound like? I'd love to know. For now you can find us at www.myspace.com/bigskyradio and on Facebook as well. I'm still here and if you're here that means you've found me.

End of Summer and I remember

Les Paul died on my birthday this year. I think I may have seen him on my birthday once. When I lived in New York I went over to the Iridium Jazz Club to see him many nights. I wonder if he kept the drawings I did of him. One night I was drawing during the show and afterwards he asked for a couple of the sketches. My birthday is a good time for me to think about time and how we move through the years. Perhaps it was this nostalgic mood that had me re-listen to my cover versions of songs by the well known and loved State College, PA band Cartoon. I posted them on my page at MySpace - www.myspace.com/kevinslick so you can have a listen if you like. The crickets are singing outside the window tonight, the air is still and warm, the last rays of sun have gone behind the mountains to seek the farthest shore to the west ... "As far as Selidor" now that reminds me ...

summertime

It's summer and I've been spending most days tossing the wiffle ball, throwing the frisbee or helping my son learn how to ride a two wheeler. When not doing that I've been working on movie music - This year's silent film is The Magician, which will have it's premier in June at The Monster Bash. I've done music for two short indie films, one a documentary, the other a 50's sci-fi spoof called "Attack of the 50 ft Ghoul Girl". There's also the new Lon Chaney double feature - Outside The Law and The Trap from oldies.com featuring my music. The Slick Allen Trio continues to spin our folky music around the front range and at least two of us are going east this summer to play some shows. You can find out more about the band at www.myspace.com/slickallen trio. One of the most meaningful works I've taken on this summer has been writing a memorial or requiem for Forrest Ackerman. This will be premiered in June. I used sound bites from an interview I conducted with Mr. Sci-Fi and then used the music to express what the words could not. I hope you're having a wonderful summertime, drop me a line - come on out to a show, have a good time!

New DVD

My latest film score for a classic silent film is out now on DVD. Here's the link: http://www.oldies.com/product-view/5800D.html It's a double feature with Lon Chaney - Outside The Law, directed by Tod Browning and a rare Chaney film The Trap which paired Chaney with Irving Thalberg plotting the film. The Trap is short, very little of the film remains but they did a great job restoring the film. the Trap is also interesting in that it's Chaney's most stage-like acting on film and one of his rare flops at the box office. Still you can see elements he would bring back in later films.

Earth Day

More words of wisdom from kindergarten. After talking about Earth Day and what we can do, one boy said "Wow, Earth Day is really a hard day". When I asked why he said "We've got to take care of the whole planet!"

What's new? everything

Springtime in the Rockies! The weather changes every few minutes, sunshine and seventy degrees followed by two feet of snow. Reminds me of the story where a king asked his wise men to boil down all the world's wisdom to one sentence and their response was "This too shall pass." The story goes on to say he next asked them to condense all the world's wisdom to one word. After a few years work they returned, the word was "Maybe"

Wasn't That A Time?

I couldn't begin to tell you all the times I cried today. Seeing Barack Obama hug John Lewis on the steps of the capital, hearing Aretha sing, listening to the soaring melody of "Simple Gifts", hearing the thoughtful, soulful, heartfelt words of change, seeing the ocean of beautiful humanity that stretched across the mall and truly transformed the city and made a people's history. That's only some of the moments I'll remember and cherish. But alone in my car tonight driving home after watching the replay with friends I was listening to Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes singing "Wake Up Everybody" and I was so filled with joy I just started shouting and crying and singing. The words of the song where like dynamite exploding a dam inside me that held back joy, hope and faith in the future. Isn't this a Time? Isn't this a wonderful time?

All Colors

Today as I thought about Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday 80 years ago today I recalled the words the words of Abraham Lincoln when, at Gettysburg, he talked about it being up to us to carry on the great work that others had begun. Later in the morning at work as I talked with kids about King's message we were coloring pictures of him. One child said "I'm going to color him all colors because I think he'd like that". And I thought so too.

Changing

And so it's time to change the calendar once again, one year gone and another one on the way. I've added some new sites to the links page on this website mostly related to my current group The Slick Allen Trio. I hope you're all having a lovely holiday time. The sun is shinning here on the snow capped Rockies and my banjo is standing nearby. Happy New Year and I look forward to hearing from you, whoever and wherever you are, soon. -Kevin

Thanksgiving

This year I am thankful for my family and friends and for the courage, wisdom and vision our country has shown. Today I read once again what I consider to be the greatest speech in American history. It perfectly expresses not only what and who we have been, but what and who we can be. I invite you to read it along with me: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. I am thankful for all of you who will be part of this great work. Happy Thanksgiving

Mysterious Music

Here's some of the best post election writing I've seen so far from William Greider: "Against all odds, he persuaded a majority of Americans to believe in their own better natures and, by electing him, the people helped make it true. There is mysterious music in democracy when people decide to believe in themselves. " It's a beautiful day.

A Toast to the Future

Tonight I raised a glass to toast the election of Barack Obama. As I did this, I thought of Paul Robeson, Studs Terkel, Woody Guthrie, Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Marian Anderson and so many others who built this victory with their hard work and their dreams in the past. This is a great day to be alive, a great day to be an American.

Let's Win One for Studs

This past week we lost a great American treasure, the writer Studs Terkel. In his amazing life he wove the tales of everyday people into an incredible tapestry of Americana. Perhaps his greatest skill and one we could all aspire to was listening. He was a great listener. As an interviewer he spent most of the time listening and his probing, inspiring questions came from a reflective place rather than from an agenda. Studs Terkel was and is one of my mentors and he was following the election with great interest. So tonight as I watch the returns that hopefully will show Barack Obama winning the election I'll be smiling thinking of Studs and how he never gave up, always kept believing, always listening.

Playing For Change

I just watched the most uplifting and beautiful segment on Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. Here's the link so you can sing and hope along: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10242008/watch3.html

Leaf Kickin'

Yesterday Jamie and I took our first leaf kicking walk of autumn. I love that. What more do I need?

Do Your Part!

Okay, here's the assignment - Do your part to annoy Sarah Pallin... read a book! and if you really want to piss her off, think about it, maybe even talk about it with friends! It occurs to me that nothing is more scary to the extreme right wing nuts than people thinking. Think on!

Neo Pseudo on YouTube

For those of you who remember the band Neo Pseudo from those long ago days of the early 1990's in Philadelphia and New York you can see a nifty little video of the band on YouTube that was originally produced as a demo in 1993. The web address is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfINrrNsxMk

Radical Acts

Today, for our nation's birthday, I'm wearing a shirt with a picture of the Constitution on the front. While I have nothing against red, white and blue I thought it was a better symbol to wear today. Our country was founded by people who were radicals in their day and if you go back and read the original documents would still be thought of as radical, possibly dangerous thinkers today. I'm wearing a shirt with the Constitution printed on the front which puts me at odds with the current administration who works daily to destroy that document. But rather than just saying I'm against the policies of the current (and thank God temporary) President I'd like to use the day to say what I support and the truths I hold to be self evident (to borrow a phrase from another document that could be re-read often)

Saint George

In my mind saints are not those guys in the Bible. Saints are those people who while on earth find ways to help us laugh at this world we live in. Saints point out how funny we are, they show us the beautiful, hilarious moments that are all around us. George Carlin was a saint if ever there was one. When I heard that he had died I said all seven words you can never say on television. Thank you George Carlin.

Talking with Jamie

My son Jamie is quite a good reader so it was no surprise to see him looking at the front page of a newspaper in the recycling basket. The article listed many of things George Bush has done since being in office. "Wow" said Jamie, "He sure is bad, what does he do?" I replied "He's President of the United States" "How can he be so bad and still be in charge of the country?" Jamie asked. What could I say? "The good news" I told him, "Is that we get to vote this year for a new President" "I know about voting" Jamie said, "In gym class we raise our hands for what game we want to play, voting is how you choose" Let's hope we choose wisely this time.

Jamie's Good Idea

While driving in the car today we were listening to Christmas music. During "Do You Hear What I Hear?" by Bing Crosby Jamie asked "Why is he shouting?" "Well, he's singing pray for peace, and that's an important idea so he wants everyone to hear it" I said. "Do you mean, like we should throw away all the guns and weapons?" Jamie asked. "Yes, that's the idea" I replied. He was silent for a while in the back seat (a sure sign that some kind of good question or thought is on the way) "I think it would be better to recycle the guns and weapons because there's a lot of metal there that could be used for something good" said Jamie. "That's a good idea" I replied. It was, and it is.

Thanksgiving

I was watching my son outside the Quaker Meeting House here in Boulder where we attend. He was running and laughing and then twisting, falling and rolling in the leaves that still carpeted the ground. It was one of those autumn days where the slightest hint of chill drifts in the air along side the still bright sunshine. Standing there on the edge of the Rocky Mountains I had a thought that there's nothing more beautiful than this, no place I'd rather be. I thought "Oh yeah, it's the little things that count, I am grateful for life's little blessings" But then I thought, "No, there really is nothing little about this" Sunshine, laughter, rolling in leaves, running crazy across the yard with friends, these are the big things in life! And I am grateful and thankful. I hope you find blessings surrounding you daily and your hearts glow with gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving.

Pride...

Reading the last journal entry reminds me of an old quote about pride. Let's see, it goeth before...the wall?, no, something small?, no, the mall? no that's not right. Oh well, the baseball season's not quite over yet, but I do hear a rather large woman warming up her vocal chords.

How 'bout them Rockies

Hope spring eternal, it's October in the Colorado and here on the front range I'm loving the Rockies. There's nothing like the sound of a baseball game on the radio, and oh yeah, we just keep winning...we may never loose again!

Re-Birthday Re-Visited

Many people have asked about the whole "Re-Birthday"thing so I thought a posting to that effect might be in order. I think it was a success, but what was it? For me, it was about being myself and celebrating that. The best expression of that happened on the week of my birthday at the Boulder Theatre. I was standing in the front row for Patti Smith Group. During the song "Gloria" Patti was singing on her knees in front of the monitors about six inches away from me, when it came time for the final line she looked up at me and offered the mic for me to sing along with her on "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine" Besides the fact that Patti Smith has been a mentor since I first heard that line as a teenager more than thirty years ago, it was the perfect line for stating who I am. Coming from a fundamentalist background, it was and still is a statement of identity. It was also a perfect way to affirm that I am my own person, "My sins belong to me" as the song says. My goal has been to learn to read my own feelings and express them clearly. Singing that line at the concert was a perfect way to celebrate. Like another great poet said " I celebrate myself"

The Voice

Five year old Jamie in the backseat of the car while listening to Pavarotti on the CD player: "I don't know what he's saying but he sure sings loud and good!" yes, indeed The voice lives forever

Jerry

I first heard that Jerru Garcia had died on this day eleven years ago on the radio. Joan Baez was on the World Cafe program and she said she was going to sing "Amazing Grace" for our dear departed friend. I've heard that Jerry had a smile on his face when he was found and that's a wonderful way to think of an old friend. Just the other day I watched the excellent DVD "Downhill from Here" which features some of the most smiling joyous playing and singing ever captured on film. Do yourself a favor, get a copy and smile your face off with Jerry.

Re-Birthday

My birthday is coming up...August 13th to be exact. I've been working through a lot of stuff, going through a lot of changes, trying to get clear about my life and where I want it to go. I've decided to claim my birthday as my "re-birthday" The chance to create a new direction with clarity and passion. And so I invite you to join me - go ahead and have your own re-birth on August 13, 2007. Spread the word! it's "Re-birthday"

Friends

I'm writing this from Pittsburgh PA. At the Monster Bash Film Convention. My luggage and instruments have been delayed and I may not be able to perform my new film scores. The good news is that so many people have offered to help in anyway they can and so I'm reminded that friends are good, indeed friendship is the lifeblood of living. Maybe not profound, but I'm grateful.

May Time

Well, the month of April is over, National Poetry Month. I didn't actually post a new piece of writing every day as I hoped to, but I did get quite a few pieces onto the web and overall I think it was worth it. I find I work better with an assignment, how about you? As a way to finish out that project - one last piece (another one about baseball and families) There were at least a thousand different moments that day August 13th 1971, my thirteenth birthday. It’s not the long line of baseball fans on a hot afternoon winding their way up the ramps circling Three Rivers Stadium like a python preparing for dinner. It’s not the grey concrete walkway speckled and spattered with chewing gum cigarette butts beer stains and something that might have been food. Not even the sudden rush of fans pushing together as the clubhouse door swung open and like baseball cards come to life, two Pirates emerged to sign autographs. It might have been the face of Roberto Clemente granite features with blazing eyes that met my own for an eternal moment but then maybe not even that. It was, however, the feeling of my feet leaving the floor and my father’s hands as he lifted me above the crowd and his voice younger than I had ever heard saying “There he is!, the great one!” That was the moment. That is the moment.

Stand

In the shadow of a pine I rest my eyes, rest my soul inside you where you may save my soul like a treasure. In the sparkle of light in winter like lace draped upon pines I wander and follow the pattern to the brilliant grey, white overhead where the black ink branches fade and disappear. Stand for a moment stand for a dreaming moment to feel the earth to make the earth solid beneath me around me to surround me.

moments

In this moment a quiet word falls from the edge of the sky like love or dreams or awaken and what is beneath that sound and what is inside the word is something like a picture of a flying bird one moment in eternity one wave on the sea

Forever Wind

This bright wind, that’s how it is. This quick, cold air yes, that’s how it is. As if that small patch of trees might grow out of my memories and fill the world around me, that’s how it is. Pennsylvania brown, grey-green thin winter branches twisting wrapping a universe in their arms that’s the way just like that. And I would be forever walking quietly through those woods lightfoot mysterious walker through the trees where no one can hear me as I am invisible that’s how it is yes, it’s just that way as the bright wind weaves itself into grey cloudy forests deep in the afternoon as that bright grey wind follows me in the forever afternoon and I find myself searching for this forever afternoon in that stillness between day and night In between time when I practiced walking quiet and invisible listening forever

Writing about baseball and family

The ink is fading after years in the light but it’s still there still visible still “Mateo Alou” ball point pen on baseball and I am still there hanging onto the side of the team bus, looking through the window still there my father holding me up for a better view of my hero signing my birthday baseball still there in the brilliant August sunlight never fading

Ashes

I looked outside my window November sunrise sharply painting the air clear and bright. The wind walks, doesn’t run through the yard. It opens and folds itself into the growing forest. There are more leaves on the ground than on the trees and so that fluttering dance is rare each one is spotlighted in the autumn air a dried soul dance riding the faint touch of wind into eternity joining the song of the earth the slow dreaming song of decay and merging to melt into the ground to spin inside the earth speaking the language of ground the dreaming of oceans wrapping around the earth and one leaf merging into the earth one leaf one earth the same. It was eighty five years ago today that Joe Hill died killed by his brothers murdered by his country. His ashes floated on a slight autumn breeze through most every country in the world and every state in the union save one (Where no man should be found dead, said he) One man merging with the good earth air and sky of a thousand countries of a million dreams one earth one man the same his words moving beyond the ashes of his used up form growing, now planted solid and slow in the endless circle of life born and reborn growing one leaf, endless one dream, slowly growing always Joe Hill planted on the wind that covers the earth His eyes looking back from a million fellow travelers.

After seeing Patti Smith in Philadelphia

Patti at the Troc 12/16 Winter warm air, rain that should be snow wanders along Arch Street gathering light and laying it across the pavement/ Slow breathing, vibrating air filling the cavern space. Gathering moving swirling, the air wraps a slow dance around a heartbeat. Many hearts one heartbeat. Gathering darkness, look inside. Stillness erupts into life. Spirits called, spirits answer and gather themselves inside us, dancing to the heartbeat, slow enough to wander lonesome. Lonesome cry, the blessed dust rising from ancient radios. One foot forward, balanced on the bridge, this bridge we cross tonight. Strong enough? Invisible bridge, crossing spirits, gathering passion, sonic harvest, the fields are heavy as wind brings release. Running walking calling spirits, we shall live again! Holy ghost sweating, breathing hard call on those holy fighting ghosts revolutionary dreamers dancing barefoot to the slow rising wave one wave a million waves rise and fall night and day and lovers gripped by slow burning, consuming lust, hot fire, sonic lust, the sound of life the hot pulse of night passion quick torrent split second passion burn Catch me now! Take me now! Look fast! A million brilliant stars calling home the storm holding the hurricane in your arms air surrounding air inside us breathing hard pulsing moving us together fountains rising lightning storms from the desert flash the city walking in the footsteps of revolution Hallelujah! The gospel ship sets sail and we whirl and dance in our power amazed at the visions amazed at the power we create and share and then, breathe again into the night the warm December air, a million streetlights like stars

Thanksgiving

There is a slow thick sky today a slow soft dark grey light on Thanksgiving morning I came home to watch the silken sky open around trees kept company by a few stubborn leaves, now rich brown like old leather. I came home for this slow moving daylight that will wait outside my window quietly lighting the room with a grey light, a slow light, a dream light. And in that soft light I’ll take down books from the shelves and read words I’ve read a million times and want to read a million more. And in the evening the sharp black lines of trees will begin to sink into the sky as it looses it’s day color and fades away. The woods will be swallowed in steps too small to measure and the trees in the front yard will disappear and someone will say “Another day gone” and that’s why I came home, for another day. For time passing for slow thick skies that move through branches on trees I’ve seen a million times and want to see a million more.

There Was A Sound

There was this sound and I don’t know if you heard it but it came from somewhere close by and it sounded like the voice of a friend and yet there was something new and different and strange yes, strange enough to make you stop strange enough to make me stop and listen and the sound was awake or perhaps the sound of awakening and I don’t know if you heard it, but I’m telling you this because I want to remember that sound and I want breathe that sound because my heartbeat has found a partner in that sound.

quiet night

too many and so many thoughts carry me away too many and so many words hold my heart captive and yet so many dreams blossom quietly like the trees just beyond this window and if only I would stop for a moment to look at them and breathe

Morning Mountains

The morning mountains lifting soft shadows to the sky as sunrise pulls back the cover of darkness and what is ever changing and what is eternal and what is newly born and what seems to be hidden is waiting is changing is forever and I watching remember and discover what is ever changing and what is eternal and what is newly born and what is earth and what is sky and what is now and forever and what I am

Desert Song

Desert song The notes are so slow they enter in dreams only and I listen through my fingers The rhythm of the ground sifting between my hands I am listening with my skin to the cool touch of shadow in a deep canyon Desert song like waves of sound riding the stone ridge of the San Rafael Swell Desert song an echo a counter rhythm for my heartbeat in that place where my footprints disappear I listen for the harmony I taste the melody in the air In this place I hear my sound join the slow, ancient sound I am one string on a violin In that moment I am one note in a symphony In that moment I am the most important sound in the universe In that moment I am one sound in a thousand others merging, invisible, in a slowly changing chord a wave like any other so beautiful on the sea perfect fleeting eternal Desert song

Writing About the Air

For the Flying of Kites on October Days The air is tight clear brittle like glass wrapping the earth sunlight sparkles separating shattering on impact crystal leaves reflect a million colors startling clear and brilliant limbs release their handful of jewels rubies amethyst flaming diamonds scattered and throwing a million strands of light across the land The sky begins to open as trees spread bare branches This is the season of the sky the rich earth dissolves into air we circle the earth with bare branches open the sky and follow the wind for a moment like a brief dream before sleep for a quiet afternoon where we ride the wind into the day sky balancing between seasons before the sky swallows the last days of autumn for now, stillness balance and the flying of kites on October days

In this Moment

In this moment I expand- open As Some part of me dreams some part of you touches my heart becomes sky, vast horizon As Some part of you flows Some part of me wakes As Stones in the river Over ages grow smooth I am softened in a moment holding you

Your body

Your body is so new Where did you find it? Like pilgrims before the crossing Like settlers on the edge of freedom Dreamers on the edge of night On the morning of discovery On the crest of a wave The moment before changing Falling Flying Becoming something new And It’s morning in the new world A Precious jewel given to me Held in my hands You

A Silly Piece of Poetry

I was in a bookstore when… Godfly yo blingo bo teddy fry not slabber ah wet-lee go dingo and bil-bee in tatters. Cron tingle the soft spoon elastic in spatters see-bart doe fingers ripen the singers tee-blex that lingers and harbor the goat Tay-beeps! Tay-beeps! The shore is not swingle apoot-vents go flavel a donkey plays bingo Ooh border gap nan-tooth your wingle unhitching my wandering snip nose unfloundered while pitching Yet gingles do platter and rake the small tweed not won-ton on butter or the foot of Sam Snead So stand fully bothered and pink the green pine For I have found a book finally about the artist Franz Kline

Moment of Change

Moment of Change I’m always looking for the moment of change, the moment when change begins. The crest of a wave, the edge of winter, the break of day. There is a powerful stillness on the edge, a powerful silence too. The moment of flight, hanging in the balance. There’s a moment before falling when you fly, when gravity forgets you. A powerful still moment, the moment of change. This is when we slip inside time. When we open time like a curtain and crawl inside, in between seconds, in between time. There are words underneath your skin, breathing underneath your skin, waiting for the moment and changing. Constantly changing. With each breath, the air changes around us. The sky becomes fuller, the air around us ripples and changes. This is the time for faith, when the balance tilts and change begins. Pure energy released and moving the world. But in that moment there is only silence and stillness. Pure stillness,. Pure silence, the power of the universe waiting in the falling of a leaf.

Today's Journal Entry

Autumn 1 Slow and suddenly autumn eternal and quick as lightning slow aging wood releases color sparkling light of aspens flickering descending earth accepting the final warm caresses of it’s lover sunlight yellow warm soft light soon that turns cold with brittle grey fingers as winter will hold the ground

poetry month begins early this year

i remember a few years ago when I was meeting with a group of creative folks we gave ourselves the assignment to create something new each day. This year I'm going to try to post a new piece of writing per day from now until the end of April. For those of you who don't teach writing you may not know that April is national poetry month...but it is. So here's my first entry. Now a disclaimer -I'm either editing something from a journal, or creating something new. So I'm not attempting to write a new piece every day. I'm using this as a prompt to get more of my writing out into the world. So here goes- Southern Utah Journal This is my cathedral Wide Beautiful Wild This is my dream land visited by spirit gods long gone and yet to be There is no time No passing of time There is only a sound and no sound in this land, silence is a sound in this land there is stillness and power in this land the patterns of sky and rock are joined forever My eyes walk high ridges cutting through ageless stone my eyes walk with the older spirits and we follow the same patterns of rising stars of rock edges against sky My cathedral god mountains rising saints and angles towering watching My cathedral beyond dreams only in dreams There is no time time has been laid aside forgotten by these solid living gods who spread dreams across the ages one slow life dream one slow word spoken forever

Hey, I saw a great movie!

Hello everyone, Here's a film you might want to see. "The Cracked Man" by writer/film maker Kevin Corcoran. you can find out more at thecrackedman.com I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy your humor on the dark side. On the light side, I've been enjoying the music of Bill Douglas lately, "Homeland" and "Deep Peace" are two CDs I'd suggest for some early springtime listening.

I think I can see spring coming

This winter has been the perfect exmple of "be careful what you wish for" Here in the Rockies we've had a White Christmas, White New Year, White MLK Day, White Groundhog Day and it looks like a White Valentines day as well. A little hard on driving but in my opinion beautiful enough to take my breath away almost daily. I'm feeling quite blessed here in the mountains and I've actually started writing and recording some new music...first in two years! I've re-mastered the film scores I had previously done for Nosferatu and Hunchback of Notre Dame and they'll be available on DVD by this summer along with an all new recording of my score for Phantom of the Opera. I'm not sure what the groundhog saw or didn't see last week, but from here life looks beautiful and feels just as fine. I think I can see spring coming!

well, what do you know?

As the election day drew nigh I was, quite honestly, afraid to believe the predictions of a democratic take-over. And now, after several weeks and a few resignations later I have to admit I am basking in the good news! Of course it's just the beginning. Call, write or email your representatives, especially if they're part of the freshman class. They are our "hired help" as Will Rogers used to say. They should be working for us. I've taken the time to visit my congress people in Washington on several occassions and I would recommend that everyone do the same, it's an eye-opening experience and well worth the time and effort. On the local level - it's lovely here in the Rockies, the snow on the mountains glows with the pink of sunrise while the full moon is still visible above the mountains. My son and I have been decorating the tree and building a new table for our model trains. I've put together two new DVDs of my former band Neo Pseudo and will be finishing several new silent films for DVD with new music soundtracks. I hope you enjoy the season and have a wonderful beginning to 2007.

I still believe

It's been a long dark night in this land of ours. The extreme right keeps on plowing ahead as if nothing is wrong, as if no one cares, as it no one will lift a finger to try to undo the damage. While there is plenty on the news to cause me to cry "how long?" I hear the voices of truth speaking out, I feel like I can see the sun on the horizon. I feel that the sounds of truth are beginning to echo, to find listening ears, fertile ground to grow a better world. Election day is only weeks away, we have the power to redeem the work of fools. I believe that truth can win. The present administration has built a house of lies, deciet and hate. I believe love and truth is more powerful and lasting. We have the power I believe.

September 11th

I've been thinking a great deal about this fifth anniversery of September 11th. In many ways not much has changed over these five years, I'm still looking for answers. Here is what I wrote in my journal on that day and the following days as I went about my life and work in New York City. September Journal By Kevin Slick Copyright 2001 9/11/01 I bought a newspaper on the way to work this morning. I thought I would talk with my class, fourth grade at P.S. 116, about the primary election for mayor. After all there would be people in and out of school all day since it was the polling place for the neighborhood around 33rd and 3rd. But we didn’t talk about the election. The voters left early, if they came at all. By three o’ clock in the afternoon I was alone in my room. Sunlight was coming in the window at an autumn afternoon slant Dragging long shadows across the front page of the newspaper, Still lying where I left it on my desk. No one will ever remember the stories from the front page of today’s paper. No one will ever think of this day and talk about the election Or any one of ten other stories that were worthy of the front page of the New York Times on September 11th, 2001. I walked downtown Smoke arched across the sky People’s faces; grim, vacant, worried. We talked to each other like people at a funeral; “How are you doing?” “Are you okay?” The streets, a constant stream of fire trucks, ambulances, police cars. Police on every corner Crowds gathering at the hospital a few blocks away. And the people’s faces, unbelieving I can’t believe it. (how many times have I said “ I can’t believe it” when I could have said “that’s surprising” or “ I didn’t expect that”) Now, I really can’t believe it. Tell me again, They’re gone? Those two buildings are gone? The two buildings I see from my window every day? The two buildings I rode past this morning on the train? Gone? 9/12 Everyone is in motion today. On Fulton street the sun is shining and the streets are full of people. Loud dance music rips out of a store selling stereos. A man is begging on the corner, shaking a cup full of coins endlessly. Now he switches hands and adjusts the volume on his Walkman. He’s looking all around and no one is looking at him. He looks around some more and drives his electric wheelchair away. The other people on the corner just keep talking and ignoring the place where he was. The sky is still so blue today Only that one line of grey Grey smoke to the south that lays across the sky. It looks like rain clouds, Long, low rain clouds But it’s too sunny for rain. There’s a cool breeze Like the best ocean breeze on the last day of summer It’s such a beautiful day Such a beautiful day. Is it nature, or God Trying to say that life goes on? Is this a day to help us heal? Is this a day that covers the terrible with beauty? This beautiful sky lies across our lives We are held together under this sky Held together by each other By our heartbeats Our footsteps Beating out a rhythm together. I heard a woman say That the most important thing in the world Was the smell of her daughter’s hair when she hugged her. 9/18 I can see the sun as a fuzzy white ball in the grey, cloudy sky. In Union Square there are huge crowds Gathering around signs, candles and pictures Offerings, gifts people have left. Behind me, a group is singing “America The Beautiful” some of the crowd, however are only singing the first line of the melody, having forgotten the rest I guess. The result is an edgy harmony as one group repeats the same line over and over. People have written poems And the word “Love” appears over and over again. Maybe we’re all here just to be next to other humans Every sound is muffled, like a church This seems like a sacred site. The stained glass windows have been replaced with Flowers Paintings Pictures All those pictures Thousands of pictures. This whole city has become a photo album A large family photo album. Walking down the streets, I feel like I’m leafing through memories Memories shared with strangers. Weddings, Back yard picnics Vacations. I’m looking for my family here Looking for faces I recognize And I realize I know every one of them. 9/19 I can’t sing I want to sing, but I can’t find a song to sing Not one song Not one song I can sing But all songs I have no song to sing Unless it’s all songs I try to speak but I have no voice Only all voices I’m calling on God But I think God will only answer To all his names To all her names Spoken as one. One sky One blue, heavenly sky Covers us like a prayer shawl. I want to wrap myself in the sky. I wrap myself in these pictures These words The quilt of life Of lives sewn together on the streets by broken hearts seeking peace. I stand with others, with everyone In search of release. My feelings pour out on the names On the faces And I think all my feelings have gone out of me But new feelings appear Like waves on the ocean, endless The best I can do is open my heart to the emotions The way a rose opens it’s petals to drink the dew And I release those feelings Like the rose gives up it’s petals.

Look for the Fall Sing Out!

Howdy, as the title of this entry suggests, be on the look out for the next issue of SING OUT magazine. I'll have a song in the "Folk Process" section. This is the portion of the magazine that features new words to old tunes or new arrangements of songs. They'll be printing my version (including a second verse by me) of Harry Chapin's classic "Circles" If you don't know about SING OUT, it's THE classic folk song magazine with a history going back more than fifty years. If you want to learn new songs as well as read about the artists and recordings, then you must pick up SING OUT.

Summer's End

The last days of summer are flying by here in the Rockies. As a school teacher I'm perhaps more keenly aware of the end of August and the beginning of the new school year. I've always loved the coming of fall. I grew up in a college town and autumn always brought the excitement of new students arriving, football games and the changing colors of the leaves. Living in Colorado now I don't get the changing colors so much, but that crisp feeling of cooler weather especially in the mornings still means the possibilities of new beginings. The Bash in Pittsburgh was great fun, you can find some photos of me wearing Lon Chaney's hat from London After Midnight at the Creepy Classics website (which you can find on the links page) My new score for Hunchback of Notre Dame should be available on DVD soon - look for it at Creepy Classics. I'll be starting on some new films for next summer's Bash soon. I'll be re-doing Phantom of the Opera and possibly some short films based on Poe's poems from the early days of the silent era. I've also compiled some old Neo Pseudo video onto DVD, at present you can get copies by emailing me. So enjoy these last days of late sunsets, buzzing inscects and long shadows on baseball fields.

Big Bash in Pittsburgh

I'm off to my home state of Pennsylvania this weekend to play my new film score for The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the international film conference known as The Monster Bash. You can find more info at creepyclassics.com. the DVDs will be available soon as well as a soundtrack CD. If you're in northern Colorado in July stop by Rhythm on the River in Longmont on July 8th. I'll be making my return to the concert stage as a singer-songwriter-neo-folky kind of guy at that gig. I can't honestly remember my last solo gig as a singer so it should be fun...or strange, interesting at least! Fans of Neo Pseudo I've been going through the archives of twenty year old video tapes to find what we can salvage for a 20th anniversery DVD. Also expect a few new releases from the Neo vault this summer. That's all the news for now - Remember what the Carter Family said - "Keep on the sunnyside"

Have you heard it yet?

I'm talking about "The Seeger Sessions" by Bruce Springsteen. Get ye to a CD shop, or flip your browser to the nearest online store and get this disc now! You will not find a better album this year, or next. The album has joyful soul oozing out the sides of the packaging...careful it may spill all over your CD or DVD player. You don't know what you're missing, so go already and let the wild rumpus begin.

Springtime in the Rockies

Hello everyone, Yes, it's the time of year when it snows one day and then it's seventy degrees the next. A little bit of news - I'll be in Pittsburgh this summer to perform my new score for the silent film "Hunchback of Notre Dame" starring Lon Chaney. For film fans in the house I'll also be participating in a discussion of the most famous "lost film" in the world - Lon Chaney's London After Midnight. Some of Chaney's original costume and props will be there as well. This all takes place at the Monster Bash International Film Convention. You can find more information by clicking on the link for Creepy Classics on the links page of this website. Looking at the evening news - I think Russ Feingold has the right idea, too bad the congress seems to be populated primarily with spineless single cell organisms that can only react to stimulus, and lack the capacity for thinking much less acting. Last time I checked you could read the text of Senator Feingold's censure resolution at his website. Take it easy, but take it.

What I'm thinking while I listen to the radio

I'm getting pretty tired of hearing news-talk shows debating the question "Is it okay for the government to spy on citizens?" So, they're talking about the NSA secret spying deal, but in my mind the asking the wrong questions. I believe a better talk show would start with this; "The president says it's okay for him to break the law whenever he feels it's in his or the country's best interest, do you agree?" Remember - the laws of our country give the president legal means to wiretap, even to get permission after the fact. We shouldn't let the talk show hosts obscure this point - the question for all of us is: Do we let the president break the law? For me, the answer is no. We all must decide. Good night, and good luck -Kevin

New albums available

This will be a news rather than views entry. Four new albums are up on the CDBaby page. There's "Thunderstorm, Radio and Keyboards" which is an all instrumental album similar to some of my film score work. It's full of sonic audio landscapes from gentle mood pieces to strange journeys into sound. Also new to the page is "Laughing Symbols:NoSono by Neo Pseudo. This is the classic collection of early Neo Pseudo recordings that gathered rave reviews for it's quirky, delightful tunes. Also from the Neo vaults comes "Folks like Us" and "Postcard" two albums recorded in the early 1990s when the band had re-lcated to Philadelphia. "Folks" features the acoustic side of the band as they sounded during their residency at Makams Kitchen and their gigs at Godfrey Daniels. "Postcard" features tracks that were recorded as a follow up to "Ritual Laughter" and several studio tracks recorded at the Pseudo House. This album also includes the famous version of "Riot in Heaven" recorded live in one of their return shows at Penn State - the ultimate Pseudo wackiness!

It's the end of the year

It's that time of year again, time to put together the "best of" lists - best films, best albums, greatest achievement in obscure whatever. With a three year old son, I never go to the movies so I can't comment on the cinema, but I can offer my favorite album suggestions. Here they are in no particular order: Kate Bush - Aerial. Those who know me have heard me rave about Ms. Bush's music over the years so it should be no surprise that her first album in 12 years makes the list. I loved the beautiful sparse melodies and how her singing has matured over the years. She retains all the passion of previous albums but moves beyound the wall of sound that powered her work from the mid- eighties. Robert Plant - Mighty ReArranger. It seems to me that Led Zepplin was such a powerful musical force because they combined the awesome playing of the musicians and the magical, voodoo ritual elements that they gathered from around the world and planted at the heart of their songs. That voodoo, mysica,magical groove is alive an well on Plant's latest album with more of a nod towards world music than to heavy metal. Neil Young - Prarie Wind Neil goes acoustic again, and once more travels to Nashville to gather many of the folks who worked on Harvest. The title fits the music exactly. Old wooden songs from someone looking back at life's landscape. Abigail Washburn - Song of the Travelling Daughter. Washburn plays banjo with the old-timey outfit Uncle Earl and I'd recommend their latest album as well. Travelling Daughter takes the drama and passion of old timey music and grooves in the modern world. There's nothing here that sounds out of place or cliche- the open back banjo is the logical instrument for these songs which include probably the only traditional appalachian mountain chinese music you'll ever here. Laura Veirs - Year of Meteors. Excellent moody modern melodic music. Ms. Veirs writes insightful songs that have a timeless quality while still sounding completely contemporary. One of the best of the singer-songwriters. Emma's Revolution- One By far the most uplifting song I've heard on disc this year leads off this recording by the duo of Sandy and Pat. This album is full of powerful lyrics and memorable music including (in my opinion) the most touching and real song to come from the tragedy of 9/11. You can find this recording at their website www.emmasrevolution.com Bruce Springsteen - Devils and Dust Let's not forget the boss! This album came out earlier in the year but I haven't been able to stop listening to this collection of stories, fables and dreams. Combined with the 30th anniversery of "Born to Run" - by the way, don't miss the special CD/DVD combo celebrating that one - it's a good time to stop to appreciate the amazing body of work Bruce has produced. The new album is harsh, beautiful, and perfect. I hope you have a lovely time over the winter holidays and a grand beginning of the new year!

more meditations

As the smoke rises from the fire Into the air My soul rises on a prayer To the sky I return home to the heart of the one Where my soul is reborn When day is done

meditations

It's snowing gently here in the Rocky Mountains. I've been looking for a good book of daily meditations, but haven't had the time to visit the local bookstores, so I've been writing my own. Here's a couple of samples. What do you think? Let my soul rise into the unbroken sky Stretching transparent thin Around the earth The fibers of my skin, my heart, my soul Touching every corner of the world And then returning With the breath of every living thing inside me. I will melt my being, dissolve into infinity Like water Like beautiful dust To reach into the earth Into every inch of planet Reborn with every living thing With every name of God etched in my soul

Thanksgiving

What is there to be thankful for? Often I think of the big things: family, health, etc. This morning, however, I looked out the window and saw the sunrising, throwing a golden light on the Rocky Mountains. What more do I need? Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you find many things all around you to be thankful for. -Kevin

Isn't This A Time?

I think it's time for a new verse to that classic song from Lee Hays and the Weavers- Wasn't that a Time? The following article came from Sojourners magazine and their website www.sojo.net I think it's an excellent expression of my feelings and hpefully the feelings of many others who watch the ever increasing boldness of the far right in our country. Washington, D.C. ------(Friday, November 18, 2005) Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and Convener of Call to Renewal, made the following statement today on the narrow passage of the House Budget Reconciliation Bill. STATEMENT BY JIM WALLIS: The prophet Isaiah said: "Woe to you legislators of infamous laws ... who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan." Today, I repeat those words. When our legislators put ideology over principle, it is time to sound the trumpets of justice and tell the truth. It is a moral disgrace to take food from the mouths of hungry children to increase the luxuries of those feasting at a table overflowing with plenty. This is not what America is about, not what the season of Thanksgiving is about, not what loving our neighbor is about, and not what family values are about. There is no moral path our legislators can take to defend a reckless, mean-spirited budget reconciliation bill that diminishes our compassion, as Jesus said, "for the least of these." It is morally unconscionable to hide behind arguments for fiscal responsibility and government efficiency. It is dishonest to stake proud claims to deficit reduction when tax cuts for the wealthy that increase the deficit are the next order of business. It is one more example of an absence of morality in our current political leadership. Budgets are moral documents that reflect what we care about. Budget and tax bills that increase the deficit put our children's futures in jeopardy - and they hurt the vulnerable right now. The choice to cut supports that help people make it day to day in order to pay for tax cuts for those with plenty goes against everything our religious and moral principles teach us. It says that leaders don't care about people in need. It is a blatant reversal of biblical values - and symbolizes the death of compassionate conservatism. The faith community is outraged and is drawing a line in the sand against immoral national priorities. It is time to draw that line more forcefully and more visibly. I applaud those House members who have stood up for better budget priorities and fought hard all year to keep issues of basic fairness at the forefront of this debate. And I thank those on both sides of the aisle who stood up and did the right thing in voting against this bill, despite pressure from the House leadership. These strong voices provide some hope for getting beyond an ideology that disregards the role of government for the common good.

Here's a Thought

" Remember the last time you had an irrepressible smile on your face?, God has that picture on his refrigerator." I don't know the origin of this quote, just heard it at Meeting today and I thought it was worth sharing.

Favorite new slogan

My favorite new button, that I wear on my jacket, is "I'm not Anti-Bush, I'm Pro-Intelligence" For me that is a pretty good snapshot of my feelings. The current administration shows contempt for thinking, for understanding and clearly has disdain for anything approaching broad-mindedness. These are tough times, "times to try the soul" as a wise songwriter once put it. The same wise songwriter also said "Be of good cheer, this too shall pass, I've had kidney stones so I know" Or, as Winston Churchill once said, "When you're going through hell...keep going"

News and Views

Check out new albums at CDBaby! "Winter Song" my album of traditional Christmas music in a new-folk sort of setting is now out on CD. You'll also find the classic Neo Pseudo album "Vanity Frizbee" Look for other gems from the Neo Pseudo closet coming soon. On a lighter note here's my thoughts on the recent World Series. For those of you who missed it or didn't really care, the Chicago White Sox swept the Houston Astros in four straight games, each of which could have easily been won by the Astros if they had managed to score any of the hundred or so runners left on base. My theory is this: God has cursed the Astros for intorducing "Astro-Turf" or artificial grass to baseball and organized sports in general. Their painful losses and the fact that they were teased with many possibilities to win the games is evidence of the magnitude of their original or in this case artificial sin! Here's another thought - something is wrong with this society when it's harder to adopt a homeless cat than it is to have a child. No one asked me what I planned to do with my son if he threw up on the furniture, so why do I have to fill out a three page questionaire with questions like "What will you do if your cat scratches the furniture?" or " Did you imagine having an indoor, outdoor/indoor/ outdoor, indoor on weekdays, outdoors on weekends, travelling cat, cat to play with in the park..." What? I could hardly make heads or tails of the absurd questions...what did I imagine? Well, I can "imagine" a cat that can fly, but that's not what I'm expecting! As you might guess I was recently turned down by the shelter for adopting a cat. Get this - the shelter will call you if they accept you, but don't have to time to call and tell you if you don't pass the review of the almighty judge of potential cat owners...something is wrong here! Oh yeah, I almost forgot - how am I supposed to have three references from vets if I don't already own a pet? So, no cat yet, I'll look to the newspaper and notices in coffee shops someplace where the pet nazi's aren't watching! Since writing this first part I discovered that the local Humane Society in Boulder Valley is a much more friendly place to get a pet, so as I write this "Garbo" is crawling all over the desk and meowing along with the stereo.

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