Scenes That Caught My Eye, Tunes That Caught My Ear

Two years ago, due to a health issue that required attention, I upped the number of walks that I take. I did so because, as everybody knows, the medical experts among us are convinced that regular exercise can improve the functioning of our internal machinery, thus extending our lives. Well, since then I’ve gone a-walkin’ hundreds of times, as I’m not in any rush to bid adieu to the polluted planet that we call home.

A lot of the walks, for convenience’s sake, have taken place in my neighborhood, which is in a town a few miles from Philadelphia. Though I like my house, which is as cuddly as a toddler, I’m totally aware that my hood ain’t exactly the most exciting locale in the world. And that’s putting it mildly. Let’s face it, when you’ve seen one suburban block you’ve pretty much seen them all.

So, to break up the monotony I sometimes head to one or another nearby village when a pounding-the-pavement session is in order. Yeah, they’ve got more than their share of typical residential blocks too. But, unlike my town, they also contain old-timey business sections, always of interest, not to mention the real possibility of unexpected sights. The other day, with all that in mind, I hopped in my car and drove three miles to Hatboro. I was psyched to stretch my legs there and to see what I would see.

I spent an hour scouring a good bit of Hatboro, exercising ye olde legs more than I had expected to. I was into it, my eyes looking up, down and all around, in search of this, that or the other thing as I strode along. Man, I felt good, breathing freely and fully, and admiring the nip in the air in addition to the sights. Importantly, I also made sure that my phone’s camera was ready for action.

In the end, I pressed the camera button about 20 times, documenting some of the types of scenes that I’m prone to immortalizing. Those with strong contrasts of colors, for instance, or with lines and planes that intersect wildly. As I’m also drawn to well-proportioned minimalistic configurations, I was brought up short by the section of a parking lot whose three yellow metal posts peacefully guard a small building. It’s plain, but I like it.

What’s more, when I’m in the right mood, as I apparently was in Hatboro, I get a kick from the absurd. On the grounds of a funeral home, of all places, a dog statue rocking its woolen scarf like a fashion model fit into that category just fine.

The walk in Hatboro was pretty swell, but a few days later I heard two songs that pleased me far more. That’s not surprising, considering that music has the potential to awe and transport like nothing else. Sure, literature might blow you away, as might art, as might sex, as might nature’s splendors. For me, though, music trumps them all. Not every piece of music, of course. Hardly. But when a musical composition gels with me just so, off I go into the stratosphere, riding gently on the wings of a most mysterious power.

That’s what happened when B-Side, by Leon Bridges and Khruangbin, visited my eardrums. Whoosh! In no time I was airborne. Later that day, Cautionary Tale, by singer-songwriter Dylan LeBlanc, caused the same to occur.

Lyrically, B-Side is a love song and Cautionary Tale is the musings of a guy who has lost his way in the world. But the words of both numbers, which could use some tidying-up anyway, hardly matter to me. What does matter are the steady grooves that embrace and won’t let go, the dancing interplay between the instruments, and the fact that Bridges’ and LeBlanc’s voices are at ease in the ethers. In other words, each of these tunes has a feel that I can’t ignore.

B-Side came out this month and is part of a continuing collaboration between Bridges, who has immersed himself in soul and other musical genres since breaking onto the scene in 2015, and the trance-rock trio with the unpronounceable name. Cautionary Tale reached the marketplace in 2016. It gets played now and then on radio stations that I listen to, proving that I’m not the only one who finds it worthy. I’d be happy to hear what you think about these recordings. Or about exercising, photography or any damn thing at all. Shit, I’m not particular!

 

130 thoughts on “Scenes That Caught My Eye, Tunes That Caught My Ear

  1. shoreacres December 31, 2021 / 9:39 pm

    As soon as I listened to Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, I was hooked. I hate to say it, but I’d never heard of either, which is especially sad since Khruangbin’s from Houston: my stomping grounds (at least when I stomp).

    It was the music that really caught me. When I began listening to B-Side, I could have been in any 1970s Liberian village where somebody had their boom box playing Kusum beat from Ghana. Khruangbin may depend on other musical influences, but there’s no question that the West African influence is there in B-Side. I love it! and I’m so glad you included it here. I found one of my old favorites, Sweet Talks, on YouTube: the first cut is a favorite. Here’s a snippet of review that made me grin:

    “The sweet palm wine ductility of 1970s Ghanaian dancefloor highlife mingles here with the Afro-Americana rolling in from next-door Nigeria. “Kyekye Per Aware” is Sweet-Talks-does-Fela.“Oburumankoma” toys with a fanfare trumpet, grins, changes direction, laughs, changes direction again. The highlife keeps things light and fast, the trumpets keep it earthed and funky, and the lead singer has his own version of the funk uh-huh — somewhere between a come-on and an asthmatic cough. Kusum means native, local, in other words, Ghanaian — these men were patriots, and coastal Ghana pervades the album.”

    Sorry to run on so, but this really raised some memories, and led to some hours of listening to good music. Here’s to a great 2022, and even more great tunes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 1, 2022 / 8:03 am

      Hi. Thanks for the link. The Kusum music is pretty irresistible. Take care. Here’s to a real good 2022.

      Like

  2. alhenry January 1, 2022 / 10:52 am

    “Old-timey business sections” …hmm. Is there any “downtown” extant on the planet with a five-and-dime? Kresge’s, Woolworth’s? Guess not. Google tells me the last Kresge store closed in 1994. Where do today’s kids get their mellowcreme Halloween mix? Their goldfish, carted home in a plastic baggie filled with water?

    I also grooved on the be-scarved dog statue. On the backroads from my house to Tanglewood, there’s a deer statue, and some wag is always decorating it with a hat or scarf. Must be a deep-seated human need.

    Glad your tunes are keeping you sane(?). In connection with two films I watched the last few days, I’ve been happily immersed in “Stand By Me” (seriously, is anything better?), and Sinatra’s velvety “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shelley@QuaintRevival.com January 2, 2022 / 3:30 pm

    Yes to all – yes, to exercise, walking is the best! Yes, in photography, the unexpected moments must be captured. Yes, to the two songs – I had not heard either one, I like the first one for the vibes of reggae and the second one for the smooth guitar sounds. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. stargazer January 3, 2022 / 7:07 am

    Lovely photos! I also enjoy colour contrasts and geometrical features and take a lot of those type of photos when I am out and about.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. JoAnn January 3, 2022 / 7:45 pm

    Music is always a great mood booster, so is photography. I need to be walking more and probably doing a lot of other things since I’m not working anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 3, 2022 / 9:53 pm

      Hello, JoAnn. What you say about music is very true. Music is an amazingly powerful force. It connects with our emotions.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa at Micro of the Macro January 8, 2022 / 3:19 pm

    LOL! The Bridges and Khruangbin’s tune has a real EW&F feel. The LeBlanc song reminds me of an Annie Lennox’ sound. I enjoy your walks, too, Neil, as the images you find fascinating are pretty cool. 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 8, 2022 / 8:32 pm

      Hi. I’m going to listen again to LeBlanc, to see if I hear an Annie L influence too. Thanks for your input. See ya.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. denisebushphoto January 20, 2022 / 5:17 pm

    Having lived on the NJ side of Philly for most of my years I must say there is something about those old neighborhoods that is lacking in Colorado. Sometimes I miss the Back East towns.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger January 20, 2022 / 6:35 pm

      But you’ve got deserts and mountains! I know what you mean, though. Old and middle-aged towns can have a whole lot of character.

      Like

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