Back In The Saddle Again.


When my daughter was born, I purposely decided to take a little time off from live performance. Personally, I’ve always found that performing demanded a certain steady and consistent effort from me, and I just had this sneaking suspicion that I was going to be a little busy with things that may interfere with words such as “steady” and “consistent.”

So when my good friend Alfred Brown wrote me a couple of weeks ago and invited me to play at West Side Stories today, I said, “Sure.” And then I panicked. Sure, I’ve been recording and writing and playing and singing regularly. But my old fears and attitudes started to show their ugly selves right away. My mind immediately locked on to a bit that David Cross likes to do frequently: “There’s got to be a better way!”

Now while I wasn’t wrong in the slightest about busyness, I have been “steadily” and “consistently” surprised by just how much I can get done now in very little time and with less effort. Maybe it’s that I’m a little older, a little more confident, a little better at everything that I do. But in all honesty, being a dad has in many ways been responsible for some rather herculean transformations. Just having to spend most of a year doing things with one hand free and a baby in the other gives you certain superpowers. But the focus a child gives you is more than slightly terrifying in its simplicity. And it is very helpful.

It took me one practice session to realize that this was going to be fun. Really fun. I let go of all of my concerns, trusted myself, and just played and sang for the pure joy of it. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I find myself truly letting go and letting my entire life do the work for me. I’ve been doing all of this for so long—I guess it’s just time to accept the fact that I deserve to do it.

So come out today if you get a chance! Details are below. I’ll be the one on the small stage having a blast.

DAVID CLOYD :: Live Acoustic Performance
West Side Stories Grand Opening Celebration
Friday, July 29 @ 6-8pm

West Side Stories
http://www.facebook.com/we​stsidestories
205 Grant Street b/w Lafayette and Auburn
Buffalo, NY

w/ Alfred Brown
http://alfredbrown.blogspo​t.com/

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=253900331289854.

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Rama Lama Ding Dong.

You may find this surprising, but I’m a BIG fan of doo-wop music and 1950’s rock and roll music. The best of it captures a pure joy and simplicity that isn’t found in many other styles of music. It’s certainly not “cool” to write about painless naïve joy today, and hasn’t been for most of my adult life. And consequently, I find it very difficult to write eloquently about pure joy and simplicity. There is something so transcendent to me about the fact that “la la la la la la la la LAH” means “I love you.” It’s so simple and so complex at the same time. It’s as if everyone decided to create a new language, most of the time without translation. But instead of it turning sock hops into the Tower of Babel, everyone actually learned the same dances.

And it isn’t all just about fun and games. Because of the way people recorded back then—live in a room during a three-hour session—the sound of those recordings is so visceral and real to me.  The Flamingos’ 1959 recording of “I Only Have Eyes For You” is still one of the spookiest things I have ever heard. Those bone-chilling doo-bop sh-bops still freak me out every time I hear them. The above video of them performing the song, obviously from the 1960s, is just as spooky if you ask me. (The story behind the recording is here.)

Actually, when I think about it, Sigur Ros might be the closest thing we have to an extreme doo-wop group today, at least in style and approach. Jonsi created the Hopelandic language in order to get away from words and try to express something deeper. There is something so timeless about that concept, and the way that it resounds with me is so uncategorizable. The songs have a different meaning every time, completely present in the moment, but it always seems to revolve around love and beauty.

My wife and I play all kinds of music for our daughter every day, but something special happens when old doo-wop comes on. Her face lights up with recognition at every single “ooh wah,” and she starts to lip sync all of the nonsense lyrics. Not surprisingly, I think these syllables actually have meaning to her, the same meaning that they have for us—they’re really really fun to say.