‘And if you need company for the long, lonely miles, try these’

I loved this post from Boyhowdy of Cover Lay Down about taking care of his aging and ailing father. The short essay is quiet and powerful, and of course the selections of songs he suggests for such roads in life are perfect.

Here are a couple of my favorite covers from the list, for obvious biases, and I’ll stream equivalents from YouTube to avoid stealing the blog’s bandwidth:

It’s hard to do a good John Denver cover

That’s what the new Denver tribute album tells me. With every single song, I wish i was listening to the original instead. The same goes for most of Cover Lay Down’s round-up of Denver covers. The only one that floats my boat is Chantal Kreviazuk’s Leaving On A Jet Plane. After its too-cute opening, the song develops an unexpected real bounce. My favorite recent Denver cover is Mike Doughty’s Country Roads. It comes in the traditional style, but it’s lively and isn’t afraid to get loose and loud, a rare cover pair.

All the voices in a symphony

One of the first things I did after moving into this neighborhood years ago was to check out if the Fort Myer bugle calls were live or recorded. The latter, turned out. With Army buglers running low, one understood.

But it was unexpected/fun recently to discover the U.S. Army Orchestra playing concerts at the fort and go to see one. I met up with Lori after work, and we hustled over the highway to join a decent neighborhood crowd, some old, some young, some very young. The orchestra played selections from Barber of Seville, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ modern viola moods and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. The symphony debuted at a concert to benefit soldiers in 1813; the setting was right. “Passionate aural representations of the heights and depths of human emotion can be found in this compact masterwork,” the program said. I looked for other summaries afterward, but I liked that idea the best, of the piece addressing emotion without forcing context. What came across in the ensemble was conversation — interaction, collected voices, in joy and sometimes anger — or lack thereof, an overwhelmed person’s escape into a helpful lonely room. One section made me picture a child trying persuade a crowd of loud adults, maybe soldiers, to let him tag along.

The orchestra’s concert hall, Brucker Hall, was comfortable and easy to reach, even with a full-car security check — open your trunk, hood and all the doors — on the way onto the grounds. You should go sometime.

Afterward, pizza at Pupatella, still my favorite Arlington pizza place, up there regionally with 2Amys, and a surprisingly in-depth discussion of John Denver. Beethoven worked on poems, prayers and promises too.

I stand with the man who plays John Denver too loud

The man got a $208.50 citation, but I’ve now ripped Denver’s Greatest Hits to iTunes in his honor. You bet I owned the CD. The money grafs:

After a few minutes, the officer knocked again. This time the man who rents the apartment opened the door. When asked why the music was so loud, he told police he was “rocking out.”

“Depending on your theory of rocking out,” neighbor Jeff Krenz said. “I’m not really a fan of John Denver, but I guess the guy might think it’s good music.”

The man wouldn’t talk on camera, but tells FOX 11 he was a bit intoxicated and enjoying his music while cooking. He says he heard the knock, but his food was burning so he didn’t answer.

My Gannett family broke this story in the Fond du Lac Reporter, and we should be thankful for that. But Green Bay’s WLUK made the story real.

Previously: I defend John Denver in April 2004. And June 2004. And February 2009. And I didn’t even blog about cousin Matt’s wedding.