Saturday Night Serenade–Wistful

Had enough of the whole ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality? I know I have. What’s happened to us? Seriously.

Remember when we could appreciate viewpoints different from our own? When we could discuss divergent opinions respectfully and in the end, agree to disagree?

How have we come to the place where ‘He who disagrees with me is my enemy’? When the hell did that happen?

This weekend, I’m finding myself wistfully nostalgic for the good old days when cooler heads prevailed, when name-calling was reserved for those simple souls who ran short on vocabulary and long on self-importance. For when civil discourse was, in fact, civil.

Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe times were never really that simple. Maybe that’s yet to come.

In tonight’s serenade, Garth Brooks dreams of a time when We Shall Be Free. The song, co-written with Stephanie Davis, comes from his 1992 album, The Chase.

It was not without its controversy. Polite company in the early 90s wasn’t prepared for a song that celebrated tolerance of all kinds.

Of the fuss, Brooks said,

We Shall Be Free’ is definitely and easily the most controversial song I have ever done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man. I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about ‘We Shall Be Free” is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live. I am very proud of it. And I am very proud of Stephanie Davis, the writer. I hope you enjoy it and see it for what it was meant to be.“–Garth Brooks–The Hits CD Booklet

The song won Video of the Year at the 1993 Academy of Country Music Awards. It’s a shame you can’t find the original on YouTube.

But I hope you enjoy the simple wish for everyone to just live their lives and to afford others the same courtesy. Have a wonderful spring weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Feeling Bluesy

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling kind of low-key this last weekend of March.  This past couple of weeks have been absolutely gorgeous.  The last half of March is always the most beautiful time of year here in south Florida.   The sky is bright blue, the sun is golden, it’s neither hot nor cold…

It’s not the ideal time to go swimming–between the migrating sharks and the Portuguese man-o-war, the ocean is a little dicey.  But to sit on the sand and watch the turquoise water at Juno Beach or Jupiter Beach?  It’s a little slice of heaven.

As is this bluesy song by Tracy Chapman.  Give Me One Reason is from her 1995  album, New Beginning.  It’s the perfect soundtrack for a low-key evening.  By the way, did you know you can ask Alexa to play this song?  And thousands of others?  You don’t even have to scroll through YouTube or iTunes.  Ain’t technology grand?

I hope you’re enjoying this lovely spring evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Oh, and P.S.–Between you and me, don’t tell anybody about Juno and Jupiter.  Let’em all go to Ft. Lauderdale and Daytona.  😉

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

We’ve reached mid-March, and you know what that means!  What better way to start off a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day than with Irish Rover by The Dubliners and The Pogues?

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  One of my favorite memories is the time Mr. R and I spent the holiday at the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City.  Ybor is the historic Cuban district of Tampa, so it makes for an odd choice of places to celebrate all things Irish.

But that day, we were lucky enough to snag a high-top table by the front window and we spent about six hours enjoying great Irish food, a pint or three, and terrific live music.  Mr. R even paid the band to play Dirty Old Town.

Tonight, I’m giving you a playlist of great Irish music.  Here’s the Pogues’ version of Dirty Old Town.

We’ll continue with Galway Girl.  On my bucket list–pay someone in a pub in Galway to play this song.  This is a great video!

Here is one of my all-time favorite Irish bands, The Prodigals.  I first met them when they came to Irish Fest in West Palm Beach, but I had the opportunity to see them in their ‘natural habitat,’ their home bar Paddy Reilly’s on the lower east side of Manhattan.  Weile Weile Weile is a little creepy, but it’s a traditional Irish song.

All of those are great, but I can’t end a St. Patrick’s Day playlist without the boys from Boston.

I hope you are doing well this St. Patrick’s weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Keeping It Simple

Are you ready to ‘Spring forward’?  It’s my least favorite day of the year.  I won’t be right for about a week.  What is it about one little hour that impacts so much?

Time changes and time zones are complex.  I teach English online.  During standard time, China is 13 hours ahead of my time zone, but when it’s daylight savings time, they’re only 12 hours ahead.  I forgot about the time change and now I have a class booked at 9pm next Saturday night.  And military time?  Forget about it.  Even scheduling this post required me to count on my fingers, LOL.

It’s nice to boil all of life down to the simple things.  That’s what Thomas Rhett does in tonight’s serenade, Die a Happy Man.  Ever stop to consider what’s really important to you, those things that matter more than anything else?  I’ll bet they’re not things.

So remember to turn your clocks forward before you go to bed tonight.  Your phone and other electronics will do it automatically, thank goodness.  And say goodbye to that lost hour of sleep.  Sigh.

Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

P.S. If you’re interested in finding out more about the easiest side-hustle you ever did (you can even do it in your pajamas), hit me up.  😉

Saturday Night Serenade–Beautiful Moments

I think the most beautiful moments in life are the ones you don’t plan.  They’re the ones that just happen, and you know in your heart it’s a one-time thing and you just have to appreciate it.

Mr. R’s birthday is this week.  Years ago, I surprised him with a trip to Univeral Studios in Orlando.  This time of year, they celebrate Mardi Gras and they have a whole schedule of performers throughout the season.  To which I paid no attention as I made my plans.  I just picked the weekend closest to his actual birthday.

So on the day we went, the Bonnie Raitt show was included in our admission ticket.  Which we thought, okay, no big deal.  Maybe we’ll hit it, maybe we won’t.  After all, roller coasters await.

However, when it came time for the show, we ended up near the concert venue and we thought, why not?  I think a lot of people thought the same thing because for a while it was crowded.  Little by little, though, people drifted away.   It was cool if not actually cold.  And we were all just standing there on the pavement.  But as space opened up, we moved closer and closer to the stage for what turned into an intimate concert experience.

Then she began to play I Can’t Make You Love Me.  Which is a beautiful, sad song, really.  But her voice, on that night, with me standing in front of Mr. R, his arms wrapped around me to keep me warm, was magical.  I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

Here’s to Mr. R and his birthday.  I love you more!

I hope you’re staying warm this winter weekend, and that you’re surrounded by those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Guilty Pleasure, But So Much More

We got the sad news this week that we’d lost a bright light from the music world.  Peter Tork was a member of the iconic 60s band, The Monkees.  While the television show ran from 1966-1968, the band itself continued performing until 1971.  And they continued to pop up now and then after that.

The group was a pre-fab boy band in its day, and much has been said about the fact that the members weren’t initially allowed to actually play their own instruments.  But the reality is, pre-fab or not, the members of the Monkees were/are actually talented musicians.  Not the least of which was Peter Tork, who played guitar, keyboard, bass, and banjo, among other things.  He was also an accomplished songwriter.

I loved watching The Monkees when I was a kid.  Back then, it was mostly about the silliness.  And Davey Jones, I won’t lie.  Boy bands are my guilty pleasure.

As an adult, though, I came to appreciate the music.  The songs, many of them written by Boyce and Hart, in a lot of ways encapsulated the times.  Like now, the 60s were about change, discontent, and disunity.

Through the years, The Monkees continued to get together from time to time.  We lost Davey back in 2012.  And now Peter is gone.

But happily, we still have their music.  For tonight’s serenade, I picked the original television version of Pleasant Valley Sunday, The Monkees’ pop anthem against the hypocrisy of the banal.

Kids.  They always know everything.  I remember when I knew everything, LOL.  The Monkees probably do, too.

In addition, I’ve added a more recent version of the song, a solo acoustic rendition by Peter Tork.

I hope this final February weekend finds you well.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Old Classic, New Take

Oh, Winter, you’re killing me!
Isn’t it time for Spring yet?

I suppose I shouldn’t complain.  South Florida has been spared the more brutal conditions to which most of the US has been subjected.  Still…

I’m ready for plenty of sunshine and balmy breezes, for shorts and sandals and sipping cocktails at an outdoor table and watching the world pass by.

Tonight’s serenade is a new take on a 1066 Simon & Garfunkel classic, Hazy Shade of Winter.  The Bangles covered it in 1987, and if I’m honest, this new version by Gerard Way sounds like the same arrangement.

That being said, I think the guitar is fresh and I’m thrilled that someone’s breathing new life into a great song here in 2019.  See what you think.

On this weekend in what feels like an unending winter, I hope you’re staying warm.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

P.S.  I’m including the original Simon & Garfunkel as well as the Bangles’ cover.  Maybe it can be said that each version represents their own generation.