The morning after Rick Van Ness handed me a copy of Darren Thompson’s “Between Earth and Sky,” I pointed a speaker out the window, took a cup of coffee to the porch, and listened while the sun came up.
At first, I became aware of my own breathing. I could hear birds setting up a protest, and I thought they might be on the CD until I moved away from the window, and saw the hawk gliding by. Errant breezes came with the sun, whispering in the pines, setting the aspen groves a-shimmer, and carrying scents of wild roses from the chokecherry thicket.
It’s that kind of music: calming, meditative. The Native American flute produces crisp highs and rich lower tones that sustain with strong vibrato, notes that trail off to a whisper, and others that leap to a conclusion like one’s heart in one’s throat.
I recommend taking this CD outside, though, if you’re stuck inside somewhere, it can bring the out-of-doors to you. Beautiful. Check him out at darrenthompson.net. Darren is currently the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Artist in Residence for the month of October.
In June, I mentioned Lang Termes’ “Fist Full of Sun.” In the interim, I have had a conversation with someone not much younger than I am who said he could understand every word Lang sings. I responded that I hardly understood any of it, but I didn’t care because I listen to Lang for his melodies and his rhythms.
He uses words as much as rhythmic units as language. I prevailed upon him to send me a copy of the lyrics, they are remarkable in their own right: sharp images, juxtaposed in ways to make a surrealist laugh with joy. They flirt with nonsense, and the flirting will touch your heart. He promised me he would get the lyrics up on his website — website LangTermes.com — but I can’t find them there.
I have to tell my favorite Lang story here. The last year Steve Carroll and I were working at the Buffalo Chip, Lang came out to play. He did a version of Leadbelly’s “Black Betty,” just standing on th stage, beating out time on the guitar body. He nailed it. Later that night, one of the stars on Wolfman Stage tried it with instrumental backing.
She didn’t hold a candle to Lang.
Steve Thorpe is a published novelist and a performing songwriter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.