I don’t say that facetiously, even in the slightest. I mean it sincerely. She is a musical genius and she has done it again, for the 6th time, with “Grace” and dignity. I love all her albums equally.
Lizz just kicked off a tour, starting in New York, to promote and celebrate the release of her new CD, “GRACE”, her 6th album. And what a s-w-e-e-t release it is.
((Click on the link above (go for the gold!), and follow the directions to listen to her new CD. There is also a great review of Lizz by Jewly Hight on the same page if you want to know more about Lizz.))
From the interesting and varied selection of songs she chose for the new CD, to the oh-so unique and authentic way of singing that only she can render with such dignity, power and grace, she continues to mesmerize me and make me weak-in-the-knee, for sure.
I love the places she takes me with her music. The physical, mental and spiritual places. Her music penetrates my sensibility and permeates my soul.
Two years ago (September, 2015), her music took me to Boston, Massachusetts, to see and hear her sing at the Berklee Performance Center. At that time, she was kicking off a tour to celebrate and promote the release of her 5th CD, “Freedom and Surrender”. I was so happy to be there. The post I wrote about that trip is called, “Weekend Trip To Boston”.
For this trip, I couldn’t get off from work early enough on Friday night, to be at the Highline Ballroom in New York, where the tour started, but I was able to be at the next two venues, on Saturday at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Massachusetts, and on Sunday at the Shauliu Lin Performance Center in Rockport, Massachusetts.
Prior to departure from Seattle
Three days before I left for the trip, I downloaded the MP3 of Lizz’s new CD from Amazon and I played it day and night. As I was enjoying the music, I thought about what pictures and video clips I wanted to take, and the things I wanted to do while I was at each location, in addition to attending both shows.
I was planning to take a red eye flight from Seattle, to JFK in New York on Friday night. Then pick up my rental car upon arriving at JFK at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, and drive to Ridgefield for the first show, then to Rockport for the second show on Sunday, and then to Boston’s Logan Airport on Monday, to fly back to Seattle.
As I listened to the new CD, I was enjoying it so much that I decided to simply enjoy the music on this trip and not take any pictures or video. I just wanted to soak it all in, for a change. I didn’t want to be busy. But I did still want to play basketball (I play ball on every trip I take), at the court next to the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Massachusetts.
After arrival in New York
I went to Alamo and picked up the rental car, a white Mustang convertible, and I hit the road for Ridgefield, Massachusetts. The weather was good the whole weekend so I had the top down all the time and the wind blowing through my hair. Hadn’t done a road trip for a while so I was pumped and , surprisingly, I didn’t feel tired, even though I only slept one hour on the plane.
But before going to Ridgefield (which was only an hour from JFK), I drove to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to check out a basketball court, that I saw on Google Maps the night before, which was right by the water.
I wanted to play there, but when I got there, you couldn’t see the water and it just didn’t look as enticing as it did on the satellite image the night before.
First Venue: Ridgefield Playhouse
So I drove on to Ridgefield, checked into my motel, power-napped for about a “power and a half”.
Then I drove over to the Ridgefield Playhouse (the venue where Lizz would sing that night) and played basketball for about an hour and a half.
I usually only take one basketball with me when I travel. But, this time, I took five basketballs with me and they were all a different color. Previously, I mentioned that I didn’t want to do pictures or videos on this trip, but I changed my mind once again and decided to take a video clip of me playing basketball, like I normally do, because I had a specific purpose for doing so.
So I set up the camera, hit the record button, and started playing ball.
Since Lizz was kicking off this tour in celebration of her new CD, I wanted to do something special to commemorate and celebrate it too.
So I took the five different-colored basketballs and I was going to shoot them all randomly and frequently, which would symbolize a fireworks display (much like the 4th of July celebration of our independence) in celebration of the new CD. Then I would include the video in this post and explain the symbolism behind the clip.
…..ah….but…….“the best laid plans of mice and men, gang aft aglay.”
After playing for about an hour and a half, I went to turn off the camera, but it wasn’t on. 😩
I only thought I had turned it on, but I didn’t. (And I made some awesome shots in that clip too!! Even if I do say so myself.😊)
I thought to myself, “Who could I blame for this?” So after yelling at some random people passing by, kicking a dog, and beating up an old lady, I calmly said to myself, “Oh well. Just enjoy the music this weekend.”
And so I did.
That night at the Ridgefield Playhouse, as I sat there, very close to the front, intensely listening to every word, note and nuance she uttered, I thought about the conviction and sincerity in her voice as she sang cover after cover, as if she had written the songs, herself, and had experienced every thing that she was singing about.
One of the songs on her new CD is called, “Wash Me Clean”. It’s a K. D. Lang song. That song really moves me. When that song comes on, I hit repeat and listen to it over and over again until I start to miss all of the other songs. Then I just repeat the whole CD and let it flow.
The thing I like about this song is the way Lizz’s voice is prominent and pristine with a simple, beautiful and subtle accompaniment to adorn her.
Some of her other songs also fit into this category in my mind.
They include “Here and Now” (Freedom and Surrender CD), “Reaching For The Moon” (from a TV program paying tribute to Ella Fizgerald), and “Dreaming Wide Awake” (Dreaming Wide Awake CD), “Seems Like I’m Never Tired Loving You” (Grace CD), “Stars Fell On Alabama” (Grace CD), “I’m Confessin'” (Dreaming Wide Awake CD), “Speak Your Heart” (The Orchard CD), “Without You” (Dreaming Wide Awake CD), “Feed The Light” (Fellowship CD), “Soon As I Get Home” (Salt CD), and “Eternity”, “Fire”, “Blue Rose”, and “Silence” from the Salt Cd, as well.
They all elevate me to a dreamy state of mind.
Case in point
The next morning I left Ridgefield, Massachusetts, and headed for Rockport, Massachusetts, with the rag top down, spirit high, and focus on the new CD (and the highway, of course!).
The drive to Rockport was 3-4 hours so after listening to the whole CD several times, I wanted to just hear “Wash Me Clean” for a while. So I hit repeat.
I was in that dreamy state of mind for a while when I suddenly saw a sign that said “Welcome to New Hampshire”.
(When I said Lizz’s music takes me places, I wasn’t expecting it to take me to New Hampshire.)😯
Luckily, I had only gone out of my way about 10 or 15 minutes, so I corrected my course and continued on in that “dreamy state”, (and I don’t mean New Hampshire or Massachusets. I mean that dreamy state that Lizz’s music puts me in) and, in no time at all, I arrived in Rockport.
Now that I think about it, on this trip, I traveled leisurely, and peacefully with “Grace”, through New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to see and hear Lizz sing at two venues.
Doing things that you love to do is the best!!
(Don’t put them off. Do them now.)
Second Venue: Rockport, Massachusetts
The show in the Shauliu Lin Performance Center started at 5 p.m.. I arrived in Rockport at about 2 p.m., so I didn’t have much time to do anything but eat and go to the show.
The largest building you see is the Shauliu Lin Performance Center.
Rockport is a very small but charming harbor town. Actually, I love these kind of towns. There is something romantic about them.
I picked a motel that was not too pricey and was one block away from the venue (about where I took the above picture).
This is a view of the back of the Center which faces the ocean.
The town was so small you could walk everywhere you needed to go. But I didn’t need to go anywhere.
I was just looking forward to hearing Lizz sing again. I cannot express adequately how much I enjoy seeing and hearing her sing.
After the Show
It was about 7 or 730 p.m. when the show ended so I didn’t feel like going back to the motel right away. But the town is small so the stores close up early. There were only a couple restaurants opened. So I picked one and went in.
I wasn’t hungry but I wanted to have a drink and dwell on all the thoughts racing through my mind about the show. I always like to sit quietly, after the show, and reflect on all I saw and heard.
It’s kinda like chewing the food a little longer before you digest it.
Lizz never disappoints. Her shows are always amazing, inspiring and uplifting. I always feel so blessed to be there for any of her shows.
I took a seat at the bar, ordered a rum and coke, and as I sat their thinking about my good fortune to be there, a couple of young women (Trina and Gidget), came into the restaurant, sat down near me and started to order something to eat.
I asked them if they had been to the show. (The town closes up so early that anyone out at this time of night probably had been to the show.) They said yes.
So we started talking about the show, about Lizz, and about ourselves a little bit. I mentioned that since I became aware of Lizz and all her music, I felt like I had become more discerning in the kind of music I allow myself to listen to these days. Trina responded quickly, saying, “Yeah, that happens when you listen to good quality music.”
I enjoyed their company for about an hour. They had driven up from Boston to see Lizz and so they were driving back to Boston (only about an hour’s drive) that night.
It was nice to meet and talk with them and a great way to end the evening. I walked with them back to their car, we said our goodbyes and I continued on to my motel.
The next morning, I listened to “Grace” as I drove back to Boston’s Logan airport and returned to Seattle.
Quivers and Eros
As I was reviewing this post, I realized I seemed to focus mostly on “Wash Me Clean”. But I get a little carried away with each and every song. Each song has its own good virtue, character and beauty.
I failed to mention how, on the way to Rockport, I was “all over the road”, rocking out to “Singing In My Soul”, trying to learn the words and the song, oblivious to the stares of some of the “unenlightened” drivers passing by me.
The song is so much fun to listen to and sing, and it highlights Lizz’s genius for singing Gospel. As does her interpretation of Nina Simone’s “Seems Like I’m Never Tired Loving You” and the Ray Charles tune, “What would I Do Without You”.
When the Gospel in her is flowing out of her, I sometimes imagine a 12-year old Lizz, in church, finding her voice and singing her heart out, as she glances up at the adults around her who are also singing, and she says to herself, “I can do this!”
(I wonder when she first knew that she could sing so well?)
Sometimes, when I’m listening to her sing certain songs like “Singing In My Soul”, I am so awed by her technique and the little and big things (I’m being too technical, right?) she does throughout each song that make it so unique and pleasurable to listen to. But then, at the same time, she’ll sing a certain way that just sounds so cute I just want to pinch her cheeks. 😁
For example, in the first line of “Singing In My Soul”, she sings:
“…keeps the spirit moo 🎶 oo 🎶 oo 🎶 oo 🎶 vin’ 🎶 in my so…..oul 🎶
That’s hard to sing when you first try it. Her style is so cool, unique and cute too.
It makes you smile, tap your foot, clap your hands and try to sing along.😁
Also in her “Fellowship” CD, at the beginning of “God Specializes” she cascades on the word “mountains” and “God”. It’s simply beautiful!
It is these kinds of things she does when she sings that make me quiver.
I made a Lizz playlist that I call “Quivers and Eros”. All the songs on that playlist have some special way Lizz sings, in the song, that I just love (that shoots through me like arrows), and they all make me quiver, like in the above example where she cascades on the word “mountain”.
(Thus, “Quivers and
((Click on the link to God specializes (Go for the gold), above to see what I mean.))
The title song, “Grace”, written by Rose Cousins and Mark Erelli, is a beautiful song about the human condition, grace, forgiveness, and faith. Lizz’s passion and connection to this song outpours in a tender way and it pushes my empathy button.
“Southern Nights” and “Stars Fell On Alabama” (a simple and beautiful love song) mentally teleport you to the South with all of its charm.
“All The Way Here”, the one song that’s not a cover on this CD, and was written by Lizz, with Maia Sharp, for this CD, is beautiful and I think a testament to the ever-present, ever-searching spiritual and earthly sides of her.
And then there is “Barley”. It’s a very unique song and I love the way Lizz sings it. It makes me think of the South too.
When I was just 6 years old, my Dad took our family to see “King Creole”, one of Elvis’s early movies (maybe his first). In the movie there is an early morning scene near a market place in New Orleans (if I remember right). There was a lady, named Kitty White, who sang the song “Crawfish” (that’s what she was selling) with Elvis. The way she sang the word crawfish was magic to my young ears and eager heart.
The reason I brought this up is because in the song Barley, the way Lizz sings “Oh-oh-oh-0!” and ” Hey-eh-eh-hey”, reminds me of the lady singing “crawfish”. (You may not see the connection but it’s so clear to me.)
Back In Seattle
By the way, I’m in Seattle now as I write this post about my trip.
I’m listening to “Wash Me Clean” right now, as I take some French macarons out of the oven.
My daughter-in-law, Pauline (Evie’s and Ellis’s mom), loves these and tomorrow we are celebrating her 36th birthday.
Last year when we all went to Paris for nine days (I mentioned this in a previous post called, “Paris and Barcelona: Part 2”), she wanted to stop in the flagship macaron store and buy some. So we did.
So I’m going to surprise her with some homemade macarons. This is my first attempt to make these.
And that’s a wrap!! Hope she likes them!
Can you imagine how all that I’m doing right this minute gives me great pleasure?
Well, it does!
The Birthday Girl and family!
I encourage you to discover what you like to do best and make it a priority to do it.
I also would urge you to buy or download the new CD “Grace”, or any of Lizz’s music. You’ll be happy you did!
She’s a great source for goodness, light, love and inspiration.