My husband has two Martins–those are spectacular guitars in case you didn’t know–and I benefit from the acoustic sounds he sends wafting through the house. Today its “Statesboro Blues,” followed by “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Other days it might be something softer–or wilder, depending on his mood.
I’ve just finished reading Testimony by Robbie Robertson, the super-talented (I rarely use that word) member (and I would add organizer) of The Band. His autobiography is terrific, written by a true story-teller, though I wish it went beyond its ending to the last days of his life. I’d like to know how he faced his 70s up to his recent death at age 80. He struck me as smart, caring of everyone he worked with or met, and supremely committed to making music–as if it were his main reason to be alive. I’ve been playing “Stage Fright” and other CDs with his remarkable songs.
Once fame hit, he owned dozens of especially made and rare guitars of all sorts. In the mid-seventies he toured with The Band and Bob Dylan. My husband, Bill, who I did not know then (I was busy having babies in my first marriage) saw one of their amazing concerts.
As I read Testimony, I wondered why, back then, drugs seemed part of all musicians’ lives (may still be for some). Never part of mine, it is difficult to understood what drove them to drugs. The dangers of drugs brought so many to unnecessary, early deaths. I have trouble understanding why creative people can’t find their “high” simply in the music-making itself. Music can carry one to a euphoric state all by itself. It’s magnificent combinations of sounds enchant, surprise, delight, take one on a journey. Just listening to music is a powerful experience, an experience not unlike painting. One listens and follows and learns and marvels.
I remember a particular day long ago in my public studio in Fisherville, TN when I painted from early morning to evening, unconscious of time. Absorbed in the creative process, I knew nothing else–no duties, no place, no people, nothing but painting. This sometimes still happens but not for as long or often. Creating is difficult to describe. There is this voice, this image, this message, this other world, this compulsion that pushes, that gives birth to some creation, through, yet beyond, myself. In the moment, the making of art is all that is real.
I imagine when Robbie wrote music and played his guitar, the same thing happened to him.
Art Work: Simply Paint, oil/mixed media w/original poetry, 24″ x 24″, $975. New this Spring/Summer, this is one of a series of abstracts that called my creativity through my poetry while I listened to music, as well as my love of many mediums from charcoal pencil to pastel to watercolor to oil. Watercolor has to happen first to get the flow and because it cannot go over oil. Charcoal and pastel start early, too, but become infused with oil in final stages for permanency.