Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rattlesnake Confusion - June 2007

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…”
”Karn Evil 9” ~ Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Feels a bit pretentious to be using that as this month’s title, but as I’ve never been much for self-reflection and soul searching, I’m wondering why I’m starting now. Originally, it was going to be one of those “the more things change, the more they stay the same” rants about the death of Jerry Falwell, presidential candidates’ debates, and the Iraq War. I never made it there. The truth is that this didn’t start out to be about my birthday, but I’m writing part of it on that day, so I guess you’ll forgive me if I self-indulge. On this birthday that I share with Bob Dylan, I always listen to his music. I doubt he’s returning the favor by reading my stuff, but hey, he’s a busy guy.

Modern Times isn’t my favorite Dylan record by any means, but it was the only Dylan CD in my 200-CD changer. Nashville Skyline was sitting on my turntable, but I’ve already spun that one a few times because a friend recently sent me a pristine half-speed mastered vinyl copy (Thanks, Donelle!) so I sat in the backyard in the growing darkness and listened to Dylan’s newest record. The Dylan on Modern Times is a far, far cry from the young, angry poet-folkie who spat out his lyrics like he believed in the power of a fascist-killing machine, but you gotta admire someone who avoids burning out while figuring out new ways to sneak around the fading away part.

In his younger days, Dylan wrote that “he not busy being born is busy dying.” It’s not that you need to completely reinvent yourself, but why deny yourself the rush of pleasure that comes with a new experience? Aristotle said “wonder implies the desire to learn,” so use a sense of wonder to help keep a fresh viewpoint and an open mind while staying true to your roots. I have a few constants: family, Hank Williams, Levi’s and my library card, but a lot of the rest is negotiable. We should always strive to learn something new, from old farts like Aristotle or Dylan, or even me…and my lesson for you is:

Just because rust never sleeps doesn’t mean I can’t take a power nap, dammit!

Rattlesnake-recommended June events:
June 1 – Sean Costello & Precious Bryant – Uptown Concert Series, Columbus GA
June 2 – Paul Thorn, the Loft, Columbus GA
June 8 & 9 – Alex City Jazzfest, Alexander City AL
June 22-24 – Athfest, Athens GA

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