Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lomax-a-Day, Day 26

You'll have to forgive me for posting this a day late. Last night I played a solo show opening for my friends Jim Stier and the Volunteers. I performed my favorite Lomax songs, so it was kind of like I was doing my Lomax-a-Day. But, in order to complete my goal of recording a song out of each section of the book, I need to do six more. This means no skipping a day! The good news is, I've entered the final geographical section, called 'the Negro South.' It's full of spirituals, reels, and blues, and it's the section I'm most excited to explore. So I should have no trouble with this home stretch.

No better way to start a day than by singing a beautiful spiritual. I recommend it to anyone with the midwinter blues. "When the Stars Begin to Fall" is a song I grew up on; we always sang a similar but more white protestant hymn-y version at my family's church. Singing hymns, and the feeling of community it made, was by far the best part of church. From an early age the black spirituals were my favorites. The lyrics of this one are so perfectly thankful:

My Lord, what a mornin'!
My Lord, what a mornin'!
My Lord, what a mornin'!
When the stars begin to fall!
You'll hear the sinner moan
To wake the nations underground,
Lookin' to my God's right hand
When the stars, the stars begin to fall.

The only nations underground I woke today were my downstairs neighbors. Is 7:45am too early to be hollering my appreciation for the loveliness of the morning?

When I started to record, the gray Portland clouds were shrouding the dim sky out of my apartment's east windows. Slowly, a sliver of yellow pushed up from the horizon. Layers of purple and pink and blue piled on. Now, a brilliant morning sun is beaming through the bare trees, through the dew and dust on the window, in onto my sleepy face. My Lord, what a morning!

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