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I’ve been listening to Tori’s new album, Gold Dust. The songs on Gold Dust are reworkings of some of her previous songs, with accompaniment by The Metropole Orkest.

sights and sounds

I like it so far. I like the songs but sometimes I feel like the original emotion of the song is not there. Or it’s different. Or maybe it’s just me. It’s growing on me though.

I’ve only listened to it a few times so far. Flavor, Programmable Soda, and Snow Cherries from France seem to me the most transformed, and I like these new versions better than the originals. I also really like Precious Things and Jackie’s Strength.

Gold Dust contains some of my most favorite songs – Yes, Anastasia, Cloud on My Tongue, and Marianne.

It’s certainly an interesting selection of songs. Some I would not have expected, like Programmable Soda, Flavor, and Star of Wonder (which is making me look forward to the holiday season and Midwinter Graces!). Others are a given, like Winter and Yes, Anastasia.

Overall I’m enjoying it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Dawne

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I just love Christmas. The older I get, the more I enjoy it. Sure, it’s great when you’re a kid – waking up to a pile of presents, tearing them open, and swimming in a sea of gift wrap.

But as I get older, I appreciate the ideals that Christmas celebrates more and more. Choosing and giving gifts, spending time with loved ones, spreading a little cheer and kindness. And of course I love the decorations, the tree, wrapping gifts, and baking.

To me it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I also love love love Christmas songs. No matter what kind of mood I’m in, Christmas music makes me feel so happy. It’s all I listen to from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

These are 10 of my favorite songs, in no particular order:
1. Christmastime is Here – Vince Guaraldi
2. Happy Christmas (War is Over) – John Lennon (I like Sarah McLachlan’s version also)
3. The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole
4. Happy Holidays – Andy Williams (it’s not Christmas until I hear some Andy Williams)
5. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
6. A Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney
7. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee (best version!)
8. Silver and Gold – Burl Ives
9. that song without words from the Peanuts
10. O Holy Night – Josh Groban (so beautiful – gives me chills)

I’m also listening to Midwinter Graces by Tori Amos. It’s a great seasonal album, with a wide range of songs and musical styles.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

xoDawne

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tori amos

I’ve been meaning to post about Tori’s new album, Night of Hunters, for about a month now, but because of work and other time constraints – and inchies! – I haven’t had a chance.

It certainly is different from her prevous work. The music is really beautiful and so is her voice. I think Tori achieved her goal of presenting an epic song cycle about one woman’s journey, while touching on the themes and archetypes that are typical of classical music. The blend of story, lyrics, and music is done very well.

I have to say, I thought it was so funny – on the cd wrapper there was a sticker that said, and I’m paraphrasing, that the cd presents the journey of a woman whose story is only unravelled after traveling to mythic Ireland! Naturally. That’s where I unravel all of my stories.

The songs do present the story as myth. There are all sorts of creatures about – Annabelle, a shape-shifting creature of duality, the Star Whisperer, Cloudriders, the Fire Muse and the Seven Sisters.

There is also much mention of nature on this album – the sun, moon, stars, sea, trees, sky; nature serves as a secondary character. When I listen to the songs I imagine everything taking place outside, and much of the piano music gives a feeling of running or flying.

A delightful surprise is her daughter’s appearance on the album as the aforementioned Annabelle. Miss Hawley also appeared on Mid Winter Graces, but to a much lesser extent than on Night of Hunters. She has a great voice; it presents an interesting contrast to her mom’s. Miss Hawley sings on several songs, most notably Job’s Coffin (one of my favorites), where she sings pretty much the entire song.

I love the cd book, which is an actual little book (I have the deluxe version). The photographs are a bit stylized (they remind me of the photos for Abnormally Attracted to Sin) but are beautiful and complement the songs. I love her clothes too!

One thing that I have always loved and appreciated about Tori is her need/desire to take her art in different directions, a clear characteristic of a true artist. Each of her albums is different, and you never know what you’re going to get! She is quite brave in that regard, because when an artist tries different things, there is always the risk of disapproval from the fans. And certainly for Tori several of her albums have been received in a not-so-happy manner from some of her fans. However I have always loved her work, and I can’t imagine her creating anything that I wouldn’t like. The basic themes that she is concerned with are always there, as well as her poetical and metaphorical lyrics.

Also I know some of her fans are tired of the themed albums, but I don’t mind them at all. I appreciate the extra work she puts into them, and I feel like it gives my brain more to play with! I like that she wants to create a whole world for her albums.

My favorite songs on Night of Hunters include Shattering Sea, Snowblind, Battle of Trees, Fearlessness, Job’s Coffin, and Nautical Twilight. I think my most favorite though might be Star Whisperer. I don’t know yet who exactly the Star Whisperer is, but I’m very intrigued. I love the lines “why have you locked up your sky? Night sky whisper me back to life.” And there’s something about the music and lyrics and her voice – it’s all very dramatic and I just love it. It’s my song.

Have a wonderful day!

xoDawne

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Tori has a new album coming in September, Night of Hunters.

night of hunters

It is a “21st century song cycle inspired by classical music themes spanning over 400 years”, according to the press release. In her own words: “I have used the structure of a classical song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter.”

She has been recording with Apollon Musagete, a Polish string quartet (who apparently will be touring with her as well). It all sounds quite intriguing. Can’t wait to hear it!

I have tickets to her show at the Academy of Music in December (my poor husband gets dragged to yet another Tori concert!)

In the meantime I’m listening to The Beekeeper, which is my summer Tori album. Some of my favorite songs – Parasol, The Power of Orange Knickers, Jamaica Inn, Barons of Suburbia, Sleeps with Butterflies, Ribbons Undone, The Beekeeper, Goodbye Pisces, and Marys of the Sea.

Thanks for stopping by!

xoDawne

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new mags
I bought the new issues of Somerset Studio (March/April)…

somerset studio

…and Somerset Digital Studio (Spring).

digital studio

Both beautiful, as always.

I see my submission for the “simple pleasures” theme for Somerset Studio did not make it in…Not to worry. I’ve got plenty more stuff to submit!

Lately though I realize I need to step up my artwork. I notice I keep doing the same sort of thing – pretty background, vintage photo of woman, some words. Nothing wrong with that of course, but if I want to get anywhere I need to push it more. I feel like I’m not being so creative. One thing that makes it difficult for me is a lack of time for simply playing and experimenting. I have so little time to create that it’s hard for me to use that time to try new techniques – I feel like I need to make a full, complete project rather than just messing around.

I’d like to play with paint more. I’d like to experiment with different techniques to make pretty background papers. I need to schedule a play date!

It’s funny how, when I have a new magazine, as I’m paging through it, I either feel so inspired and in awe of all the cool things these women (and a few men!) have created, and I think, I can do this!

Or I feel completely uncreative, dejected, and depressed. Which is how I felt this time looking through my new Somerset Studio. Not because it’s a bad issue – on the contrary, it’s wonderful as usual. Just my own insecurity and frustration popping up.

Frustration = trying to change things you can’t do anything about. Like having a limited amount of time to pursue one’s passion. Or dealing with a 4-year old and her many clothing issues, which have even caused me to be late to work on occasion recently.

But I digress.

come on get happy
I bought some new music, which always makes me happy. I got a Judy Garland album – That Old Feeling: Ballads from the Judy Garland Show. This would be the influence of listening to the Singers & Swing music channel on tv – you know, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Julie London, Doris Day, etc. I really like listening to this music, and it’s music that I can play with my daughter around.

I’ve listened to it a couple times and I really like it so far.

I also recently bought all my favorite Elton John songs – the classics, of course – Rocket Man, Daniel, Levon, Someone Saved My Life, etc. I love love love these songs so much – I could just have them on repeat all day. They make me feel so happy!

xoDawne

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sweet sister temperance
she of the marble-hearted innocence.
so ill-equipped in her mute despair,
with two smooth bands of reddish hair.

Sweet Sister Temperance, by Rasputina

nothing but tunes
This is the music episode – I have a lot of new music I’ve bought recently. I love my music. Music is so powerful – I think it might be the most powerful art form.

I have no musical abilities myself. At least none that I know of. I can’t sing. I’ve never tried playing any instruments, although I’d love try piano or cello, but I wonder if a left-handed person can play either one? That’s for when I retire anyway, so I’ve got time to do some research.

Anyway…

Rasputina – I am very much enjoying the new album Sister Kinderhook. So far Sweet Sister Temperance, My Night Sky, Afternoon of the Faun, and This, My Porcelain Life are my favorites, although all of the songs are good. This is a more acoustic sounding album, compared to the last few. I don’t think there are any electric cellos this time!

Sarah MacLachlan – got her new album Laws of Illusion – the deluxe version with the dvd, although I haven’t watched the dvd yet. It’s ok. To be fair her albums usually take some time to grow on me. And by time I mean a year or two. Which is strange because I really love her music. She went through a divorce, so there are a lot of songs about relationships ending, which I find depressing. I do like Rivers of Love and Loving You is Easy. This album seems more “rockin'” (if that’s ever a word to use for Sarah’s music!) – it just seems more solid-sounding, louder, not so ethereal. I may stop listening to it and pick it up again later.

Mozart – I bought my first non-opera classical music – Mozart: Violin Sonatas K. 310, 304, 376 & 526, with Hilary Hahn and Natalie (unfortunately I cannot find out what Natalie’s last name is right now – I’m having Itunes issues!). I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, but the sonatas are light and pretty-sounding. That’s a pretty weak description – I know nothing about classical music, but I’m learning little by little. I love the piano and violin together.

Audrey Assad – I bought her new album The House You’re Building. I’ve only listened to it twice, but I like it a lot it so far. She has a beautiful voice – one of the reviews compared her to Sarah McLachlan, and I can hear some similarity. I had never heard of her before I bought this album. I like the “quietness” of her songs – they are gentle, subtle, and honest. I look forward to getting to know this album.

So that’s it for the music. Now on to…

a little bit of creativity
I’ve picked up my Polyshrink again – I had started some pieces I’m embarrassed to even say how long ago (a year!). I’m working on more of my “fragments” components, and I’m trying out the black Polyshrink as well, which I’ve never used before. I’m still in the process of punching out the shapes and holes – and one of my punches broke in mid-punch! It’s disappointing because they are not inexpensive and I haven’t had it that long, but I guess I’ll just have to get another one. At least I got a bunch of shapes punched out with it before it broke. My goal is to make some jewelry to submit to Belle Armoire Jewelry – it’s one of my short-term goals over the next three months.

And finally, after years (years!) of desiring to learn how to solder, I purchased all the supplies I need to get started. I am so excited! I decided to make things simple and purchased the Simply Swank Simply Solder Creative Art Kit, by Lisa Bluhm (I got it from Stampington). I have her book, Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories, which is excellent (you can read a review of it on my Librarian page), so I figured that her products would be excellent as well. The kit comes with all the basic supplies you need – soldering iron and stand, clamps, solder, flux, copper foil tape, glass. I bought some extra glass too for practice. As soon as I am done with the Polyshrink I will be happily diving into the world of soldering. Yay!

Not sure if I mentioned before that I submitted a few pages of my Sweetie Darling book to Somerset Digital Studio. Wish me luck!

~toodles~

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let’s celebrate!
We had Julian’s graduation party last Saturday, at the clubhouse where my Grammom lives. Our house is smiply too small for more than 15 people, and even that is pushing it. Anyway, it turned out quite nice – everyone enjoyed themselves (I think!) and Felicia got to meet the rest of the family (poor girl!). I made most of the food, and then we bought hoagies, tomato pie, and soft pretzels. My Mom of course had to make a speech. Some photos…oh, and I never did make Julian’s scrapbook – I realized about two weeks before the party that there was no way it was going to happen. I decided to focus on making a photoboard instead, with the plan of finishing (and starting!) the scrapbook at a later date.

my little boy

my little boy

my little boy

my little boy

my little boy

To make the photoboard, I bought a foamcore poster board and covered one side with white cardstock, folding it over the edges to make it look nice. My Mom had jotted down notes about Julian when he was a baby and then a toddler – things he did, things he liked. I typed these in Word and then printed them out onto blue and green cardstock. I trimmed these and glued them on top of the white cardstock. I gathered my photos, scanned them, edited them in Photoshop, and printed them onto white cardstock. Then I glued them on the photoboard – most of them I glued flat down, but for several I used foam squares to give the photoboard some dimension and extra interest. Silver star stickers were the final touch. I like how it turned out, and besides gathering, scanning, and editing the photos, really did not take that long to put together.

not a fan of country, but…
I recently bought Jewel’s last album Perfectly Clear. This is her foray into country music. Now I am not a fan of country music, although I have tried it out from time to time (I like to try out different musical genres occasionally – you never know what might strike your fancy!). But Jewel is one of my favorite artists, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I’m not loving it, but it’s not too bad. It’s just…country music. Which to me seems to be simpler in terms of lyrics and messages, whereas I prefer music that is poetical and metaphorical and the more complicated the better.

I do think her songs on this album are simpler than on her previous albums – I miss the political edge and social commentary from her other work. The songs on Perfectly Clear are pretty much all about relationships, which does not do a lot for me.

Jewel has a new album – Sweet and Wild – again a country album. I’ll get it eventually. I’m willing to give it a chance, only because it’s Jewel.

Lately I’ve been listening to The Beekeeper by Tori Amos. I purposely chose to listen to this album when the weather got hot – it’s a very “summery” sort of album. The vocals and music are lush and warm, and it’s definitely her “lightest” album in terms of sound. I don’t know why, but certain of her albums I will only listen to during certain seasons.

~bon soir!

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