I’m looking forward to coming out of the basement to talk about songwriting, literature and big art with Taina, Mr. Eck and Paul Grondahl – but of course, profoundly sad that Mr. Haymes won’t be there with us.
The Art of Songwriting: Taina Asili, Michael Eck, Bryan “Dr. Buggy Jive” Thomas Friday, April 26, 2019 7 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, University at Albany Downtown Campus.
Free and open to the public.
The Capital Region’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters will talk about the challenges and pleasures of their work.
Taina Asili, musician and activist, is the leader of local AfroLatin fusion group, La Banda Rebelde. Billboard featured her in a list of “11 Songs of Protest & Resistance by Latino Artists,” and The Huffington Post named her #2 on a list of “12 Freedom Fighting Bands To Get You Through the Trump Years.” Her songs are frequently featured on Democracy Now!
Michael Eck, writer, musician and host of WAMC’s American Roots Series, has produced four solo albums and is a member of several local bands. The Village Voice said, “Somewhere between lovelorn cowpoke and sardonic folkster is nose-pierced Albany NY dad Michael Eck, whose sharp lyrics and quick-witted guitar reflect all over like a broken mirror and shine with liberation like a tossed-aside wedding ring.”
Bryan “Buggy Jive” Thomas evokes Prince and Lenny Kravitz, but with a strong literary hook. The Times Union named him “Best Male Singer-Songwriter” for his 1999 acoustic hip-hop debut, “Radio Plastic Jennifer,” and his soul rock epic “Ones and Zeros” was Metroland’s 2002 “Album of the Year.” His new music video, “Stole My Stealing from Eliot,” a quirky homage to T. S. Eliot shot in London, Paris and Albany, is available on YouTube.
We join the Capital Region music community in mourning the passing of musician and journalist Greg Haymes, who died Wednesday, April 10. Greg had been scheduled with Taina, Michael, and Bryan on our Art of Songwriting panel discussion.
(And when I say “shortly,” I mean I was humming and singing the first line on the walk back to the hotel.)
This was also written just a few months after the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, so there’s some of that in here, too.
There is a studio version of this song in the works that you may or may not ever hear on the forthcoming album Literary Reparations, which may or may not ever be released.
Toni reads the New York Times with a
pencil in hand and a poet’s eye
She picks through the language upon the pages
She kills some words quickly; some, she lets suffer.
She be laughing as she slashes through others
But the laughter is not fun.
It is agency.
She be laughing on the regular
At them that try to edit her.
All of their so-called improvements just be
They change her titles, even changed her name
They make it worse; she takes the blame.
So her laughter is not silly.
It is serious.
She finds yet another editor’s crime.
So Toni begins to fantasize
About the reprimand.
She say: “Y’all got some nerve to capitalize
The final word in Paradise
What part of my Nobel Prize
do you not understand?”
But Toni’s too cool to say it.
But don’t confuse cool with complacency.
Listen for her laughter.
It is agency.
Harper had an editor, too.
Wanted to edit her Daddy.
Wanted to edit the messenger too.
Wanted to end it happy.
Editor be like: “This is not fully conceived.
Don’t make him who he was
Make him who we need him to be.”
Harper say: “He was both of these men at once.”
Thus the Lord said unto Harper Lee
“Go, set a watchman to declare what he see.
Go, set a trap for 2015.”
Harper laughs and waits so patiently
Because laughter is an agency.
The song is available on the new BUGGY JIVE MIXTAPE, which is now available to stream and download at all of the things – Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, BibbidyBo, CloudScam, SongJerk, TuneTurd and more.
And it’s a free download at BandCamp for a limited time, too.
“This is Not a Pipe” was not inspired by the painting “The Treachery of Images” by René Magritte.
Francais by Maya Elizabeth Thomas.
The fourth verse includes a shout out to Jason Martin and Power Animal Systems’ jam “Newsnet.”
Behind the Scenes
A little thing on the making of the video is on the way.