Wednesday, June 10, 2009

lil somethin from LilRev

I'm actually glad that my Tuesday was so long (went from my third shift job to Mass, and then to Mequon for the last day of the district LCMS convention), because when I fell asleep, which Ruth tells me was somewhere around 7 hours after the meridien, I pretty much stayed asleep until 8 this morning! I can't believe it. But it's true. I think it was more than just Tuesday that did it to me; evidently, I needed the rest. So I started the day with the odd temporary weariness that a body has when it's been in the same place for so long, coupled with the thought that I was going to miss Mass today. But then I began to realize that this could be an unusually good and productive day off. I might, just might, get a few things done that have been put off. (If those tasks & projects had a mind of their own, they'd surely say they're a bit "put off" by my having put them off so long. Don't you love phrases that take on such idiomatic lives of their own?) So I'm thankful to have a day in the study.

Just in case you were wondering, Frederick I, Barbarosa (ie., Red Beard), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, died on this day in 1190.

After you take a moment to ponder the High Middle Ages, I would like to call your attention to one of my favorite living musicians, and definitely my favorite local Milwaukee musician, Lil Rev. Living with the Wiests for a few years at ULC meant, among other things, that I was introduced to men like Lil Rev. Fr. Wiest even invited him to play at our basement "coffeehouse" at ULC, which Lil Rev himself recalled when I met up with him recently. After the regular daily Mass one day a few weeks back my friend, Fr. Mike Carter, my pastor, Fr. May, and I were enjoying a post missam cup of coffee in a coffee house in Third Ward (Bella's), talking theology, reading the Onion-you know, the usual- when we noticed an ad in the Onion for a show that Lil Rev was going to do a few days thence at a Linneman's, a fine little drinking establishment just a few blocks from my house in Riverwest. So I took a mental note of the date of the gig, and in the words of John Lee Hooker, "I decided I drop in there that night." But first, since I knew that Mike would enjoy a nice evening of American folk & blues, I went over to the coffee house on Brady Street where I knew he'd be likely to be found, and from there we headed to Linneman's.

With that unnecessary background, let me say that though there was a small crowd that night, it was one of the most enjoyable sets I've heard in many years. Lil Rev plays many different stringed instruments, along with the harmonica and even the kazoo. He teaches music at UWM, has written a couple of books on the ukelele, and is known and respected around the country for his commitment to American folk and blues music, especially that of the early twentieth century. Please visit his website, buy his music, and see him when you get the opportunity. Here is a little taste of Lil Rev from the You Tube world.

Cheers, and don't forget tomorrow is Corpus Christi.

1 comment:

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

By the way, you might think I was just having fun with all the links I provide in this post, but some of them are really informative, and will give you a more detailed flavor of the culture of my part of town, such as the link to the Riverwest newspaper.