Tag: Music

Tunes for Tuesday: Skynyrd!

Lynyrd Skynrd is an American rock band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964. They performed under different names and with varying line-ups for several years, finally settling on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.

Growing up in Massachusetts, I was aware of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I did not fully appreciate the southern rock genre until I later moved to Tennessee. However, once I began to listen more, I was hooked. These good ole boys set the standard for southern rock with genius-level musical talent combined with the ability to write songs that spoke to the hearts of American listeners across this nation.

So much of their music was just good foot-stomping fun. This was always one of my favorites. I still sing along with it today when nobody is in earshot!

Gimme Three Steps (Knebworth Fair, 1976)

I sometimes think life would be so much better for us all if people would take to heart the simple advice in this next song, another of my favorites.

Simple Man (Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 1977)

Following a concert at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977, the band boarded a chartered Convair CV-240 bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. Running out of fuel, the plan crashed in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi.

Ronnie Van Zant. Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, the assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact. Other band members, including Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins, as well as the tour manager Ron Eckerman and several road crew members, suffered severe injuries.

The band later reformed with Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny (formally of .38 Special), taking over as lead vocalist. In the video below, Johnny Van Zant and the boys are performing a rare live version of The Ballad of Curtis Lowe. The original Skynyrd line-up only played the song once on stage. It was not played again until the tribute tour with Johnny.

The Ballad of Curtis Lowe (Virginia, 1998)

How’s about a little boogie … Lynyrd Skynyrd style!

I Know A Little (Coca Cola Star Lake Amphitheater, 1997)

While in their early years, the band had a reputation for partying hard and brawling on occasion, one thing they always got right was the music!

You Got That Right (1977, Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ)

Of course, in today’s “oh so perpetually offended” society, I am sure Lynyrd Skynyrd would catch hell because of the rebel flags and “southern whiteness” of their music. It’s really too bad. These good ole boys put out some great music that appealed to rockers of all races, religions, and creeds.

I think the narrow-mindedness of so many people today deprives them of some really great opportunities to expand their cultural awareness. Oh well!

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other Tunes for Tuesday blog posts by clicking here!

And also, if you enjoy reading a good action-adventure story, check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com! It’s getting really rave reviews.

Thoughtful Solitude … A Source Of Strength!

Thoughts in Solitude

Some of my readers may have noticed I took a small break in posting to my blog. Sometimes life can take the wind out of our sales and we simply need some time to get our feet planted firmly back under ourselves. I recently found myself in such a state. That is because my mother recently passed away. This came as an unexpected, sudden shock to us all. Diagnosed with lung cancer just before Easter, she went to be with her God on Sunday, June 10th. Needless to say, my mind has just been elsewhere for the past few weeks. Solitude can sometimes be a helpful, healing thing.

While Mom will most certainly be deeply missed, the purpose of this post is not to engender sympathy or condolences. My mother was a strong woman and led an amazing life. Growing up in the small town of Ilion, NY with blue collar parents, she became a registered nurse at Albany Medical Center and then later, an excellent mathematics teacher. Quite the artist, she specialized in pastels and watercolors and was a member of the Fine Line Art Gallery for 10 years. A lover of music, she sang in choirs, and served as a choir director at several churches. Mom also sang with several choral groups and performed on concert tours in Central Europe, Turkey, at Carnegie Hall, and the White House. She traveled most of the world and much of the continental United States and Canada. She embraced life firmly standing on her own two feet and she lived her life to the fullest.

Quiet Faith

Mom was a woman quietly strong in her faith. She accepted her situation with grace, strength, and courage, and when the outcome became clear, her faith and courage made things easier for the rest of her family. How many of us wonder how well we will handle things if we find ourselves in such a situation. How do we hope to find the strength to deal with situations like this? It is seeking an answer to this question that is my motivation for writing this post. I do believe that, like my mother, I am a person of quiet but strong faith. I certainly do not attempt to push my beliefs on anyone; nor will I argue with people about their beliefs. That is what “Freedom of Religion” is truly all about … not the political manipulations we see all over the news today. I can only hope that when my time comes, I can meet it with the same grace, strength, and courage exhibited by my mother. So where does that grace, strength, and courage stem from?

Solitude and Reflection

Shortly after my mother died, my father discovered a quote my mother had saved to a folder on their computer. He shared it with my brother, my mother’s sister, and me. With the grief over my mother’s death still very new and raw, I must admit reading it brought real tears to my eyes. While it was difficult to read, at the same time, it had a very different affect on me. I suddenly understood so much more about my mother and the source of her strength and courage.

I seem to remember that my mother spent a week at some kind of retreat which I believe was held at a Trappist Monastery. It was a week spent in silence, prayer and personal reflection. Maybe this was where she found this quote … or maybe it came later from reading inspired by her experience. I am not sure. However, when I read the quote, I was struck by the simple, open honesty of the words, and the trust in a pure relationship with a loving God. I cannot help but feel that such a faith could only be beneficial to whoever kept it.

The quote is from Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk of the Abbey of Gethsemane, KY.  Merton was a prolific poet and writer on spiritual social themes. He lived from 1915 until 1968.

From “Thoughts in Solitude”

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead my by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Is that not a powerful statement of faith? I do not normally share such personal things on my blog, but in this case, and especially if it helps someone else find the hope, courage, or strength they need, I think my mother would approve.