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Category: State College

POEM: Good afternoon, Stan Getz.

Good afternoon, Stan Getz.

Good afternoon, Stan Getz.
I used to know what most of these
Portuguese words mean but now I don’t.
As I was typing the lines above I remembered
that you (not you, Stan, the other you)
also liked this album a lot.
In fact when I made us a nice dinner,
timed for the moment you got home from work,
it’s what I’d put on in the background.
My son is down the hall now,
listening to hip hop that’s fighting
with the soft drums of Milton Banana.
What a great name: Milton Banana.
I don’t know if his last name is said
like we’d say the fruit but I sure hope so.
Anyway back to my son:
Last night we had a long conversation
about the nature of happiness & security
& it turns out he has his own ideas
on those subjects & many others.
I love being surprised by what & how he thinks.
(Now Astrud is singing & I’m missing you.)
(Not you, Stan. Again, sorry.)
There’s a dog tucked up behind me on the sofa.
I chose “sofa” there because it sounds more
sophisticated than “couch” & this
is sophisticated music, you know?
Anyway, Stan, what was I saying?
I think the point is there’s a little snow on the leaves
on the ground on this little patch of planet &
that always means it’s time to dig into the vaults
for the good stuff from back in the day.
You’re one of the good things, buddy, so out you come.
Ha! Good one, Stan. Now you’re playing “Summertime.”

/ / /

27 November 2021
State College PA

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Review: Tyne and The Fastlyne at Zeno’s

tyne

(28 April 2015) STATE COLLEGE, PA — First of all, all I’m going to do here is gush. Second, I’m going to call them a bluegrass band, even though they do other things. I’m going to call them that because if somebody asked me, “What do they sound like” I’d say, “Like a grittier Union Station,” and that there’s a bluegrass band, more or less. Whatever you call them, Tyne and The Fastlyne are one of central Pennsylvania’s best bands, and could go banjo-to-banjo with anybody anywhere.

Tyne Palazzi sings and plays banjo at such a high level that it’s breathtaking to hear her. The musician sitting next to me had never heard her before and was completely enraptured the whole time. “I didn’t expect this,” he said. Palazzi’s banjo playing is effortless. Even when she’s playing the most complicated figures or soloing way up in the teensy frets, she looks like it’s the easiest thing in the world. And her voice. Sweet lord, her voice. I know this is a facile comparison, but when I walked in they were playing Mick Ralphs’ “Oh, Atlanta,” which for me will always be an Alison Krauss song (watch), and Tyne nailed it. There are very few singers whom I can compare favorably to Krauss, but Tyne Palazzi makes that list.

tyne2Bill “Wiggus” Wilgus shreds on mandolin and guitar. He’s a complete joy to listen to because he employs his impressive chops in the service of the music, never as a means of grabbing attention. And when he and Palazzi are playing lines in unison or trading solos, it’s a thing of beauty. He also adds harmony vocals (as do drummer Kevin Lowe and bassist John Kennedy), something every bluegrass outfit needs.

Lowe and Kennedy are rock solid. Music like this absolutely depends on strong rhythm. The relationship of the bass and drums to the rest of the band is more complex than you might think, though. In the best bluegrass music, the banjo and other stringed instruments are also carrying a lot of the rhythmic load, so the rhythm section needs to be solid but sensitive. Kennedy and Lowe fit this bill perfectly. Kennedy even stepped to the front to sing a song while I was there: Johnny Cash’s relationship tale “Mean Eyed Cat.”

This band just happens to be based in central PA. If you walked in on them in a club anywhere in the U.S., you’d think you’d walked in on a very special night. And you’d be right.

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POEM: Saturday afternoon at the bookstore

store

Saturday afternoon at the bookstore

picture this place
as the shimmering sight
of water after a long trip
across the burning desert
glistening with welcome

:

it’s sunny as fuck
Everything But The Girl
is spinning on the dusty turntable
shuffle shuffle
shuffle shuffle

there’s a little curly-haired kid
wandering the store
speaking that gibberish
toddlers mean. so. much.
but nobody understands

some folks are dressed for summer
fooled by the light
most are dressed for winter
shell-shocked by the coldest
February and March on record

a very elderly man plays chess
against a teenage boy
it’s not clear who’s winning
or whether winning
is even the point

new record: XTC
Andy’s respectable street
now two little girls
chase each other, screaming
running behind the counter

/ / /

Jason Crane
4 April 2015
State College, PA

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POEM: onion snow

onion

onion snow

Years ago I left the North;
ended up in a place where
people wear shorts outside
at Christmastime.

I thought I’d died and gone
to heaven, except Tucson
was real. Carne asada
enchiladas, elegante style,

served during the set break
at the restaurant where we
played for the salseros.
It all seems so long ago.

Now the onion snow falls
on the recycling bin
outside the store as I leave
work to walk home.

It’s called onion snow,
presumably, because
the sight of it this close
to April makes one cry.

/ / /

Jason Crane
1 April 2015
Oak Street

I’m not sure if I’ll write a poem each day in April. And honestly, this one was written a few minutes after midnight on April 2, so I guess I already missed the first day.

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