Saturday, September 11, 2010

Opposing forces

It's spectacular outside today. The sky is its most beautiful shade of blue. The sun is shining brightly, sparkling as it hits the just-turning leaves. There's a cool, but not chilly, breeze.

It's totally unsettling.

It's unsettling, of course, because nine years ago today was a day just like this. I drove the same streets, walked the same paths, and soaked in the glory of the same sort of beautiful day with a heaviness that my heart had never known before. The parallels outside today make the painful memories of 9/11 even more acute.

And yet, despite the painful memories, there is no denying that today is a spectacular, glorious, gift-from-above day. It's a day that demands appreciation and gratitude.

I'm guest-posting today, as I do on the eleventh of every month, over at Hopeful Parents, and my post takes a deeper look at the kind of dynamic tension that the opposing forces of today's weather create for me. I hope you'll click here to read it.

In the meantime, Bud and I are off to revel in this glorious day.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Backpedaling up on the ridge

Sometimes it's great to be wrong.

Remember a few months ago when I wrote about Dierks Bentley's latest album, Up on the Ridge? And remember how I talked about the risk he was taking by producing a bluegrass-inspired album that stood in stark contrast to the mainstream market, which, in my estimation, "is a market that sometimes seems to reward conformity over innovation, and an industry that too often uses valuable prime-time network TV slots not to showcase the best of what country music has to offer, but to market a select number of carefully groomed country artists, promoting them as potential crossover artists to the lucrative pop-dominated airwaves."

You may not have realized it at the time, but my subtext there was "I'm talking to YOU, CMAs."

Um, yeah.

About that.

This morning, this year's CMA award nominations were announced. Dierks Bentley is nominated for three awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year - for Up on the Ridge, that not-so-mainstream, outside-the-box, bluegrass-inspired album that I thought would be under-appreciated by the likes of the CMA.

I'm positively FEASTING on my words.

There's a message in these nominations, I think - a message about being who you are and doing what you love and not worrying about how other people will react to it. It's the same philosophy that underscores my parenting with my not-so-mainstream, outside-the box, bluegrass-inspired son. I'll say it again: the boy chooses his heroes well.

So, congratulations to Dierks on the most well-deserved nominations of this year's bunch. Up on the Ridge gets better every time I hear it. Bud and I will be tuning in on November 10, and we'll be hoping for continued good judgment from the members of the Country Music Association.

I would love to be even more wrong.