Jane's Musical Takeaway

Tom Mason's Musical Meditations 

Recently I find I've fallen down the well of Tom Mason's lastest album, Slide Guitar Meditations. This amazing singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist never disappoints - whether he's singing original sea chanteys with the Blue Buccaneers, composing songs for a performance of Shakespeare's 12th Night, or writing contemporary tunes with insightful and evocative lyrics. By his own admission, 'this music was created to help quiet the mind', adding that the music 'is a metaphorical voyage, a personal musical departure . . . about taking a journey with the listener.' All backing instruments are played by Mason in addition to his slide guitar artistry, and the resulting album is indeed a travelogue of the mind. Although I suspect I could go to sleep listening to it, I haven't yet managed because I'm fascinated by all the new and different things I hear each time: something Hindi, a bit of Middle Eastern, hints of neo-Celtic Appalachian, even a suggestion of Pink Floyd.

I simply cannot recommend this album highly enough, and I hope that you will take a moment to check out 'Slide Guitar Meditations' by Tom Mason. You can listen to his album in its entirety on bandcamp where you can also purchase the album in digital or physical format. If you're unfamiliar with bandcamp they are an amazing platform which gives most of the proceeds back to the artist (where it belongs). You can find contemporary composers such as Philip Glass or Steve Reich there, as well as singer-songwriters and bands in any number of different genres; it's literally a treasure trove of music to explore. 

Art Matters 

Early this morning I listened to Neil Gaiman's Audible recording of his book Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World. Even though I had read the book several times, hearing the words in Gaiman's voice was a remarkably profound experience. If you're not familiar with this volume, I would encourage you to read it. The book speaks not only to the significance of the written word (in all its various forms), but to the importance of libraries and librarians, and most importantly, to the value of nurturing the imagination.

Gaiman's Twitter bio reads as follows: will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making things up and writing them down. I hope Neil Gaiman never grows up; he still has so very much to share with us.

Welcome to my new website! 

My website has now migrated to my new web host, but the transition has presented a steep learning curve along with myriad problems to solve. The basic features are here, but I was unable to recreate the previous episodes of Jane's Musical Takeaway in this new format. This may be the logical time to make the jump to vlogs on YouTube (which has always been the plan for the JMT), but it's also the start of a new teaching term and I still have some technological challenges with video formatting and filming for YouTube.

I've decided this year's motto must certainly be 'Change is good'. I'll try to keep you all updated as often as possible. In the meantime, please sign up for my new mailing list! (You can find the link at the bottom of the home page.)

See you soon, and happy new year!