Randy Newman: Better with Age


early-music-quintet

I’ve always been hard pressed to pick a “favorite musical artist”. My tastes are broad, encompassing styles from myriad genres, eras, writers, lyricists, composers, players and entertainers from across the globe, spanning centuries.

At times I favor a certain type over another.  Two things are constant: I always return to the blues, where I always find comfortable shoes and Randy Newman’s music never fails to give me goose-bumps.

I get goose bumps when something connects with me on a subconscious level.  It can happen ever time I hear a favorite passage regardless of when I last heard it.

Goose bumps guide me through life. That’s how I first suspected that I loved my wife.  I get them when movies grab me, they pop up when I listen to very good music and as I read exceptionally well-crafted, words.  The spoken word, poetry, homilies and speeches can give me goosebumps.  Bush’s words never did.  Obama’s frequently do.

Randy Back in the Day

Flipping around cable this morning, I stumbled across Barry Levinson’s “Avalon,’ which I remembered as a good film.  I watched for several minutes trying to recall its plot, then realized that the soundtrack was typical Randy Newman.  Of course, I stayed put.  Some of his movie works rank among his best and “Avalon” is one of those.  “Ragtime” is another.

My sons, both roughly the same age I was when I discovered Randy Newman, love him nearly  as much as I do. I’ve seen him live three times and each was a true reward. I hope to see him live again. If he asked me to, I’d do his laundry.

I’ve been listening to his latest CD, “Harps and Angels” which my eldest son gave me for Christmas.  We actually traded-I gave him one as well.

randy-harps

As I listened to “Avalon’s” closing piece, cranked up on my TV, the song (devoid of lyrics) yielded the predictable goose-bumps.  The stark, yet lush beauty of its simple melody provokes multiple emotions.  At that moment, I realized something that had escaped me all these years.

I do have a favorite musician/composer, Randy Newman.  No matter what he does, he still can transport me back to college, where I first heard him on a promo that arrived at the college-based, FM Public Radio station at which I labored for minimum wage (an LP I still own).  It was Randy live, plunking the piano and singing in his inimitable, “take it or leave it” manner.

Since then, his humor, wit, irreverence, political commentary, musicianship, versatility, intelligence and rare gifts as a storyteller who can break all the rules yet still create magic never ceases to amaze, excite and please me.

So, Here’s to Randy Newman…A man of many faces, characters, voices (even though his own is limited) and artistic integrity.  Your being here has enriched my life, as I imagine it has countless others.  I hope and pray that you outlive me, because I can’t imagine not looking forward to your next project.   You continue to surprise even though your work always “Feels Like Home” to me.

Thanks for everything and God Bless you, Randy!

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7 Responses to Randy Newman: Better with Age

  1. titirangistoryteller says:

    Great blog! Been stopping in every so often as you go by on alpha… I think I should bookmark you…

    Also a bit of a Randy Newman fan, myself… not as much as you, but I don’t think he’s ever done anything I didn’t like…

    Cheers
    Veronica

  2. Paul Sonderman says:

    Thanks for your visits and comments. It’s nice to hear that alpha is generating readers. Glad you like the blog.

  3. Paul Sonderman says:

    Veronica,

    By the way, I clicked away at your blog and it’s simply wonderful. Hard to pick a favorite post.

    I bookmarked you and will return frequently. I hope you don’t mind if I link to you as well.

    You’re a terrific writer and a woman of many talents. Titirangi looks incredible.

    Thanks again,
    -p

  4. Hi there!

    I wandered by from Alpha Inventions and happened upon your blog. Love your style. I understand and am right with you on your political views, and I get the “goose-bump” thing.

    Have always had Randy Newman on my radar, but I’m not sure I’ve really listened until I read this post. Thank you.

    Best of luck to you with the blog; I will be back:)

  5. creativegreenius says:

    Another excellent post on my favorite singer/song writer as well. We’re fortunate here in the L.A. area to get to see Randy perform fairly regularly and it’s always a treat.

    I’ve adopted “Laugh and Be Happy” from the current Harps & Angels album as my personal ultra sardonic theme song. Remember what Lily Tomlin taught us, “No matter how cynical I get, I find I can’t keep up.”

    Hey – I found your blog via Alpha Inventions today, but from now on I’ll find it from the bookmark I made with this address.

    Take care in that brutal Ohio winter weather!

  6. Paul Sonderman says:

    Welcome and many thanks for your comments. Always good to hear from another Rand fan. Love the LT quote. We’ll all be minding the weather soon. To quote an old lyric by Spirit, (since you mentioned “sardonic,” “It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong.” (True, that). Thanks again!

  7. Ian Pelton says:

    The one that does it for me is “Same Girl”. If you saw the one act play on my page, you will recognize the intro and outro.

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