last night we watched cnn’s broadcast movie about linda ronstadt “the sound of my voice”. a star in every facet. as we watched , we revisited times of our lives – times when the music we listened to was simpler, less engineered, less auto-tuned, less machinated, less acrobatic. it was music of melody and harmony, stylistically less thickened by tracks of extraneous stuff. it was indeed purer. linda ronstadt, now in her 80s and dealing with the effects of parkinson’s, particularly on her voice, was a powerhouse raised in music, surrounded by music and who, with generosity, graced us all with her music for decades. her voice goes on.
we are attracted to simpler. simpler melodies minus the gymnastic riffs and with simpler production, simpler paintings with great depth or color or message. we are analog; there’s no doubt about it. and as we watched a john denver christmas in aspen the other day i found myself yearning for that simplicity, john denver’s voice – both his writing voice and singing voice – effortlessly clear.
the common thread of less is more. it had impact on us, on our art forms.
when d was messing around in the studio recently he painted these very simple elements that often appear in his paintings: a star, a flower, petals. it’s not natural for him to paint without a figure. i imagine he was experimenting, paring down. i would liken that to me recording a song on the ukulele. it’s not natural for me to record without a piano. but experimenting is good and paring down is an exercise. especially in times of mostly-quiet easels and mostly-empty lyric sheets.
linda ronstadt’s story is one of unparalleled success and a great number of layers of experiment, a constant delve into another style of music, always paring it down to dedication to her absolute love of singing.
in the midst of all the layers, all the experimentation, all the paring down, all the silent canvases and hushed keys, we find our guide stars. and we go on.
©️ 2019 david robinson, kerri sherwood