Pardon Me, I’m in Zuni World

note as of 11-23-14: Zuni has a new Twitter account for her music.

I’m aware there is currently a huge press push for The Desolation of Smaug, but I am taking a short break from the deluge and soothing myself with an artist I’ve come to adore. Hey, I run a fan blog, so my adoration has to go somewhere when I’m taking a breather from our guy, which I’ve done a few times this last year.


When I first witnessed Zuni Stevenson’s performances several months ago, it was due to her following me on Twitter, and I responded as per usual — going over to the website or YouTube channel listed on the profile and checking it out. The thumbnail on the first video looked like at least a thousand others I’ve seen and usually come away from respecting the person for sticking out their neck with a public performance and nothing more. But Zuni didn’t just have chutzpah. Damn! this girl actually had some talent:

I was also charmed by her sweet but somehow knowing demeanor, so I watched another video:

And another one:

And another one:

And before I knew it, I was a fan and had these songs converted to MP3 and loaded on my phone with this possibly being my favorite:

Yes, please, please give Zuni what she wants, which is to make singing her full-time profession. Obviously, I believe she can attain it, and a big part of that confidence is not just in her talent for singing but in her ability to take a song and make it hers. I now count her cover of Life on Mars as my favorite version.

Not long after I listened to those first few videos, I found myself wishing she had some original material, and then it happened:

May this continue! And please note that even if I already owned some of these songs, I bought all of them from the original artists as a sort of support for Zuni. But I look forward to the day I can buy her music. Hopefully, someone who can help her is out there listening!

To hear more from Zuni, check out her website and her YouTube channels here and here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

another note: I’m not sure why Zuni followed me. Maybe she’s a Richard Armitage fan. :D

A Siren’s Song

Sometimes I just get blue. I used to always pick it apart — that blue funk. But analyzing it, nailing it down can be wearying, and sometimes it’s just that I’m a displaced Texan living in the Rockies. Texas can be a terrible and wonderful land, but mostly it’s a big heart with a cutting edge spirit that often thumbs its nose at convention while appearing tacky. Don’t be fooled by the seeming yahoo. Underneath is a class leveler, and I miss the plain talk and the willingness to be a stereotype in its pursuit. A place where words like ‘shit’ reverberate with meaning way beyond the obvious.

The mentality is best represented in an old joke:

A Texan went to Harvard, and on his first day there he was walking across campus and trying to find a particular building. He saw a group of preppy looking guys and stopped to ask them about it, “‘Scuse me, but can you tell me where the libary’s at?” The obvious leader of this group returned with a sneer, “For your information, it’s ‘library’ and no self-respecting Harvard man would end a sentence in a preposition. Would you care to rephrase that question?” The Texan grinned and replied, “Sure. Can you tell me where the libary’s at, asshole?”

I’m not going to wax on further about my love for Texas. I’ll inflict that on you another day. Feel free to bring the Chainsaw Massacre jokes. I’m ready. :D

Oddly enough, all of this is actually leading to some musicilove.

Shawn Colvin has become the epitome of someone who does her own thing despite her difficulties and is not out to impress anyone unless she wants a boyfriend. ;-). She’s become part of the charm of Austin, Texas along with a cadre of world class artists who make Austin a cultural destination. I’ll talk more about that later if I get inspired. For now I want to focus on Shawn who grew up in London, Ontario and Illinois but eventually settled in Texas. It fit her nature of being tender but hardscrabble when necessary and always startlingly honest.

In her performances she always seems to be trying to get at the truth. She focuses on almost anything but the external, intent on something inside herself, and the timid but wry twist of her mouth reluctantly given makes it devastating. But it’s her voice purring and her guitar along with it that puts a stroke between bone and muscle.

Some of you have heard her pieces. One of her most well known from “A Few Small Repairs” CD:

From the “Serendipity” soundtrack CD:

Other goodies.

From “Steady On” CD:

From “Fat City” CD:

From “A Few Small Repairs” CD:

The title track from “All Fall Down” CD, her latest:

I like that video, but I think I prefer Shawn alone with her guitar:

And I may be wrong about Shawn Colvin’s honesty, but I don’t think so. Just started her memoir. Wow.

And she might wonder, “Who the Hell is Richard Armitage?” I have an answer. :D

Off to listen to the rest of her new CD. She’s also touring in January and Mary Chapin Carpenter will join her in February. I haven’t seen her perform live for years. May have to make a run over to Aspen in February.

edit: I did not realize today is Shawn Colvin’s birthday! Talk about serendipity. :D

The Misty Mountains Call

[note: mp3 download at bottom of the post]

Who knew the dwarves singing would be absolutely wondrous by evoking such a keen sense of adventure? It’s telling how the song pervades my spirit and immediately demands an identification with 13 guys from a fictional place. At less than one minute, I’m hooked and ready to go with them. Bravo! Peter Jackson and Howard Shore and Tolkien of course! Bravo! But then comes the let down that the wait will be a year. Thankfully, a few things are occurring to alleviate the withdrawal. I’m reading Tolkien. Read The Hobbit again a few months ago, and pictured Richard Armitage marvelously as Thorin. Thank you again, Peter Jackson! I’m also starting the trilogy and heck, I’ve purchased all of Tolkien’s works including the non-fiction (more on that later) and some of it in more than one format. Several are duplicated on my Kindle. Yes, sometimes I really am insane. Oh, and I’ve purchased this as well as reading lots of excellent sites which give literary analysis of Tolkien.

As if that weren’t enough, I’ve downloaded Over the Misty Mountains Cold (a longer version) to my iPod where I will listen to it until I have learned every measure and their dynamics, and hopefully, get tired of it and then grow to love it again before the movie is released. And I found this video of it on YouTube. Phew, is it fun to surf around today! If you haven’t tried it, go for it. Lots of interesting things to read and watch about ‘The Hobbit.’ Good thing I’m on vacation. Just don’t get caught up on stuff like this as I did.

Tolkien obviously loved music, and his passion abounds even now. He’s inspired countless others with his sense of the epic. Here’s another site I found surfing around awhile back. Wonderful! And be sure to check out the last guy on the list. He and his band are an old favorite — Tolkien inspired songs or not. If you don’t know him, check this out, and I’ll stop there as I feel a tangent coming on. Yeah, I know some of you remember that song. :D

In the meantime, here is an mp3 version for those who need a regular fix.

edit: bccmee made a version of this that I love:

Stuck on You

Dear Richard,

If you ever stumble on this place and take a good look around, it will become clear I had significant time gaps between some of my posts. Maybe I should say real life intruded, and in fact it did. But psssst, sometimes I just tried to leave you. Obviously, I always came back, and here I am again today.

I’ve finally waded through some things that were holding me back, and now those are receding quickly, so hang on!

Yours Truly,
Frenz (aka Masha :D)

P.S. If I ever stalked you, I wouldn’t be in an ugly green car, but I would love that red dress.

note: I started to call this post “I Can’t Quit You,” but even I’m not that cheesy.

Need a Richard picture to get myself back in the mood big time:

This post’s for you, Sheepa. Thanks for the great laugh.


If you have not watched this video, do it now! It gets better and better.

Tangent — A Poke in the Eye

Before I stop teasing all of you and get on with my posts about the lovely Richard Armitage, I have to get this out of my system.

Lady Gaga is pitiful. I have now lived long enough to see Britney Spears become appalled at someone’s behavior. Lady Gaga, who was no lady the night of the MTV Video Music Awards, apparently wanted a redux of Britney’s sensational embrace with Madonna, and Britney was horrified. ROFLOL!!!! Yes, the computer really did fall off my lap from laughing. Er, me not the computer. Actually, I think the computer chuckled a little too.

Can you imagine what it would be like for Britney Spears to look at you suspiciously and think, “Ewww.” Yeah, I’d say Gaga has reached a new low. But really how long can people keep up an act when it’s 40% musical ability and 60% sensationalism? It didn’t work for Bette Middler, who had to morph into a serious singer, it appears to be on the wane for Britney, and Madonna… I’m not sure exactly what to say about Madonna except that after almost 30 years of being on the music scene, she is amazing in her ability to sustain, but at what cost? She’s pitiful too, and if I never thought it before, I certainly did when I saw this video a couple of years ago:

The boys in that are young enough to be her kids and maybe her grandkids. But Madonna was always a cougar in the making, and why I’m surprised by any of this I don’t know. I’m not really, but it’s sad to watch that video. When she was younger, I saw the angst, and I appreciated it. But now? I really am sad ’cause I know Madonna is not stupid. But she’s let her need for continual self-promotion render her silly looking, and if that’s not what happened to Gaga on Sunday night, then I need to invest in a leotard and some fishnets.

See the rest of the photos here.

The real shame is Lady Gaga has a good voice. Let’s hope it eventually eclipses all of this bullshit. Sorry I couldn’t come up with a descriptive word easier on the ears; that’s the best one.

Oh, Richard take me away!

Going For It

Many times I’ve wondered how long this blog’s life would be, and no, I’m not going anywhere. I’m still here and will be here for a while longer. How long I don’t know. As long as I get some fulfillment and fun from it I suppose. But candidly sometimes that fun is hard work. Of course life is full of obstacles, and usually the obstacles involve people or money. Come to think of it they all involve people or money. Now I’m not here to talk about money, and I doubt anyone has ever read my blog expecting me to talk about money. Although truth be told, I could talk about money for quite a while. But I’ll spare you. Today. So people it is.

People are infinitely fascinating even when they’re being a pain in the ass. At least that’s how I choose to see it, and if I didn’t choose to see it that way, I would not have done this blog past a few weeks. I also knew choosing the subject of Richard Armitage for my blog would bring with it an element that is absurd (no offense to Richard), and in case it’s not obvious to some, I’ve used that absurdity to spring myself forward. But sometimes I can’t find the humor in some of these people who are mean. I try never to cave to thoughts like this here (diary entries excepted), but I’ve slipped up a couple of times and day before yesterday was one of those times. I immediately regretted making that post, but after I had a little time to ruminate on it, I decided that it really was something that should have been broached.

On to the point of this piece. Yep, that was all a preface. I’m partial to prefaces lately. :D

If you’re going to blog, you cannot let people get to you — especially if they’re trying to get to you. If they get to you, then they have defeated you. They’ve stopped you. I was reading one well-intentioned commenter’s suggestion about Servetus’ handling of those who object to her blog. It was suggested to use password protection so that only those who really want to read the blog can do so. The commenter did not intend it to be censorship and said as much as a preface to the comment, but really, that’s what it is, and I mean absolutely no aspersion on the one who made the suggestion. It’s just that it’s hard to see it as anything else, and ironically, it would still not serve the purpose of making those who are offended happy as some would probably still read the blog. LOL!

So what’s the answer to all of this — at least in my opinion? It’s two-fold. First, go ahead fearlessly. Go for it, and don’t let someone inhibit you, and believe me, there will be those who will try. It’s a given. Second (and really this should be first), use some wisdom in lieu of locking things down. If you believe you shouldn’t post something, ask yourself why you don’t want to post it, and if someone is manipulating you into not posting, that’s almost never a good reason. Of course if it’s something that you have concluded is not appropriate, don’t post, but know that sometimes you might make a mistake. Scratch that. You will make a mistake, and if you don’t want to ever make a mistake, then don’t blog. In fact, don’t write anything, anywhere or say anything to anyone because at some point you’re going to make a mistake. [note: Mulubinba is excluded from this comment ’cause her decision is not about being manipulated, and I certainly respect it.]

In the meantime, I’m enjoying this song below, and I don’t care that it’s Katy Perry singing. If I was all caught up in who she supposedly is, I would dismiss this song. Her name alone would have the power to preclude me from ever listening to her or considering her music whenever I happen to hear it. Thankfully, I don’t think that way about music, so when I heard this, I liked it. :D

Tangent — Baggy Pants Were Not the Worst of It

With the surfacing of a possible clip of RA dancing, I did what I always do with music videos — got the blasted song stuck in my head. Here’s just one clip of the original video to that song:

I think the hair was the worst part about the late 80s/early 90s. How did Gloria and her musicians keep from fainting on stage with those masses hanging off their heads?

Maybe carrying all that hair around on stage kept Gloria in shape ’cause she looks great for her age. Supposedly her in 2009 at the age of 51:

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

The Perfect Symphony


Previously, I said RA’s performance in the tea scene was like a maestro conducting the perfect symphony. I’m not sure what symphony that would be. Too many great ones to narrow it to one. But the symphony I was thinking of when I wrote that was The Firebird Suite by Stravinsky. It’s not too bold a statement to say that Stravinsky has probably influenced almost every modern composer in the last fifty years. When I first heard Martin Phipps’ score for “North and South,” I thought he might be influenced by Stravinsky. His use of chord progressions and his distinct use of rhythms was the giveaway. Oh, and how cool that I thought of a Russian but didn’t know at the time that RA seems to have an affinity for some things Russian — Crime and Punishment, vodka, brooding.

I was bummed to realize I couldn’t buy the “North and South” soundtrack. I’ve also noticed that if it’s put on any sites, it’s scrubbed in a fairly short period. Not sure if this is Martin Phipps or his producers. Whatever the case, they are quite thorough, and even if there is something I could embed at the moment, I don’t want to mess with putting up one of his pieces only to have the link go bad very quickly. However, there is plenty of Stravinsky up, so for your pleasure, the old master conducting The Firebird:

and another one of his pieces. This one forever changed music for me: