Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Mystery Inside Us All

So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky

from John Dryden's A Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687 [Grand Chorus Stanza]

A rash of famous deaths marked the season of winter trees this year creating an interesting contrast with the many activities and events surrounding our Christmas and New Year's celebrations. For starters, my old buddy, John Allen Cameron, passed away on November 22nd of a rare bone marrow cancer that had seen him deteriorate in hospital for a year before his death. He was 67.

John Allen Cameron was a very kind and wonderfully talented man. We were great music friends in Toronto years ago and I grieve his loss. He was a very special soul whose boundless energy and life were gifts to all who knew and loved him for his rare personal qualities.

He was also one of the best entertainers in the world. Few, if any, could even come close to John Allen Cameron when it came to captivating an audience. I've personally witnessed a sold out concert theatre crowd being lifted up right into the palm of his hand while John Allen performed alone on stage with nothing but his 12 string guitar and an exhortation to dance, dance wherever you may be.

The Godfather of Celtic Music is home at long last conducting the joyous eternal fiddle symphony for The Lord of The Dance Himself.

St. Cecilia's Day is November 22nd incidentally. No mere coincidence in the greater dimensional spiritual spectrum of all things that pass.

Closer to Christmas, news from Nashville of the passing of my former Combine Music rostermate and legendary songwriter, Dennis Linde. In quick succession, the Godfather of Soul James Brown, former US President Gerald R. Ford and 60's country music legend Del Reeves also checked out. And, in Nova Scotia, my old stompin’ ground, the legendary iconic musician Dutch Mason breathed his last blue note.

All in all, a sad passing parade of melancholic rememberances especially of those whom I've known and had personal connection with such as John Allen Cameron and Dennis Linde. Christmas was warm and full of love & life this year for me and my family, but the frequent familiar death notices that became interspersed with the spirit of our sharing and thanksgiving served to remind me in a subtle and yet very powerful way that all is so fleeting and temporary here in this world. Nothing is forever except the love of God.

George Harrison died of cancer about 5 years ago at age 58 having realized clearly many long years earlier the fleeting nature of our temporal life and the ephemeral stardom that surrounded his every waking sensibility. Despite fame, money and the pure adulation of millions, George Harrison's first post-Beatles solo album All Things Must Pass reflected an effusive spiritual statement expressing transcendent values. All Things Must Pass is arguably the most important "solo" Beatle album historically. Certainly it is the most ambitious in its scope and intent emerging as it did from the "quiet" Beatle. Some truly great songs on it. Still his guitar gently weeps.

Art Of Dying
by George Harrison

There'll come a time
When all of us must leave here
Then nothing Sister Mary can do
Will keep me here with you
As nothing in this life that I've been trying
Can equal or surpass the art of dying
Do you believe me?

For my part, I simply count my blessings and try my best to somehow express my deepest gratitude for life to God and my family and other loved ones in attempting to impart meaningful and soulful human purpose wherever I encounter the opportunity. I'm a lucky man.

As George Harrison once put it in 1974 "Why live in the past? Be here now. And now, whether you like me or not, is where I am."

CBS 60 Minutes TV journalist Ed Bradley died just recently too.

Ed Bradley was a great interviewer. One of his last interviews in fact was with Bob Dylan whom Bradley had long wanted to talk with.

Here's the YouTube video clip of that CBS 60 Minutes interview:

Happy New Year.

Stay in touch with the mystery.

The universe is unfolding as it should.

Things should start to get interesting right about now.


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