Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/07/2006: "Why do I admit this stuff?"

This morning Trouble in the Fields by Nanci Griffith came on the radio while I was driving to work. It's one of those songs that no matter where or when I hear it, it makes me cry. I mean really really cry....a lot.

Ever react to a song like that? One that overwhelmed you with emotion? The first time I went to the symphony I cried through the entire thing; the guy I was with kept watching me, I got so pissed. Same with movies. I hate it when I cry at a sad part and the person I'm with watches me like a the performance or f$#!ing leave. It’s not my fault if you’re an emotionless automaton!!!

But I digress, after work I got to see Nanci Griffith in concert (for free!) at the Alaska Folk Festival and she was amazing. For me, music is *essential*...I mean, my mom was a singer and she fantasized about our family becoming the next "Von Trapp Family Singers". Well, that never happened but I've continued to play a lot of instruments and recently I feel like I've had a breakthrough with my guitar lessons. I've learned these new picking patterns so I can go back and play all these songs I already know by heart but now I sound cool when I play them.

The whole festival this week has me inspired. I came home tonight and didn't exactly play my old six-string until my fingers bled... but they're pretty damn sore. My voice too. I invited my friend (that went to the Folk Fest with me), to come over for a night of drunken X-box Karaoke. This is my life and I’m not afraid to admit it! Which reminds me, I told an embarrassing climbing story to a co-worker the other day and someone who overheard me said "I don't know anyone less afraid of looking bad than you"....uh, thanks?

Replies: 22 Comments

on Friday, April 7th, Kasia said

Songs that make me cry? A lot of them. i will send you one's in Polish but music speaks for itself. I wonder if it will make you cry...

on Friday, April 7th, Kasia said

not that I want you to cry...No! It's not my point.:)

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Hey Kasia, I would *love* to hear your Polish song! If you send it to me, could you try sending it to my hotmail address which is a larger account.">

Can't wait!

(not that I'm excited about crying!)

on Friday, April 7th, Maren said

Can't wait for home karaoke. here is the website for juneau jazz and classics. check it out and lets pick something!

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Yes! Can't wait...

Oh, but the link isn't showing up. hmmm

on Friday, April 7th, Jim L said

Hey, what a coincidence - I saw Rostropovich conduct Shostakovich with the Seattle Symphony last night. I've never bought into the classical music hero worship thing that goes on (like Yo-Yo Ma etc.), rather my heroes are the composers. So I'm not exactly a pushover on these things.

But last night, Rostropovich put two sets of horns in the box tiers on the right and left of the stage - in the audience! I thought, "Geez, how gimmicky" The piece, Shostakovich's "Festival Overture" was a rousing, beautiful piece. But what got me was towards the end, Rostropovich turned around to face the audience while he was conducting - and pointed to each set of horns to the sides. It was like he was conducting US! I started to cry because the effect of his artistry, his command and poise and sheer love of what he was doing - along with the great music - just overwhelmed me. He got a tremendous standing ovation - and this was just the first piece!

And, Nanci Griffith, just about every song on "Other Voices, Other Rooms" ("Morning Song for Sally" in particular) brings those tears...

on Friday, April 7th, Stephanie said

so you can handle playing a lot of instuments? isn't that like painting with different media? ;)

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Hi Jim!
That's so cool that you got to see Rostropovich conduct shostkakovich! I'm so jealous!!!

and I agree...most of Nanci's songs make me tear up a bit. She is giving a songwriting workshop (for free) on Saturday and I'll have to miss part of it due to WORK.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience from last night.

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Hey Stephanie, I missed your post there somehow...but your're *exactly* right. You can be really into clay for awhile and then switch to 2-d, just like you can be really into woodwinds and then switch to strings...add a splash of this and a touch of that...making music and art come from the same place I think.

I know there are times when you are "jamming" with other musicians where everything just flows and the feeling is such an amazing high.

on Friday, April 7th, RR said

You saw Nanci Griffith live - wow!!! You lucky thing.

on Friday, April 7th, Jackie said

E: I sooo love Nanci Griffith - and I'm so envious of you! I love folk music, and *some* bluegrass. There's a song on Nanci Griffith's album - Nanci & Friends or something like that - it's a Guthrie song called "Deportees" and it makes me bawl every time I hear it. Iris Dement has some pretty good tear-jerkers too! I think it's the quality of her voice - it just has that plaintive sound. Lots of classical music makes me cry too. And movies - there are several where I should have brought a box of kleenex: Amy Tan's "The Joy Luck Club", "Bambi", "Whale Rider"...the list goes on! Still other music doesn't make me cry - but makes my hair stand on end - not in a scary way!

on Friday, April 7th, Stephanie said

i was thinking more like oil and acrylic .... and pastel.... and.... ya' know
you have the juggling act down already - just do the same with the paints

on Friday, April 7th, greg said

maybe it has something to with the name Elise ... I happen to "know" another Elise who is happy to be "highly inappropriate" in saying some cringe-worthy things! :D

But you're both poetic souls so ...

This is one Seattle male who won't confess to crying! :cool: nuh-uh!

Poetry, Art, Nature and recorded music can elicit a very deep sigh.

Live music can cause a "choke-up" ... especially symphonic, as you and Jim L. relate. Even a good film of a live show can do that. Amazing stuff innit?

There have been movies that might well up a tear, but if you ask me which ones, I'll refuse to cooperate and deny the whole experience (except for Sid & Nancy)! :)

on Friday, April 7th, Brian said

I thought I'd comment on the last sentence of your post. First of all, why is this person putting their two cents into a conversation in which they were not a part of? Putting that aside, the remark should be regarded as a compliment. Elise, you put yourself out there and you can laugh at yourself, which is such a positive trait to possess. On the other hand, the interrupter needs to learn some manners.

Remind me to tell you the story of when I thought a couple of Great Danes were going to attack me and I screamed a scream that, to this day, I cannot recreate.

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Gosh, where to start?

RR and Jackie, it's cool to see how many people are familiar with Nanci Griffith! She sang "it's a very hard life" last night, a song she wrote in Belfast!

And yes, she is awesome and I get to go to her songwriting workshop on sat. and another free performance Sunday night. YEE HAW!

I agree that it's the quality of her voice, she could probably sing the names in the phone book and I'd get a bit choked up.

And Greg, sounds like your Elise and I would get along great!
And Stephanie, I see what you're saying now...I don't think I'll ever have the juggling act down though.

Comon Greg, admit to crying!!! You'll feel so liberated...let go over those oppressive gender roles.
Oh, and as for movies that make me cry hysterically...that would be "the color purple" and "whale rider"...I'm right there with ya on that one Jackie!

And Brian, as someone who knows me "in the flesh" (Dirty!) I appreciate you saying that. Really!

Oh, and why not tell us all your Great Danes story? Please!!!

on Friday, April 7th, Rob Roys said

Rostropovich was in Juneau with the National Symphony. They did the Shostakovich Piano Concerto #1 with Trumpet. Ignat Solzhenitsyn played the piano. Before beginning Rostropovich turned to face the audience. He leaned toward us, glaring, intense. He growled "DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH," turned back and started the piece. (My Mother whispered to me "Don't piss him off!"). It was easily in the top three best things I have ever heard. After the concert I met them at a reception. He was a doll...

Of course when the St. Petersberg String Quartet was here they played a Shotsy string quartet...wonderful.

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Damn Rob, how did I miss that!
(ps. your mom sounds cool!)

on Friday, April 7th, Rob Roys said

Well it was like 15 years ago. My Mom was cool-but she is dead now. Lung cancer (YUM) and my Father died from lung disease. (YUMMIER). That is 1/2 the reason I do not like fumes.

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

I'm really sorry to hear that Rob, lung cancer is brutal. I really do take the issue seriously, though did you see that Marja-leena just linked to something showing that if you use oils properly they're less toxic than acrylics?

(I think that's what it said, she linked to it in the comments on the last post).

on Friday, April 7th, Elise said

Oh, I just went back and read that Gamblin site and actually it was just about how to make oils less toxic, there was no comparison to acrylics.

But it scared the shit out of me...just based on what I've already been exposed to.

Maybe acrylics is the way to go after all.

on Saturday, April 8th, Saber said

I just happened upon your blog by accident.... I really enjoyed it. I love Nanci Griffith and the song! Yes, there are many songs that make me cry; amazing how music reaches us so deeply and can move us in ways nothing else can. Again, really enjoyed your blog and your art! I will bookmark your page. Saber :)

on Saturday, April 8th, Elise said

Hi Saber,
do you have a blog? Anyway, thanks for stopping by! It's nice to know there are others out there like us...ya know?