Tag Archives: James Hill

Gordon Belsher, PEI, and seizing the day

I’m having a serious problem with delight.

PEI is figuring prominently and it’s odd because though I love PEI in its own way, it is far too tame for a wild soul like me. Give me the windswept shores of NS anytime, with their rocky beaches and spitting waves and preferably fog rolling in in a glutinous manner to enclose all in mystery and hidden rage.

Why, they don’t even have much wildlife in PEI – no rampant coyotes or wandering meese or whatevers. I like my pheasants stomping by outside, the occasional sound of a coyote-cat interaction, the feeling that nature red in tooth and claw lives, yea, verily, here in utter suburbia.

But I just spent a lovely restful, beautiful couple of days with my wonderful gal pals over in PEI and it was smashingly wonderful. We talked and examined our lives and ate fudge and altogether too much bad for us food and laughed and slept like dead things and wandered the beach (well, I sat on the beach as my MS-legs were uncooperative). Prior to that, the same pals and I attended a blissful house concert here in NS involving Gordon Belsher (guitar and many other thing player and a major source of warm thoughts for me – admit I have a crush!) and Richard Wood (fiddler extraordinaire and cutie pie). The coziness of the house concert made it seem like we were friends.

I had to buy a CD to recapture the feeling, and lately I’ve been listening to Gordon’s CD in the car and singing my fool heart out. I go through these phases where a certain CD just speaks to my heart, and I listen to it over and over like a teenager. For a while there it was James Hill’s Man With a Love Song…


but now that relationship is over (It’s a good thing overall, alas), I seem to be bonding on Gordon’s “I’m not old yet”, especially the song below, which unfortunately doesn’t have a recording online, but you can sample. It’s the words I love, and the way Gordon’s voice trills up on the chorus. It makes me happy. I don’t know what it is about his voice but I confess to a bad fantasy about grabbing him to sing a special song especially to me. In a field in PEI. With the polished Holsteins that are stood around there. And I wouldn’t mind that it was pristine and that he is married (for I don’t want him for that) and that eventually the song would be over, I’d just listen and soak it up with the sun and the grass and the smell of contented cows and the sea and then go forth and be a better person.

I want to be like the girl in the song. There are parallels, though I’ve never learned Latin.

So, unfortunately, stealing Gordon Belsher would likely land me in prison. I resorted to ordering another of his CDs. I love Richard, too, but Gordon’s voice reminds me of songs around the campfire back when I was young and sweet and lived for the moment. He even sings “Cockles and Mussels”, which my dad sung a lot. Right now I am wrapping him around me like a blanket and delighting. While I get right on with that seizing the day thing.

Seize the Day

©Carolyn Arends

I know a girl who was schooled in Manhattan
She reads dusty books and learns phrases in Latin
	She is an author or maybe a poet
A genius, but it's just this world doesn't know it
	She works on her novel most every day
	If you laugh, she will say...

	Seize the day, seize whatever you can
	'Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand
	Seize the day, pray for Grace from God's hand
	And nothing can stand in your way
	Seize the day

I know a man who's been doing some thinking
He's as bitter and cold as the whiskey he's drinking
	He's talking 'bout fear, 'bout chances not taken
If you listen to him, you can hear his heart breakin'
	He says "One day you're a boy, and the next day you're dead
	I wish way back when someone had said..."

(Repeat Chorus)

Well, one thing I've noticed wherever I wander
Everyone's got a dream they can follow or squander
	You can do what you will with the days you are given
I'm trying to spend mine on the business of living
	So we're playing our songs off of any old stage
	You can laugh if you want, I'll still say...

(Repeat Chorus)

Tiptoeing through – no – stomping through the tulips

Last night I had an out-of-body experience.

I’ve been trying, half-heartedly, to learn how to play the ukulele for months now. I have my son’s old high school uke, a tuner given to me by my friend Bob, and a couple of books far too advanced for my skills.

So I’ve tinkered along, not learning much, letting dust accumulate.

Then I went to see a fabulous concert by James Hill and Anne Davison. They are such a sweet act and so lovely to watch together, on uke and cello, respectively.

At that concert I met a fellow wanna-uker who said she wanted to go to the monthly Halifax Ukulele Group meeting at the Celtic Corner pub in Dartmouth, NS. We promised each other we’d go together, and now that I was actually going to be playing somewhere in public, I started practicing in earnest, got a couple of more appropriate books, learned about six chords, sort of.

And then it was off to the H.U.G.

We thought we’d go a bit early to be sure we’d get seats.

We barely wedged into the room. There were fifty people, give or take, at least fifty-three ukes, and song books flying all over the room. The fearless leader, heaven help him, called out the song names. There was the sound of frantic page turning, then random chords here and there for a couple of minutes as everyone stretched out their fingers.

Then he counted off, and we flew into the songs. If you’ve never been in a crowded space with fifty people playing ukuleles and singing at the top of their lungs, well, all I can do is recommend it. I laughed so hard while I was playing I nearly fell off my bar stool.

Everyone is at a different level with their playing – many newbies who play the chords they can and hand-synch the others, people who can actually play the instrument but are learning the songs, and experts. Plus a few people along just for the singing and foot-stomping. It’s madness, but we all ended the songs on time, and I got pretty comfy with a few chords and strumming by the end. My heart was full with gratitude that such a thing as the H.U.G. exists.

But it’s not your gentle uke strumming like the above wahine. No, it’s a bit more like below.

So now I’m wondering, where can I get a leather suit?