Rock of Ages

As Neil Young said, “Rock and roll will never die.” 

Here we are, 66 years later, and he may just be right (well, if you don’t count Mozart and the Old Masters who chalk up hits centuries later, like Herb Alpert’s A Fifth of Beethoven). Maybe because they’re cool, maybe it was just Covid isolation, but a number of “classic” rockers have put out new albums, some of which are rather good, no matter what style of music you like. Not bad for a group of people of whom the youngest is 71. I’ve never been a huge fan of Neil Young’s solo work – he’s twangy, he’s whiney, he’s slow and drawling despite unspeakable talent, but his new album Young Shakespeare got me. Sure, the songs are old classics, but the acoustic guitar on this live album is absolutely exquisite. Even if you don’t particularly care for him, give this a listen just for the guitar music. I listened to the album three times in a row. And he’s not even in my top 50 musicians.

Alice Cooper is another rocker I never got into. His first album was in 1969; I was 4, and it would be many years before I caught on to rock. Now he’s back with Detroit Stories, his 21st solo album.  Some of the album is classic metal work, while some of it is bluesy. I found Our Love Will Change the World to be delightfully commercial, and Wonderful World to be both seductive and ironic. Hanging on By a Thread is a direct acknowledgement that not everyone was able to deal with quarantine isolation, and not to give up. The album feels uneven because of the variety of styles presented, but age is no factor here and Cooper’s still got it. There’s a song here for everyone.

Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1, is interesting because of its strangeness, in the way listening to Ironhorse play bluegrass Led Zeppelin is strange – good, but strange. Barry Gibb, the only surviving Gibb brother, sings many of their classic disco-era hits with top country singers, in a pleasant country-pop manner – such as Dolly Parton singing Words, and Alison Krauss singing Too Much Heaven. The effect is some nice easy-listening music, not too country and certainly not disco, with the benefit of the lyrics being suddenly understandable. Even if you don’t like country, this is something that should be easy for you to like. 

Paul McCartney released McCartney II in 1980. Now, 40 years later, he releases McCartney III. For someone with hits in five different decades (yeah, Elvis did that, but he was dead for two of them), it’s not likely he’s going to fail with this one. My favorite is Kiss of Venus, but check out the amazing blues guitar work on Long Tailed Winter Bird. This is classic McCartney unleashed, rock, blues, jazz, Beatles, and orchestration, sometimes all at once. Seize the Day sounds like classic late-60’s Beatles. He’s 79 years old and still plucking away like a master. You might not like all the tracks, but the album is worthy.

Badfinger: No Matter What: Revisiting the Hits is probably the weakest of this group. You might not immediately remember the name, but you’ve certainly heard their music, even if it was only the Brady Bunch doing a cover of Day After Day on their first album. One of the problems is most of the band is dead. Like Greenfields, having a different singer do a cover of one of Badfinger’s past hits isn’t a problem, but more like Alice Cooper, it’s the strange mix of styles that kind of sinks the album. Some sound deliberately tinny, 60’s British mono throwbacks. Some sound ethereal and Pink Floyd-ish. Some, because you know the song so well, just don’t sound right, as happens when – well, when someone remakes a favorite song in a very different style. Sometimes it’s done very right, such as The Art of McCartney (If you doubt Cooper’s talent, check out his Eleanor Rigby). This time, the greatness just doesn’t come together.

Peter Frampton hits his 50th year as a solo artist this year (he’s been in bands since the age of 12). His newest release is an instrumental cover album entitled Frampton Forgets the Words, an easy way to release old material. Imagine you’re at a massive outdoor concert – a rock festival somewhere, and you’re walking around the grassy fields picking your way through people, and there’s some really awesome band on stage playing a 50-minute instrumental improv and it’s just a groovy background soundtrack to your life. That’s exactly what this album is. Nothing sticks out, it’s just the perfect background music for your life, somewhat familiar and comforting without you really knowing why. 

If you know the artists, give these a try. If you don’t know the artists, give them a try anyway. You might just find you missed something good.

A Playlist of Inspiration and Hope

Bill, our Head of Adult Services, has put together an online playlist of uplifting songs.

Music unites, inspires and comforts us. Songs express strength, joy and sadness. They are a common thread through our culture and our lives. Music unites us across the country. It ties us together whether we live in Connecticut, Florida or California – and these songs resonate across generations and offer hope in our troubled time.

This song list is dominated by Boomer Generation songs (alas, what can I say? I’m a Boomer) – but they are timeless inspirational tunes that speak to everyone.

Song Sequence

(click on the artists’ names to see more titles by them in our physical collection):

  1. Lean On Me – Bill Withers
  2. In Times Like These – Mavis Staples
  3. The Weight – Robbie Robertson, Ringo Starr & others
  4. Bridge Over Troubled Water– Simon & Garfunkel
  5. You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King
  6. Make You Feel My Love – Adele
  7. Secret of Life – James Taylor
  8. If You Want to Sing Out – Cat Stevens
  9. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
  10. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole

***

Lean On Me (Lyrics)

In Times Like These

The Weight

Bridge Over Troubled Water (Lyrics)

You’ve Got a Friend  (Live at Farm Aid 1985)

Make You Feel My Love

Secret of Life

If You Want to Sing Out

Here Comes the Sun (2019 Mix)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Women Who Rock

Veterinarian. Astronaut. Paleontologist. Actress. President. Everyone dreams up at least one career for themselves when they’re a kid or a teenager and the future stretches out in front of them like a vast, unending ocean. Me? You couldn’t tell from the basic Gap jeans and the guitars that lived mostly in the darkness of their cases, but I wanted to be a rock star.
I never ended up getting a record deal (big surprise), but I still enjoy music immensely. And lately, I find myself reading about music and thinking about the culture around music. It’s got me wondering where all the women are. Why are we so severely underrepresented in rock bands, and when we’re there, why are we only lead vocals or playing bass? Why do we often dress up in skirts and heels, but guys can throw on a black t-shirt and call it a day? Why aren’t more of us in the wake of #MeToo taking our anger to microphones and drum kits, screaming louder than those floppy-haired skinny emo boys whose photos plastered our bedroom walls before their predatory conduct towards underage female fans plastered the news? Or, perhaps more disturbingly, are we already screaming out to be heard, but the world just isn’t listening because a man hasn’t come along and validated our efforts yet?
On that distortion-pedaled, dropped-down-a-half-step note, here’s some titles to stoke your inner riot grrrl:

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
Noise rockers Sonic Youth might be a tough listen for some folks (coughs, averts eyes), but this memoir by bassist Kim Gordon is not. She details her time in the band, her life as an artist in New York, and her marriage to frontman Thurston Moore.
Did you know that the title for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came from Bikini Kill’s lead singer, Kathleen Hanna? Never heard of Bikini Kill? Then give a listen to this history of riot grrrl, the radical feminist punk uprising in the 1990s, the waves of which can still be felt today.
You might go, “Oh, that’s the woman from Portlandia,” but before her foray into comedy, Carrie Brownstein was best known as the lead guitarist for punk band Sleater-Kinney. (IMHO, their 2005 album The Woods is one of the best rock albums of the oughts.) Her memoir presents a candid and deeply personal assessment of life in the rock-and-roll industry that reveals her struggles with rock’s double standards.
If you don’t know Amanda Palmer from the dark cabaret duo the Dresden Dolls, or her solo albums, or as a crowdfunding pioneer, you’ll know her as the wife of Neil Gaiman. (How I wish I could eavesdrop and hear the bedtime stories they tell their child!) Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet, meant to inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love. Available from us in print and audiobook formats.

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in March

You know what they say about March, it comes in like a lion & goes out like a lamb. No matter the weather, you might say we’ve got a “menagerie” of programs to entertain, educate, and inspire you this month!

Author Talk: The Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner

Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Cheshire resident, John White, will discuss his book, The Pledge of Allegiance & the Star-Spangled Banner: A Patriot’s Primer on the American Spirit and a Citizen’s Guide to Restoring the Republic, which deals with the essence of America—its principles, ideals and values, its history, its future. Registration is required.

New Movie Thursday – Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor. Rated PG. Registration appreciated for this adult program.

Abilities Without Boundaries All Star Band

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Join us for this open house concert with Abilities Without Boundaries All Star Band. Cheshire musician John Ingrassia will lead the All Star Band for their debut performance. John hosts his music therapy class “Music Matters” for Abilities Without Boundaries and has assembled an all star band to perform around the area. No registration required.

From Jazz to Soul with Rhonda Denet and her trio

Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2:00 – 3:15pm

Rhonda Denet and her trio were the most popular concert we had last year, so we are bringing them back for  “part 2” of From Jazz to Soul!  They will perform jazz and soul standards from the 1930s through the 1960s, paying tribute to song stylists from Ella Fitzgerald to Aretha Franklin. No registration required.

Ogham Celtic Alphabet

Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Colleen Conway, co-owner and artist of Ogham Art in Southington, will discuss “The Ogham Alphabet: Past & Present”. Represented as a series of perpendicular and intersecting lines, Ogham is the earliest written form of primitive Irish and the oldest of the Gaelic languages. It is thought to be influenced by the Latin alphabet using 20 characters. Registration is required.

Introduction to Gmail

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Learn the fundamentals of Gmail; set up an account,learn to compose and send an email. Must be familiar with basic computer knowledge. Registration is required.

Starting Plants from Seed

Saturday, March 14, 2020, 2:00 – 4:00pm

This event, geared to the home gardener, includes: unique method of pre-sprouting large seeds; making pots from newspapers; using found materials for plant markers and mini greenhouses to start small seeds; proper watering and fertilizing; hardening off of plants; and catalogs where heirloom, rare or exotic seeds can be found. Registration is required.

Irish Music with Deirdre McMorrow and Paul Pender

Sunday, March 15, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Enchanting traditional Irish fiddler, Deirdre McMorrow, and guitarist/songwriter, Paul Pender, will energize every Irish native—and those who turn Irish for St. Patrick’s Day– in a concert of traditional and original Celtic songs. No registration required.

Intro to Meditation Workshop

Monday, March 16, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Presenter Tia Mandrozos will explain what meditation is and its positive effects—the many ways that meditating bestows  benefits on those who practice it regularly.  Tia will also lead a 15 minute guided meditation. Registration is required.

Irish Dancing Through the Ages

Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 4:00 – 5:00pm

A program on “Irish Dancing Through the Ages” will be presented by Irene Horgan, Ph.D., Director of Cheshire’s Horgan Academy of Irish Dance. Geared for all ages, the program will include demonstations by Horgan Academy dancers. All attendees will be invited to learn a popular Irish dance step! No registration required.

Nature as Mentor

Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Learn the magnificent language of nature in this powerful workshop with Marlow Shami, M.S., who will present an informative talk enhanced by beautiful illustrations, a compelling activity, and a deep relaxing guided meditation. No meditation experience necessary. Registration is required.

Spring Canal Walk @ Lock 12 Park

Thursday, March 19, 2020, 4:00 – 4:45pm

Celebrate the first day of spring with a story and a stroll along the Farmington Canal Trail here in town! We’ll meet at Lock 12 Historical Park, 487 North Brooksvale Road, and explore the changing seasons on foot. Best for ages 5 and up. Registration is appreciated.

Sound Healing Bath

Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 6:00 – 8:00pm

Join Donatella Moltisanti, internationally renown Sound Healer, for an evening of transformational Soul Healing! Donatella will discuss how music can heal the body and take us to new levels of awareness and peace, then guide participants through an hour-long sound healing journey. Registration is required.

Poetry in Song: A Cheshire High School Choral Concert

Friday, March 27, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00pm

The Cheshire High School chorus is going on the road !  Please join us for this special noon-time concert featuring the Cheshire High School chorus.  The chorus will be performing choral works by Lauridsen, Stroope, Lauridsen, Whitacre and more, featuring poetry by James Agee,  Robert Burns, Robert Frost, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling and others. No registration required.

 

 

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in February

February’s a short month, but it’s long on programs here at Cheshire Library. Visit our Event Calendar for the full roster of programs for adults & kids this month – here are some highlights!

Explore New Worlds: Virtual Reality Tours

Monday, February 3, 2020, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Experience virtual reality with the library’s Oculus Quest headsets. Choose from 3 of our own Cheshire-based VR adventures or visit other new places and experiences. The event starts at 6pm, but you will be contacted prior to the event with the exact time of your personal session.   Sessions will be in the order of registration.

Drop-in Tech Help

  • Tuesday, February 4,  1:00 – 2:30pm
  • Wednesday, February 19, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Do you have questions about your laptop, smartphone, or iPad? Do you need help navigating the internet or downloading an ebook? Bring your technology-related questions and issues to Cheshire Public Library’s Drop-In Tech Help. Our librarians will be available to answer your questions and offer advice. NOTE: Please be sure your device is charged beforehand. Tech help is available on a first come first served basis. Tech help may be limited to 15 minutes per person.

Terrific Tweens – Let’s Make Wishing Bracelets!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 4:00 – 4:45pm

Kids in grades 5-8 can drop in and decorate paper beads on one side with crayons, markers or pencils, and then write a wish on the other. Then we’ll roll them up, string them together and wish for good things! No registration required.

Take Your Child to the Library Day

Saturday, February 8, 2020 9:00am – 5:00pm

Celebrate your local library today! Stop by the Children’s Room and go on a scavenger hunt, play with toys, crafts, and more! Cheshire residents of any age can get a library card with a photo ID and proof of address. Non-residents can bring their card from their hometown library and get set up to borrow Cheshire materials. And as always, no card is needed to enjoy the day’s activities!

The Winter-Wonderland Music, Bubble and Comedy Show!

Saturday, February 8, 2020, 10:00 – 10:45am

This movement-focused 45-minute performance by Turtle Dance Music is a musical experience that is designed to engage children through song, movement, stories, projections, and interactive music technology! Best for children ages 2-12 but younger siblings are welcome to attend. Please register in advance for this program.

Sally Rogers concert

Sunday, February 9, 2020, 2:00 – 3:15pm

Join us for a concert of traditional, contemporary and original ballads and songs with acclaimed folk musician and recording artist Sally Rogers. Much of the material Sally performs includes compositions of her own (accompanying herself on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer),  many of which are considered classics of the folk and popular genre.  No registration required.

Intermediate Mac

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 11:00am – 12:00pm

Have you purchased a Mac and want to learn more about the applications?  In this lecture style class we will go over Calendar, Photos, Finder, Preview and more. To take this class you must have a fundamental understanding of Mac computers.   Please bring your fully charged Mac computer and all applicable passwords. Space is limited and registration is required.

Learn to Scan Family Photos

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Do you have albums and boxes of family photos that you would like to digitize? You can do it for free at the Library! Learn how to use the Scannx Scan Center on the library’s lower level in this short hands-on demonstration. Registration is required.

Author Talk: Dear George, Dear Mary

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Author Mary Calvi has written a fascinating book called Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington’s First Love. Did unrequited love spark a flame that ignited a cause that became the American Revolution? Dear George, Dear Mary explores George’s relationship with his first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.  Books will be for sale and signing after the presentation. Registration is required.

Simply Lincoln

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Being in the presence of Howard Wright as President Abraham Lincoln is an experience you will not soon forget. Dressed in precise period attire and speaking with a Kentucky accent, Lincoln’s mannerisms, speaking style, and humanity flows over the listener with each moving sentence, witty observance, or eloquent description of a tortuous time that was the Civil War.  Registration is required.

The Hot Flashes concert

Sunday, February 23, 2020, 2:00 – 3:00pm

The Hot Flashes are an exciting and eclectic group fronted by three female vocalists who have made a name for themselves on the New England music scene showcasing their tight vocal harmonies and jazzy acoustic stylings. Join us for a rousing afternoon of bluegrass, folk, vintage country, swing, jazz, and blues tunes…with a few cowgirl and traditional tunes thrown in for good measure! No registration required.

Principles of Organic Gardening

Monday, February 24, 2020, 1:00 – 2:00pm

This talk by Dr. Yonghao Li from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station  will explain the basic elements of successful organic gardening including site selection, soil preparation, garden design, irrigation, mulching, fertilization, and disease management. Registration is required.

Trivia Afternoon

Monday, February 24, 2020, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Come by yourself or bring friends. Test your knowledge from general categories including pop culture, current events, history, music, and of course, literature! Registration required for this adult program. When registering please register entire group from one person to a max five people.

The Changing Nature of the American Presidency

Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Dr. Matthew Warshauer, Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University, will deliver a talk on The Changing Nature of the American Presidency. Dr. Warshauer received his Ph.D. (1997) in American Studies at Saint Louis University and joined the faculty at CCSU that same year. He is the author of several history books. Registration is required.

New England Country Dance

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Join us for a night of dance!  Hosted by  Rich Sbardella who has been a dance caller for thirty years.  Please wear good shoes for dancing! Registration is required for this adult program.

Color Yourself Calm & Watch a Movie

Saturday, February 29, 2020, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Back by popular demand! De-Stress from your busy life and color. In addition to coloring we will be watching New in Town (2009, rated PG) starring Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. All supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. Registration required for this adult program.