Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We Met On a Monday, We Were in Love by Tuesday Night

We met on a Monday
We were in love by Tuesday night
--Guy Benson

Exquisite.  Unbelievable.  Magical.  Perfect.  How could I have lived here for 20 years and not known about Guy Benson or Carolyn and her summer concerts?
I used to live a block from Carolyn's house, but her concert series began eight years ago, after I had  left the neighborhood.  Last Saturday night, I attended a concert in her Sugarhouse garden.  It was like going home, only better.  When we walked up the driveway to the backyard, we were welcomed warmly by Carolyn.  Carolyn is a woman who, in spite of her small stature, really knows how to meet and greet.  She invited us to help ourselves to the beer in the cooler, the water, and the food.  We'd brought chairs but the yard was always set up with dozens of green plastic chairs.
Carolyn's yard is typical for Sugarhouse.  Smallish.  I remember looking at the closing documents when I sold my house.  On a corner lot, I believe the lot size was 0.11 acres.  But what Carolyn's yard lacked in size was compensated for in charm.  Beautiful garden ornaments, foliage, and decorative lights everywhere.  Hummingbirds flitted in the next yard.
Before the concert, Carolyn gave a welcome, encouraged everyone to make a donation to the musicians, and informed the crowd of her green emphasis, with no paper plates to throw in the landfill.  So we all ate appetizers and finger foods off of plastic dishes that we later scraped, "just like at camp."

We sat right in the front row ... within spitting distance of the redwood platform "stage" undoubtedly built to showcase Utah's local musicians.  And no, I didn't spit either.

Fortunately the sun had started its descent when Keith Taylor, the 2004 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, took to the stage.  His mellow sounds put me into a trance, until he played "Pink Panther" with all the sound effects.  And that ... was unbelievably cool.
Keith Taylor
Strange though it is, Guy Benson had sent me an email earlier in the week about Celtic music jams.  That would be Intermountain Acoustic Music Association's Guy Benson, the newsletter editor.  Only I hadn't met him yet.  It was his turn on stage ... his guitar, his voice, his lyrics ... I fell in love.  There were many more words that touched me than I was able to scribble on my paper napkin and elsewhere.

I am here
You are there
Love is our cross to bear
I know I'll think of us upon that hill
With the golden moon rising
And stars around us still
How is it that we've buried
All the feelings that we've carried
On each end of the rifle
We're the same
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
If all your dreams come true 
Do your memories end up haunting you?
Give yourself to love
Love is what you're after
Open yourself 
To joy and laughter

Guy told the story of singing at the Utah Arts Festival.  In the midst of his performance, the police were arresting someone in the crowd, and the fella was getting dragged off by the police, all during a love song.  He mentioned that his lineup included quite a few songs of unrequited love.  I made a comment to Guy about this theme during the break, and it just happened that four other gents were standing there listening.  One of them said to me "Do you want us to show our scars now?"  No comment. I just smiled. What can you say when there's so much you could say? And besides why ruin the ambiance over minutiae about love?
Someone noticed I was hurriedly photographing Carolyn's backyard and he said, "Take as many pictures as you want.  That's what I did last year when I thought I was moving to Manhattan."  His wife had a chance to run a company in New York, but it worked out they could stay here instead.  "Yes, going to Manhattan is something I think about often," I mentioned.
Guy Benson

After the break, the air was considerably cooler.  Guy sang a love song he'd written at age 16, "Wish I Had a Girl."  To introduce it he casually noted, "Teen angst does not look good when you're close to 60," and yet, he had reconnected with the girl just three weeks ago.
Guy Benson
Since it was the evening of the 24th of July, the sound system was competing with the fireworks in the street nearby.  "I've got competition," Guy said.  "Turn up the bass in the mains."  The concert wrapped up later than expected, but no one was complaining, least of all me.

Carolyn is hosting another concert this weekend, and the next, and next, through mid September, when she closes out the summer season with Smokin' Blues Band.  Her website, Carolyn's Summer Garden Concerts, gives all the details.  If you haven't gone yet, promise me you will.

Disclosure: admission was donation of $20.  I received NO compensation for this review.

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