When the guitarist Marc Ribot played a solo concert in Basel a couple years ago, the most surprising part of the show (given that he is mostly associated with jazz, despite his affiliations with Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, among others) was the folk music that he played. With his unique singing and his equally unique way of accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, he seemed to me to be ready to play folk songs at folk-music festivals, where he might well overwhelm audiences with the power of his performance.
He still has not released an album of folk songs, but you can check out "The Dying Cowboy" from an in-studio performance at KEXP (the University of Washington) to get an idea of what makes his folk music so special.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Marc Ribot, "The Dying Cowboy"
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My friend Judith, with whom I am creating The Honoring Institute, was in Bend, Oregon, last year at a conference demo-ing how a hospital there has taken on being as un-hospital-like as possible. They have eliminated the hospital smell, their doctors and nurses all wear casual clothes and use their first names with the patients, there is plenty of light and air everywhere, and gardens all around for patients to sit in. Families of sick people can stay with them in large suites that feel like hotel rooms, not hospital rooms, etc. The custodial staff that works at night has been trained to counsel patients who come in late at night for early morning surgery and are scared and needing someone to talk to.
One patient there was a cowboy who was used to sleeping outside. He had come there to die, and the nurses took on his case and stood up to the hospital administration to create it so that he could sleep in the gardens outside at night and eventually be moved outside for his remaining days.
The title of this album reminded me of this story that I thought you especially would enjoy.
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