Musings & Thoughts for Friday, November 27, 2020, or: How I Survived Thanksgiving 2020 & John Denver Gets the ‘Beautiful Music’ Treatment

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Hi, Dear Reader. It’s late afternoon on Friday, November 27, 2020, and it is a quiet one here in New Hometown, Florida. Currently, the temperature is 83˚F (28˚C) under mostly sunny skies. With humidity at 54% and an east southeasterly breeze blowing at 2 MPH (3 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 84˚F (29˚C). The forecast for the rest of the afternoon calls for sunny skies, while tonight the skies will be clear. The low tonight is expected to reach 64˚F (18˚C).

Well, even though I wasn’t in a festive mood last night, I survived Thanksgiving 2020. Most of us – the only exception being my ex’s older son, who decided to hang out with one of his gaming friends – sat around the dining room table and ate the traditional turkey dinner (with green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, stuffing, and slightly-burnt cornbread). I assume there was dessert, but I didn’t see any being served. The mood in the house was calm and peaceful, but as soon as I finished dinner and my half-glass of wine, I made my way to my room and chatted with an old friend until I got sleepy – turkey and wine are great sleep aids! – and went to bed.

Today…not much to relate, except that I decided to treat myself to another album of John Denver-composed music – Lee Holdridge Conducts the Music of John Denver.

(C) 2009 BSK Records

In case you don’t know, Holdridge is a renowned American composer, arranger, and conductor who has delved into many musical genres, including classical music, film scores, and pop music. He was also a long-time friend and collaborator of the late John Denver; for years, Holdridge conducted stage musicians who did the instrumental backing for some of Denver’s songs in recording sessions and live concerts. He was also the conductor present at the recording of Perhaps Love, Denver’s duet with opera tenor Placido Domingo in 1981, as well as the arranger who helped create 2013’s Great Voices Sing John Denver tribute album, along with his wife Elisa Justice, the late Milt Okun, and Okun’s wife Rosemary.

Anyway, this reissue of 1976’s Windstar Records’ Lee Holdridge Conducts the Music of John Denver was released 11 years ago by BSK Records and can be described as a collection of “beautiful music” covers of some of John Denver’s classic songs from the 1960s and ‘70s.  It’s a modest recording that isn’t as high-concept as Great Voices Sing John Denver or as essential as, say, The Essential John Denver; it only has nine tracks, and its appeal depends on how a listener feels about the “beautiful music” genre that was hot in the 1950s, ‘60s, and 1970s but became passe sometime in the late 1980s.

I actually enjoy this style of music when I’m stressed; it isn’t my favorite genre – classical music, film scores, standards, and what might be considered “oldies” (whether it’s show tunes, pop/rock songs from my younger days, or jazz/popular music from way before my time) are my top choices – but it fits the bill when I want to listen to mellow-yet-familiar music that will calm my nerves. You know, the musical equivalent of Xanax or half a glass of wine.

In case you’re wondering what songs are on this CD, here’s the tracklist:

1Rocky Mountain High3:14
2Goodbye Again3:42
3Late Winter, Early Spring5:25
4Annie’s Other Song3:18
5My Sweet Lady3:19
6Sunshine On My Shoulders3:09
7Follow You / Leaving On A Jet Plane4:43
8Annie’s Song3:08
9The John Denver Suite10:04
9.2Fly Away
9.3The Eagle And The Hawk
(C) 2009 BSK Records

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who still likes “beautiful music,” which is often referred to as “elevator music.”  When I ordered the CD today on Amazon, it was out of stock (but new copies will be available soon!), but I did get – as a nice bonus from Amazon and BSK Records – the MP3 version free. (And the album is not terribly expensive…just $13.19 with sales taxes for Florida factored in.)

As I said…it’s not the best John Denver-related recording I own, but it’s not a bad one either. It’s pleasant to my ear, and as I said earlier, it soothes my nerves.

Other than that – well, I am still sad about my breakup, of course, and I gave up on the NaNoWriMo 2020 project after writing 6,000+ words because – as you can well imagine – I just couldn’t focus on coming up with a good, believable, and somewhat realistic novel set in 1944 Normandy. Not only was I fretting about my personal life, but the Presidential election, including Trump’s tenacious attempts to reverse the results, and the still-rising death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic distracted me so much that I took my eyes off the prize and just…stopped trying to force a story out of the ether (or my subconscious) and onto my Microsoft Word files.

Well, there’s always next year, right?

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

5 thoughts on “Musings & Thoughts for Friday, November 27, 2020, or: How I Survived Thanksgiving 2020 & John Denver Gets the ‘Beautiful Music’ Treatment

  1. Made me look up an original version of “Calypso,” which I had not heard in gods know how long. I miss the hopefulness such things reflect. Maybe it’s the times. Maybe it’s because I’m not sixteen looking forward to the rest of my life anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s one of my favorite songs to listen to; alas, I can’t sing along to it because it’s a bit out of my vocal range!

      I wonder if maybe my newfound appreciation of John Denver’s music is partly fueled by my awareness that I am also not a teenager anymore….

      Liked by 1 person

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