My Father, Lt Col George L Newton, lived a full life. He was 87 when he died, and saw as much as a working-class kid from Rochester, NY could see with his own eyes–as a pilot stationed all over the world–first with the US Air Force, and then as a commercial pilot. But this shot is about my Mom, Earlene Merkel Newton, his wife of sixty-seven years. She’s also seen it all. She’s the survivor of survivors–the eldest of 12 siblings herself, some of whom have passed on, and now as the widow of the warrior. The iconic, archetypical image, unposed and real, is as personally profound an image as I’ve ever been behind the camera to take….mainly because that’s my Mom and that’s the flag that draped my Dad’s coffin .
Okay, I’ve been posting way too much music-related stuff. Time for Grandkids. This is Kambria Z. Newton, the youngest of my granddaughters…. She’s not the same as everyone else. For one thing, she’s my only blue-eyed grandkid…and, frankly, she’s a charismatic human non-sequitur. I can never tell where she’s coming from. Truly Original. Grandkids will make you aware of the future. Knowing Kambria, I have one. They’re our hope… Oh, yeah; watch out, World….Kambria’s coming.
This is James Mercer of the Shins. Actually, The Shins is him and whoever he’s playing with. He’s the heart and soul of it. A great craftsman of catchy songs, like, A Simple Song. Actually, I wanted to post this so I could briefly talk about backlighting. Photographers, do it when you can for more interesting results. In performance photography, put the very bright light completely behind the subject’s head… Not always, of course, but when you can…if you can get close enough.
Wow. Unique. Lushly emotional music. Once again, ACL’s producer has booked an amazing talent, and that talent delivered something really special. Justin Vernon, the heart of Bon Iver, is a significant artist; as good as anyone I’ve seen in quite a while….and really, really different.
Ah, yes. The Reverend Al. He is a Trip… He still has the great voice with the soaring falsetto, all of the great love songs, and he must give away several hundred dozen red roses to the ladies. They just love him for it. Hasn’t lost hardly a thing.
This is my take of the unveiling of Willie’s bronze immortalization for the people of Austin and the world. That’s the real Willie on the right with the black cowboy hat. Willie Nelson is one of the finest humans I’ve gotten share the planet with. It’s a pleasure, and an honor, to be alive the same time as him, in the same space, at the same place, during some of (70’s-’12) the same decades. This statue will become one of the symbols of Austin, TX to the World. And for the best of reasons…
So, they’ve installed a fine likeness of Willie Nelson, sculpted in bronze, at the entrance of ACL-Live–the home of Austin City Limits, and ACL-Live. That’s me, raising my arm in toast while they’re still hoisting him into position, and saluting the man who is, after all, being commemorated before he’s done touring and performing and making them all happy… Here’s to Willie Nelson..
SXSW is going full blast in Austin right now; Spring has sprung. The best new thing I’ve seen is Alabama Shakes, and this woman is a Force of Nature…the last time I’ve seen a woman singer this powerful is when I first saw Aretha Franklin. Brittany Howard. Remember that name… Oh, and Alabama Shakes is a very tight and tasty band.
Thom Yorke is brilliant. Radiohead is about the best there is, to my ear. They’re totally different and on their own path. I don’t know enough about them to say anything revealing or deep, but I have learned to recognize brilliance when it’s right in front of me. Yow!
Here’s a wonderful duo of performers you should know about. It’s hard to believe they can fill the room like they do with just two voices and one guitar. Amazing.