I first discovered Gary Clark Jr's music in 2013 when Rolling Stone Magazine did an expose on his first album: Blak and Blu. It opens with a kick -- "Ain't Messin' Around" followed by my personal favorite, "When My Train Pulls In." I love his "The Life" rap too. His Live album from 2014 is my favorite of his of all time. He's a solid mix of classic blues with modern guitar riffs that tear into your soul. As he grows as an artist, he is becoming more politically active and for good reason, the color of one's skin should not be used as a weapon against them. Beyond that, he has the rare claim to be the musician I've seen the most live. I'll see him any time he comes around. He's cool, he's hard-nosed, and he can do anything on guitar. Check him out if you haven't already heard.
Music is a way of coloring time. In the background, the rapacious echo of some long lost lover croons. It's easy to ignore and easy to remember. The drumbeat of the human spirit marches two and two together with the single rhythm of the heart. Some maestros have it and others want it. What is it then that makes one cool?
Being cool is something that comes naturally to some people. Whether its their inherent good taste or just simply confidence, the thought of being seen as cool is something that at some point in everyone's lives they must contend. Here I am now, it's been a full week of posts. My first such writing streak in a long time. I haven't vocalized my work done thus far because I don't know the direction per se. Yet, here I am now, being cool about it. I'm letting the work lead me wherever it is to go. So far, it seems a dictation on memories begot from the albums I love.
Confidence. Singularly in self and affectation. Being cool does not necessitate acting. It is. And only in being called cool does anyone really ever ascend the throne of Coolness. Self-proclaimed Cool is problematic because it makes claims in an arena where others be the judge. No. To call oneself cool is the opposite. It is lame. With such a tricky scenario then, the real coolness comes solely from within. Out of the vast ocean of our soul, our coolness rides like a ship sailing across some times calm or some times tumultuous seas. In either case, only the captain of the ship can maintain the crew of coolness. It is done through confidence to reach distant shores.
So then where does confidence come from?
It rises from the connection between mind and body, between soul and spirit. If we are each one body in the whole body of the human race, then confidence in one's place will be like a pillar to the rest of us. That confidence is built up over time and over discipline. For there isn't a confident person who does not have his or her boundaries. Confidence is a place to be free. Confidence is a feeling of power of self. Confidence is an expectation into what is right, in the face of what is personally deemed wrong.
Can confidence be wrong? Of course, it happens all the time.
In failure, confidence is the ability to raise again what is fallen. Like a broken egg, the pieces are the same, but the construction changes. In so much, we are broken eggs remade over and over throughout our lives until we reach our very pinnacles. In those great heights, our confidence reigns. Only to collapse again, endlessly. When the very core of confidence is shaken, it is the fall where coolness comes.
Cool to take the hit and keep moving forward, cool in the ability to laugh off the lost time, cool in the recognition that we are fallible primates, who's thoughts and actions will eventually wither into dust. The Cool then is likened to death. Untouchable. Understated. Confident in its ability to execute.
Being cool then is to be alive in spite of all the odds. Confident in striding forth unencumbered by the weight of time. Sure in body and mind that what can be done shall be.
To be cool or not? It is a worthless question to the cool ones and a worthless obsession to those that feel they don't belong. None of us belong, yet we all do in our way. And that's cool.
-- Eric Maus
Man, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself. Don't play what's there; play what's not there. Do not fear mistakes - there are none. It's like, how did Columbus discover America when the Indians were already here? -- Miles Davis