Partly because I'm out of control and want to make these sweater totes every moment until my hour of death and partly because y'all have been so kind, supportive and generous with your comments on my projects (and my myriad other ramblings), I'd like to offer a little contest here at Purly Victorious. Before I get into the particulars, let me see if I can rouse some interest by showing my latest tote project, which I have been sporting about town for a few weeks.
When I posted my Terry Tote, some of you indicated that you wouldn't mind being next in line for some bonding (hi, Nik; hi, Summer). My first thought was, Yes! I will make totes for all comers! Before long I woke up and realized the impossibility of that dream, seeing as I've barely put a dent in my much whined about mile-long project list (and The Bubba has declared a modeling strike if I don't come up with at least one of the zillion things I've promised to knit for him). I had to get real and acknowledge that I can't adorn the shoulders of every gal I meet with sweater totes. But I am good for one. To determine the lucky (lucky? have you seen my sewing skills up close?) recipient, I'll hold a drawing. How's that?
Backstory and what ya gotta do to enter:
When I gave Terry her tote, I couldn't think of anything better to stuff inside it than music, the gift that really does keep on giving. In turn for Ray and Aretha, Terry burned me Damien Rice, a great artist I might not have discovered on my own. Anybody know "Eskimo"? It ends with opera sang in Finnish. I mean, hot damn.
All this music exchange goodness started me to thinking about desert island albums. I'm one of those people who doesn't think it's corny to refer to life as having a soundtrack. There are certain records that I return to again and again, and every time I hear them, they wring me just a little bit. Rickie Lee Jones's Pirates and Flying Cowboys or Rickie Lee Jones, Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, Elizabeth Cotten's Freight Train, David Gray's White Ladder, Joan Osborne's Relish, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, Stevie Wonder's Hotter Than July, any one of the Aretha compilations that I own, Eva Cassidy's Songbird and Time After Time, Tracy Chapman's eponymous debut, Annie Lenox's Diva, Luther Vandross's Never Too Much, Prince's eponymous debut, Lila Downs's La Linea, Linda Ronstadt's Heart Like A Wheel, Sam Cooke's The Man and His Music. The list indeed goes on.
To choose one record to have if stranded on a desert island is difficult, but I've given this some thought and listening time, and today I'd have to pick Aretha's Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings. Aretha dukes it out with Rickie, because Pirates is so good it's insane, recorded at a time when an artist could take time with a record, and still peerless. Every song is a journey, leaving itself and coming back again, compelling a level of presence not asked of us often enough.
Also in the running is the late, great Eva Cassidy. If you haven't heard her, you must. Truly one of the purest singers I've ever listened to. This woman, who died virtually undiscovered at 33, could sing absolutely anything (one would think this would be an asset, but not in an industry that operates on categorization and packaging). The first time I heard her voice, it was coming from a neighbor's house. I dropped what I was doing and went outside where I could hear better and jot down lyrics so I could google them and find out who the singer was. With the exception of Live at Blues Alley, all her albums were assembled posthumously. Her recognition came after she was gone, when DJs in the UK started playing her version of "Over the Rainbow." Many of her songs cast a spell on me, but her beautifully haunting remake of Sting's "Fields of Gold" just knocks me out. I also love, love, love her "Tall Trees in Georgia," "Wade in the Water," "People Get Ready," and "Penny to My Name." I'm not too proud to beg, after entering my drawing, please click on the links, read about Eva, and listen to her music. Please?
Thinking of being on that desert Island without Eva or Rickie has made me teary, but Aretha. Oh, Aretha. "Save Me," "All the King's Horses," "Going Down Slow." On Queen of Soul, a four disc set, Aretha interprets enough musical genres to make me think I'm listening to different singers (a handy mind trick for a desert island), but the beauty of it is that the songs are always done her way, and is there anything better than that? Her "Respect" is iconic, and rightfully so, but it's astounding to consider what a talented songwriter, musician, and composer she is, outside of her big, soulful voice and stand-up lyrics. And so Queen of Soul it is, because I wouldn't want to be stranded anywhere without Aretha.
At last! How to enter:
I would like to hear from whomever would care to share, what would be your desert island album? Leave me a comment with the artist, title, and, optionally, a bit of why you love it. If you're like me and have a hard time choosing just one record, you can cheat and leave two or three, but it'll be one entry per person in the drawing for the sweater tote.
Are you excited? I hope so, because I am. Maybe I'll discover some new favorites.
I'll run this contest for a week or so. By then I'll have time to sit down and sew up the prize. I'll do the drawing Serendipity style.
As I'm all about the Muse, I have no idea what the tote will look like (solid? striped? 1 pocket? two? another tryst with embroidery? a little pouch as an accessory?) but I promise it will be fun and functional. A tote bag for a song. I think it's a sweet exchange.