Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tippy, at long last, considered

Kenneth Rexroth said that an artist is either self indulgent or generous.

So, I saw Tippy Canoe a couple of weeks ago. She was performing with another heroine of the ukulele, Madame Pamita. I had a real good time and I said some nice things about Tippy. She said some nice things back. She even let me play her beautiful Pohaku Ukulele. It was a real love fest!

My comment that really seemed to please Tippy was that she made me want to do art, to play music. There's something about Tippy as a performer that makes me want to form a band. I couldn't really explain it to myself until I read a comment from her press clippings. Someone from SF Gate described her as, "earnestly pretty".

Earnest and pretty aren't usually words that I would put together. Tippy is certainly pretty. Truth is there is a certain earnest charm to the way she puts her songs across.

See, I stopped going out to see live music for a while there. There were a lot of reasons having to do with me, my problems, alcohol, pathological shyness. I was getting old too. I felt out of place in a room of young hell raisers.

The real problem was aspiring rock stars. I got sick and tired of paying to see people who were desperate for the love, or at least the attention, of a room full of strangers. Some of them were talented, and that helped, but plenty of them brought nothing more than a desperate, creepy need. I got plenty burnt out on people whose entire performance consisted of, "Lookitmelookitmelookitmelookitme",

Lewis Mumford said that the stages of maturity in an artist are,

1.) Look at me

2.) Look what I did

3.) I have something to share with you

4.) I have something to give you

Here's what I liked about Tippy. She has come to believe in what she does. She wants you to listen, but she also wants you to dance. She wants to give you something and she wants it to take you. Here's where "earnestly pretty" comes in. The night I saw her, she looked out at her little audience and she really hoped that we "got it".

I'll repeat what I said in my earlier post. Tippy's CD is a lovely little art nouveau package. It's a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to listen to. Buy it here.

Mass Transmissions- Tippy Canoe and The Paddlemen


Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

You're writing some thought provoking stuff lately. Those funny little guitars and the funny little people who play them appear to have put you under some sort of spell.

Jon said...

I'm in a good mood. It'll pass.

todd said...


beautiful post....very thought provoking especially for a performer....(me)



Madame Pamita said...

Tippy makes a party and invites everyone in the room every time she plays. I know because I'm sometimes lucky enough to be in the room.

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