Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bluegrass music can be like a medieval illuminated manuscript--a lot of intense feeling and skill in a small space. The capital R on a page that has a whole town living inside its top.

There was a three day bluegrass festival over the weekend. On Tuesday morning, a very good bluegrass banjo player is playing "Knocking on Heaven's Door" in the Civic Center BART Station.

He is playing only the part that goes with the words "Knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door."

Over and over again he plays it with lots of notes, waterfalls of notes inserted into the tune. The waterfalls remind me of Bach and so do the tiny variations he makes in the waterfalls of notes as he plays once again, "Knock, knock, knocking on heaven's door" as people hurry off to another day working in a government office or small business, as people walk more slowly through another day of being poor and sober and not too housed, or poor and drunk and not too housed. He keeps playing.