“Happy birthday, Sam” haiku

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
Nov. 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910

“Man is the only
“Animal that blushes. Or
“Needs to,” writes Mark Twain.

Few saw so clearly
Or captured so tellingly
Man’s lasting folly

Yet each of us knows
Someone wise, trenchant, witty
Who keeps us in line

A spouse or a friend
A comic or songwriter
A compass and muse

Garrison Keillor,
Neil Young or Bob Walkenhorst
Fill in your own blank

They’re still pointing out
Our glories, absurdities
So rest easy, Sam

A day of note

Jeff Porter’s birthday
A musician’s musician
Playing them his way

He’s a working stiff
“Just” an American dad
Chasing a dollar

But words from his heart
And music from his fingers
Fill in his story

Singing uncle spun
Melodies, pilot dad traced
Vapor trails for him

Mystery and beauty
Fleeting fame, lasting longings,
Hearts like birds take wing

His down to earth songs
Sketch laugh-out-loud flaws, foibles,
Spankin’-good romance

Magic each Wednesday
Gigs with his pals Bob and Norm
Always some surprise

Folk, rock and reggae
A little country — he can
Sing and play it all

Newest Rainmaker
Helps Bob, Rich, Pat get it right,
Fåvang to St. Cloud

A fine guitarist
Knockout keyboard player, too
That’s our Jeffy Lee

Happy birthday, Jeff
Your fans are blessed to know you
Friends, luckier still

P.S. If you aren’t already familiar with Jeff’s music, you should be. His “15 Miles” CD is available at Amazon and iTunes, ditto the “No Abandon” CD with Bob Walkenhorst, which includes “Hey Bird.” Amazon also has “Norway No Abandon,” a great DVD from Bob and Jeff’s 2010 Norway tour. Jeff’s also the lead guitarist on the Rainmakers’ 2011 release, “25 On.” And come to the Record Bar in Westport almost any Wednesday; Jeff and Bob, usually with Norm, hold court from 7 to 9. Heck, they’ll even let you buy ’em a beer — and I think the above mentioned products usually are available, too, at the sound board.

The best is yet to come

The Rainmakers have a new video out. I thought there might be one or two people reading this who haven’t seen it. So there it is. It’s also a good excuse to post some more semi-related pre-blog stuff. Again, chances are good if you’re reading this you know the Rainmakers were a 1980s and ’90s band from Kansas City that got back together this year, 25 years after their first album, and cut another great album, “25 On,” pretty much in five days. (Get it here: http://tinyurl.com/655s34s.)

Anyway, as I get older it’s inspiring and heartening to see people my age and older doing amazing things, and to feel that I’ve never been quite so alive and capable and creative. Thus, “Old Guys” haiku, from March 16:

Old guys have the chops
Rainmakers “25 On”
Better than ever

Old guys really rock
Neil Young, like a hurricane,
Still blows us away

Old guys have the goods
Neil Young showed the way, out-grunged
Every new grunge band

Old guys have Mojo
Like Tom Petty cranking out
His 15th album

Old guys have the touch
Land a plane on the Hudson?
Sully was no kid

Old guys have vision
Frank Lloyd Wright in his 60s
Dreamed Fallingwater

Old guys have the ear
Janacek wrote his classics
At 70-plus

Old guys kick your ass
Then effortlessly drink you
Under the table

Old guys keep going
They were just born to outlast
Punks and pretenders

Old guys do it all
At least the ones who really
Could in the first place

The only thing that
Really gets old is people
Hung up about age

And here’s a little Rainmakers addendum, from April 13, reference to Hendrix’s saying, “Oh no, I’m out of tune again; well, only cowboys stay in tune.”

“Tuning’s for cowboys,”
Jimi said; Rainmakers say,
“Rehearsing’s for kids”