Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Music From My Favorite Poet, Russell Crowe

My favorite poet (and the inspiration for this blog's name),  Russell Crowe, is at long last releasing new music. 

"Wait a minute," you say. "You just said he was releasing new music, but he's your favorite poet?  And isn't Russell Crowe an actor anyway?"

Yes.  And yes.  He's an actor, a musician, a poet, a National Rugby League team owner (South Sydney Rabbitohs); the list goes on and on.  I'll try to keep this on the subject of poetry and music, though, since poetry is (supposedly) the focus of this blog.

Several years ago I discovered Russell Crowe's music, totally by accident, on Youtube.  He'd been my favorite actor for several years before that and, at the time, I was just looking up clips of his movies when I came across a video of a song called Testify.  (See the video here.)  I was mesmerised.  He could sing too? 

Intrigued, I looked up more videos of his music.  After watching several and being engrossed in the sincerity and emotion I could hear, I did a bit of further research.  Turned out he'd written most of the songs himself , either alone or in collaboration with a few others, most often his friend Alan Doyle, lead singer of the Canadian folk-rock band Great Big Sea. (more great music and lyrics you should check out)

As I read the lyrics of those songs, I was touched by the imagery in them as well as the pure emotion, the depth that I could feel from them.  You know that feeling when something quite apart from yourself--something you're seeing, touching, hearing for the very first time--literally speaks to you?  It can happen with almost anything--a book, a song, a movie.  A scent in the air, the touch of a breeze, the sound of a child breathing.

This was the sensation I felt as I read those words.  The same sort of feelings I'd had hearing the songs, but...more somehow.  As though the person who'd written them had somehow pulled the thoughts from my mind and the emotions from my heart and had put them into words.  I first discovered poetry at the age of 12 and, from the beginning, I loved it.  I've read Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Shakespeare.  Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, James Kavanaugh, Charles Bukowski--the list goes on and on--and I've always had favorite poets and particular poems that stirred feelings in me.

It was in reading the lyrics of songs like Other Ways of Speaking, Never Be Alone Again, Land of the Second Chance, Raewyn--again, the list goes on and on--that I felt as though someone I'd never met was speaking his own mind and heart to me more clearly and distinctly than anyone I'd ever met face to face.  Those words and the way they were written have moved me and inspired me time and time again since then. 

That's how a true poet makes you feel and that's when I began to respond to the question of   'Who is your favorite poet?' with the name Russell Crowe.  The responses to it are varied.  I get questioning looks, blank looks, smirks, hidden grins and, my favorite, the 'She's lost it' look.  None of it matters.  It doesn't change what the words say and how they speak to me.

So...  That was a long and roundabout way of getting to the matter of Russell Crowe's new songs.  Since I first discovered his music and poetry, Russell Crowe the actor has kept me and many others entertained with fairly regular movies, but Russell Crowe the musician and poet has been a bit on the silent side.  That will come to an end on August 2nd with the release of  The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III on iTunes.  On August 9th, it will be available on Amazon, eMusic, Rhapsody, Spotify and other music sites.  Wherever you get your music, give it a try.  You won't be sorry and you'll probably end up as a fan.

You can hear samples of the tracks right now at Amazon: The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III  and you can hear the full song Too Far Gone at SoundCloud: Russell Crowe and Alan Doyle-Too Far Gone.  It's a beautiful collaboration between Russell and his wife, singer Danielle Spencer.

Here are some of those touching lyrics that I always love so much, borrowed from Mary Murphy at her Russell Crowe News site on Murphs Place.  I hope the poetry touches you even half as much as it does me.  Thank you once again, Russell Crowe and Alan Doyle for the music and inspiration.

Too Far Gone (To Be Saved)

I am drowning
 not waving
here in the darkness
I'll find my peace

You'll try to save me
but you are suspended
Beneath the surface
In way too deep


And your fingers tear at my skin
Release the blood let the feeding begin
Your intentions will never be blamed
We're both too far gone, to be saved

When times were simple
And the journey clearer
Before the circles
And deja vu

Before all the bombs fell
And we lived in craters
Before all the sharks came
And had their fill



I should have spared you
And you might have warned me
The glory is fleeting for birds in flight

Now I'm sinking
 weighed down by regrets
I see clearly in this dying light

I am drowning
 not waving
Will you just love me
It's not too late

Here in the darkness
No-one can judge us
Kiss me completely
And seal our fate


Friday, July 22, 2011

To Look Upon Grace

A stone's throw from grace,
but he never quite gets there
Always something out there
pulling him back in

He reaches for Heaven,
but can't seem to make it
No rest for the weary
in a world full of sin

He battles the devil
that's always inside him
no matter what form
it takes at the time

It's just that the bad
always seems to be winning
A whirlwind of sorrow
without reason or rhyme

There was once in '69
the fight nearly killed him
It was thirty days in jail
that kept him alive

Now he's not sure
just what it is keeps him going
Some damned drone of a bee
always back to the hive

One year in his twenties
he thought he'd caught her--his Grace
but the stranger within him
took the love from her face

Now, he's just a man
who fell through the cracks
with grace just a memory
a weight on his back

Grace is a word, an idea, a concept, that I always find myself returning to in writing. I'm not sure what fascinates me so much about it over other concepts. Do we find it or earn it?  Stumble over it in the middle of the road or work until we drop for it?  Or maybe it's a combination.  We work like hell for it and then, if we're lucky, we just happen to run across it one day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Our hours end in love's soft flow
I dare not ask you not to go

For though I know you honour me,
you cannot heed soft-spoken plea

Life takes you elsewhere, off in time
You must obey its gentle rhyme

While I exist in silent faith
'Til you return and love awakes

Monday, July 18, 2011

Face of Life

If I had but a moment's grace,
I'd gaze once more upon your face

On distinct features, weathered lines
where knowledge lives and ease reclines

Where eyes say more than winsome lips
their glance a touch like fingertips

A face that speaks of brimming life
of love and pain, both joy and strife

Visage of human beauty true
of faith and trust, and hope anew

The face reflects the complex man,
the sum of parts that lie within

With thanks to my usual, yet-always-unusual, inspiration.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Life's Joys

I live with beauty
I live with light;
with hopes and dreams;
love always bright.

My world each day
sings out with cheer;
with fortune's gifts
brought to me-near.

When darkness comes,
there's no despair.
It's fears and woes
I do not share.

For this life's joys
I honour you,
a guiding force
in all I do.

A short, simple but sincere poem for my brother on the anniversary of his death.  He'll always be part of me.