Inspirations - Jim Critcher
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Part of the right-brained journey of being a musician, minister and mystic is the need to continually feed my spirit and soul with both new and old streams of influences. I can find inspiration and creativity from a centuries old classical work, be it music or art. Other times it is how a writer has made words musical through their craft. On this page I’ll point to what is current on my playlist, books I am reading and artists I’ve discovered.  Through my exploration and discovery, perhaps my choices will inspire you and in turn, your choices can prove a new source of inspiration for me. Let me hear from you.

What I’m Listening To

Chris Thile

Chris is a once-in-a-generation virtuoso on the mandolin not at all unlike a Perlman or a Segovia on their respective instruments. Known for his ensemble work with Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, he is a scary technician and rare musical artist. I heard him recently at the Meyerhoff in Baltimore as he captured a capacity audience for almost two hours on solo mandolin. Juxtaposing new transcriptions of these Bach violin partitas with traditional “pickin”, Thile brought Bach to an audience who might never have had access to or been drawn to this music. This recording requires one to adjust their listening to the quieter voice of the mandolin. Yet the mandolin and these interpretations bring an intimacy and fresh perspective to these masterpieces. Bravo.

What I’m Reading

Susan Cain – Quiet

Finally, sweet validation! I am neither a freak nor anti-social nor unloving of people. Susan Cain has beautifully described who I and at least one-third of the people we know who are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society. Quiet will help you relate better with yourself or those around you who prefer the “quiet” to the noise of the culture.

Artists I’ve Discovered

Judy Kang

Judy is an amazing violinist from Canada who has the unique distinction of having performed under both Pierre Boulez and Lady Gaga. Beginning her career at age 4, she has and continues to stretch the boundaries of the instrument. She has won numerous awards throughout her career including the use of the 1689 “Baumgartner” Stradivarius by the Canada Council for the Arts. I’ve known Judy for a number of years and am fascinated with her both as a person and a musician. She is an artist you need to get to know. Find her at her website and on Twitter and Facebook.