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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Words & Music: Part IV Randall Platt and Larry Murante

The big star of last Saturday was, of course, the buffed-bright sun, making a rather late and longed-for appearance in Southern Puget Sound. The Olympic Mountains, purple with an icing drizzle of snow, etched jagged lines between the silver of clouds and Case Inlet, while we blinking mossbacks collected on the deck of Jerry and Pamela Libstaff's beautiful home, just before showtime.

It takes strength in performance to turn the setting sun into a back-drop instead of the main show around here this year. Luckily, author Randall Platt and singer/songwriter Larry Murante had that strength by the silver-and-gold, words-and-music bucketful! Tweed Meyer brought her bucketful of pencils, paints, light and magic to do her own two-thousand words inside portraits of these artists. Enter the audience and all elements came together.

Randall Platt ( ) writes young adult and adult fiction and is so inspiring, both in her work ethic and her bliss. Within thirty seconds of her speaking, I found myself wishing for a daily dose of her happily enthusiastic backside-kicking! Randall's line of, "How long ya gonna live??" pushed at my procrastination envelope, and is now written in my journal. Give me honesty when we're between these sheets, please!

Ms. Platt is a mindful writer and motivational speaker, drawing the audience fully into the evening by first linking her talk with the music half of the program to come. She told us about how the soundtracks of old movies and TV shows really affected her, and has led to her habit of making soundtracks for each new writing project she begins. Everyone can relate to songs as time machines, and Randall uses them well. Her respect for songwriting was genuine...and appreciated.

She read to us from her newest young adult's historical fiction, "Hellie Jondoe," taking us back to a time in America when there were hundreds of thousands of orphans (1854-1929) shipped west, from the crowded eastern cities. War, poverty, and events like the pandemic flu of 1918, left so many children behind to wander the streets. This program was hopeful for adoption, rather than building more institutions. Truth was, working hands were needed and many children were made indentured servants, rather than being adopted into families.

Randall's heroine, Hellie Jondoe, is one of these orphans...a street-wise urchin. I found myself having a real soft spot for her, before chapter's end. Characters come to life within Randall's writing, special attention given to dialogue, and Randall Platt as actress came out in her reading for us. Her accents were great and her animation pulled us into the story. Like her wee heroine, Randall was a powerhouse of "CAN DO!" as she sat silhouetted against liquid silver.

Here I have to show a close-up of Tweed's portrait, done as Randall was speaking. It really amazed me to find tiny musical notes, lines and symbols in Ms. Platt's lips. Tweed doesn't even know music in a technical sense, yet her hands intuitively expressed Randall's performance. Tweed and the audience was primed and open. As the sun began to smolder, it was time for Larry Murante to pick up his guitar and play into the sunset for us.

His smile is the first thing to reach you, with a megawatt joy of muse and craft shining from his eyes. Then it's his voice, sometimes ringing, sometimes soft, but always warm and round in tone, with wonderful range. When Larry hit those delicious high notes, the hair on the back of my neck rose. When he belted out a line you knew could have reached the back of a hall, he had the control not to let it overwhelm this smaller venue.

The beauty of an intimate house concert is that you can mingle and talk with the performers, getting to know them just a little more. Here it must be said, I found Larry Murante to be a gentle man who walks in the service of Love. You could see it in the way he curls over his guitar and humbly towards the audience. You could hear it in his lyrics and melodies. He was definitely a natural to win (along with a co-writer) the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. His lyrics and rhymes are simply fresh, his story-telling intimate and engaging, his playing rhythmic and full. He made me want to sing harmony and he made Tweed start to dance at her easel. The lowering sun pouring gold through air, water, and onto the wood of Larry's guitar, Tweed's pastels catching it for us.

I could happily wax poetic about each of his songs, but perhaps it's better for you to take the journey yourself. Check out his website and his 2009 album, "Point of Entry" for a great mix of Folk-Pop, Americana, and even Jazz! A simple line from the title song sums up the night for me.

"If you give the world outside a point of'll give back to you."

As Larry finished to a standing ovation, the sun took its final curtain call and the world caught fire before nightfall. Two local, large talents and heavenly, special effects lighting in silver and gold for June's "Words & Music" out here on the happening Key...ooh-la, what a night it was!
Sing us out please Larry....


Kim Thompson said...


My girl's last guest didn't leave until after seven. No hope for me to come. But my dear, my appetite is hungry for more. I shall be there next date. You all have a good thing going.



Stephanie Frieze said...

What a wonderful event and lovely post, Lorraine, the sort of thing that inspires and recharges creative batteries. I loved it when I had a writing group to meet with a couple of times a month. I am very lazy otherwise.

Kim Thompson said...

Stephanie, I'd hardly call you a lazy writer! You are rather prolific, I'd say.

Lorraine, the event is July 24th, right? 7:00 PM? Are there driving directions on the website?

Lorraine Hart said...

I would never call you a lazy writer either Stephanie! Folks should definitely (if they haven't yet) check out Stephanie's Blog "View From My Broom." If you click on each writer's name, here in the comments, you can go to a list of their blogs...great stuff!

The donations given at these concerts go to the Young Writers' Group that Jerry runs, out here on the Key. Jerry and Pamela Libstaff are HUGE in giving back to their community.

I'm so thrilled you want to come, July 24th. Kim! If you can arrive by 6.30pm, there's wonderful nibbles and wine...mingling with many writers. The musician of that night will be Darden Smith, who will be running a songwriting workshop for young folk of this area, later in the summer I believe.

I'm sure, if you go to the Words and Music website, there will be directions...or you can call me.