The name "All This Useless Beauty" comes from an Elvis Costello song that I heard him sing in the opening segment of his talk show the night before I decided to create the blog.
I was sitting in the living room tonight with the dog and the fire and another episode of that show was playing in the other room down the hall. It was mostly background noise until the sound of a familiar song filtered through to my conscious. A soft gentle acoustic version of The Wallflowers song One Headlight.
My brother started taking drum lessons back when he was about 10 or 11 I think. He was a student of some music teacher that worked out of a big music store/school on the west side of Madison. For their recitals the different teachers pieced together students of various instruments to create a few 'rock bands' that would then practice together a few times before performing their song, which I believe was selected collectively by the teachers.
The song that Brendan's group performed was One Headlight, which had been a hit single sometime in the year previous and had been played on the radio countless times, so was immediately recognizable to most of the attendees of the recital. However, I don't remember Brendan being particularly fond of the song, but maybe it was just that he was required to attend lessons and a recital he wasn't a fan of.
For some reason only my mom and I could attend the 'show'; it was the first time I ever saw Brendan really perform anything and I remember being so tickled that my little brother actually seemed pretty good at what he was doing, with a scowl on his face the whole time.
Brendan ended up getting a drum set at some point for Christmas in some year that followed, and played them pretty regularly for the rest of his life. The musician with whom he was performing with the last couple years said one of the reasons he chose Brendan was because he played so much louder than any other drummer he had heard. Although I was woken up many a time early in the morning by the banging of those drums from two stories down, I somehow doubt he ever played One Headlight again after he got off that awkward stage at the music school. But every time I've heard that song since that day it's made me think of my brother playing the drums.
On Elvis Costello's show tonight, Jakob Dylan was playing the song solo, with just his voice and his guitar, no backup band, no drummer.
He followed it by a song called "On Up the Mountain".
"You get tired...
You get weak...
But you won't abandon