Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Zosma's Blues - Seth Walker

Last weekend we saw Austin-based Seth Walker and his group play at our local theater. I don't pretend to have the vocabulary or understanding of his particular genre of music to properly describe it. Reviewers have described it as Blues and Roots, Americana, Downhome with a bit of Soul. I easily recognised the blues element, but there was also what I think the experts call "a driving beat" in there. Seth's blues style is way more funky than the wailing "I lost my dog, my wife left and grandma's in jail" type of blues.

We were thoroughly entertained. All but two of the numbers were new to us, most self-penned by Seth. His guitar playing was, I thought, superb, backed by bass player and drummer, nothing more was needed but his very bluesy voice, and engaging personality which, from the cheers and applause, clearly appealed to the audience.

My husband's son-in-law who helps organise the season of concerts at our local theater, kindly asked Seth for his birth data on my behalf. I'm always wary of asking or seeking anyone's birth data in case they find the idea of astrology offensive - I don't understand this, but do respect it. Seth, it seems, had no such objection.

Seth Walker was born on 2 September 1972 in Burlington, North Carolina. Time of birth, he thinks, was around 4am. A biography tells us that he was a child of two classically trained musicians, and was brought up in a commune.

Sun and Mars are conjoined in Virgo. I wasn't surprised to find him a Sun Virgoan - his lyric writing is prolific, he seems to be able to write a song at the drop of his hat! Virgo (along with Gemini) is ruled by Mercury, the writer's planet. Mars so close to natal Sun reflects the energy and drive evident in his stage performance.

Mercury (communication and mental processes), ruler of his Sun is in Leo in 1st house of self - linking writing ability with leadership and public performance.

With a birth time of around 4am Seth's rising sign would be Leo - very appropriate for a stage performer and leader of his group. This birth time puts Aries at mid-heaven, which is the area of career and public standing. Here again, a leader's sign, Aries! Mars, conjunct Seth's Sun rules Aries - so here's another nice link between his self (Sun) his rising sign (how people perceive him) and his career. He's doing exactly what his natal blueprint describes!

Moon (inner self) is in early Cancer - cardinal Water sign - along with Venus, planet of the Arts. There had to be some Water to account for the deep emotion, often painful, lying behind almost all of Seth's lyrics - The Blues. There's more to account for this "blue" feeling of his though - I suspected as much. Fixed Star Zosma (@ 11.16 Virgo) was conjunct natal Mars at his birth - and through Mars linked to his Sun (self). I've come across Zosma twice recently, in the charts of Ann Coulter and George Michael. Ancient tradition links this star to victims or saviours - an interpretation which isn't relevant here, it wasn't relevant in the other cases I mentioned either. Yet there is one link here. There's sadness inherent in many of George Michael's songs, as there is in Seth's, in a different, but in more energetic and "determined to overcome it", fashion....that's Mars' reflection. This sadness and melancholy may connect to Zosma, the Fixed Star providing a kind of overlay to the standard interpretation of Virgo Sun/Mars..

It'll be interesting to note future occurrences of Zosma, especially in charts of musicians. Perhaps, rather than a victim/saviour motif, a modern interpretation might be "a potential leaning towards melancholia".

Transiting Saturn would have passed over Seth's Sun and Mars around August and Spetember last year, 2008. I wonder whether this coincided with some challenges, changes, or perhaps simply a particularly difficult few months? If this was the case, then I'm sure he wrote a few songs to help buffer those difficult times.

Seth's rather snazzy website, with samples of his music, a promotional video etc. can be seen HERE. I can confirm that a Seth Walker concert is well worth seeking out!.

(From the husband's camera.)


R J Adams said...

Liked the music and the website, lost it on the astrology. Sorry about your Grandma, give her my regards next time you visit, and - oh, I'm sure your dog will come home eventually.


Wisewebwoman said...

And, I must say, awfully easy on the eye, too, T!
Great website, love the hats and his drawl. H'mm!!

Twilight said...

RJ ~~~ Well now, you could write a blues song of yer own - "Got Lost in the Astrology" ;-)

(Grandma wants to know if you'll help to spring her from the clink -she has a plan!)

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Yes! What I noticed when seeing him a little closer, while he signed a cd for us, is that he has a very kindly, gentle look in his eyes - you can see it in the big photograph on the post too.

Also, he took time signing cds for folks, quite a long line waited, but he did more than just scribble his name, he wrote little message and their names as well. (Virgo attention to detail!)

The Next President of The United States said...

When first turned on to him nearly four years ago, I was drawn by the hints of N'Awlins in Seth's music and his under-stated guitar playing. He's one of those guitar players who don't try to impress or baffle you with tons of notes, but who play with spacing and timing. Much like BB King and Eric Clapton, just to name two BIG names. Seth and the guys were thrilled by their reception, really dug the concert hall and were taken aback that such a place, a concert series and a crowd existed in Duncan, America. Has he said several time, "Duncan, Oklahoma? Who knew?"

anthonynorth said...

Never heard of the guy, but a good bluesy voice can only be beaten by a very few select rock singers. And the lead, bass, drums combination is by far the best for any band - I'll allow a piano, if necessary. Too much clutter stops the improvisation.

Twilight said...

LOL! A response might be "Seth Walker? - Who knew!" :-)

The town is very lucky indeed to have that theater - and a concert organiser knowlegeable enough to track down such excellent acts.

You may preen now! ;-)

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ He's not internationally known (yet), but well-known in Blues circles here, I think.

As I remember it, the UK isn't big on The Blues, other than as a fringe interest. :-)

I feel certain you'd enjoy Seth Walker.

The Next President of The United States said...

I noticed your comment to anthonynorth: As I remember it, the UK isn't big on The Blues, other than as a fringe interest. :-)
It reminded me that I was going to one day give you my Blues 101 tutorial. Still haven't gotten around to getting that down on paper. However, in regard to Brits' role in blues, one reason I'm a blues fan is because during the late 50s and throughout the '60s, it was the British who kept the music alive. Americans were too busy with various forms of rock 'n' roll and pop music, but there was a thriving blues scene in GB during that period.
Folks like Alexis Korner (a Dutch transplant), Long John Baldry and Cyril Davies led bands and had clubs that featured blues artists from the US and Europe, and of course, there was the seminal figure, John Mayall, whose band The Bluesbreakers was a training ground for some of the biggest names in modern music. Let's not forget that all of the original Rolling Stones, with the exception of Charlie Watts, who was jazz trained, came out of the British blues scene.
Forgive the name dropping, but others who came from the British blues scene were: All the members of Cream (Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker), Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Frankie Miller, Graham Bond, all of the original Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan), Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, Stevie & brother Muff Winwood, Dick Heckstall-Smith, the great Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher, The Climax Blues Band, T.S. McPhee, Aynsley Dunbar, Jo Ann Kelly, the list goes on and on, and includes a piano player named Elton John, who hasn't had a bad career! And there was even a black cat from America who went to GB to make a name and ended up getting deeply into the blues scene there. Believe his name was Hendrix.
I have great regard for the Brits for keeping that music alive during a time we Americans were smitten by The Beatles (rightfully so, of course) and the eclectic pop scene of the 1960s.

Twilight said...

TNPOTUS ~~~ OOoops! I think.
But, as one Professor Joad used to say on an old Brit radio programme "The Brains Trust", "It depends what you mean by...."(in this case The Blues).

I obviously am ignorant of the wider range of what's known as Blues - or how the genre is properly defined. I'd class just about everybody you named as "pop".
But there you go - I was never into much other than Sinatra, stage musicals, a bit of light opera, and Neil Diamond in the days you speak of, so I wasn't taking notice.

Having just now chatted with Himself, and listened to mind-spinning information about blues patterns, structure, beats to the bar and such - I'm not a lot wiser.

I am currently trying to catch up on all that I ignored back in the 50s and 60s. If you ever get Blues 101 down on paper, I'd love to read it!

thanks for your interesting input!

The Next President of The United States said...

Many of the folks I mentioned did move on into rock and pop, but their 'umble beginnings came in the blues scene. That's why they call blues "roots" music.

Twilight said...

Ha - gotcha TNPOTUS! :-)

Twilight said...

No----what I meant is 'Got it!'
came out wrong!