Today's the day - it's my turn on the Geogram Blog Hop celebrating the new fabric line from Samarra Khaja! I've been a huge fan of Samarra's work for years, so when Lecien Fabrics asked if I'd like to be part of the blog hop, I couldn't say no. Samarra has an effortless whimsey that brings a smile to my face every time her work pops up in my Instagram feed, so I was determined to create something in the joyful spirit of her work.
My Geogram fabrics came in the mail and I spent hours looking at the huge variety of prints and colors! I knew I wanted to use as many of the 30 colors as possible (I ended up using 29, sorry to that one black and white print I left out!). Once I had spent some quality time with the prints, I decided to make a music inspired quilt with a similar design process I used in my Bruce Springsteen-inspired quilt The River. This time my quilt is inspired by another one of my musical heroes, Elvis Costello!
Guys, I LOVE Elvis Costello. I remember the first time I heard him. I was in middle school and had checked out This Year's Model from the library. The first blaring notes of "No Action" had me hooked. I needed to hear everything he ever recorded. I had literally never heard a voice like his because there's no one who sounds like him. The more of his work I heard, the more I learned that what distinguishes his work is experimentation. He's released 30 albums and collaborated with a diverse range of musicians like The Roots, The Brodsky Quartet, and Vince Gill.
The result is that I have an Elvis Costello album for every mood. When I was in high school, Brutal Youth was my favorite album. When I'm nostalgic for my days training as a classical musician, I listen to The Juliet Letters. When I need good political protest music, it's obviously Armed Forces. And my favorite Elvis Costello song, "Strict Time," is on Trust, another amazing album about politics and relationships. But there's one album I love most of all that I can listen to any time and it always puts a smile on my face, and that's Get Happy!!
From the first time I heard it, I knew that Elvis Costello and the Attraction’s album Get Happy!! would be my favorite. The album features some of Costello’s catchiest songs and smartest lyrics (“Now there’s newsprint all over your face, well / Maybe that’s why I can read you like a book” from my favorite track Men Called Uncle has always stood out). Get Happy!! is widely considered one of the greatest albums released in the 1980s. Music writers Timothy Bracy and Elizabeth Bracy summed up the album best, saying, “There is nothing else like Get Happy!! in the history of rock and roll, 20 near-perfect melodic confections packed together in a dizzying stream of wordplay and melody…Get Happy!! is the sort of bizarre genius that cannot be replicated.”
Seriously? I can only aspire to dance moves like Elvis and The Attractions are laying down in this video. Get Happy!! was released after Costello's most iconic album, Armed Forces. There's really nothing I can say about that album that hasn't been said already, it's one of the best albums anyone has ever made. But sometimes Armed Forces is a difficult listen. There is real heartache and political unrest in that album. WIth Get Happy!!, Costello gave us one of the most upbeat and joyful albums I've heard. Of course, his trademark dark comedy is still there, and that endears his to me even more ("The chairman of this boredom is a compliment collector / I'd like to be his funeral director" from "Opportunity" is a great example).
BLOG DANCE BREAK! Take a listen to a couple more gems from Get Happy!!
The album cover, designed by iconic record sleeve designer Barney Bubbles, is the inspiration for this quilt. The two simple exclamation points at the end of the album title help set the stage for its high-energy tracks. This colorful and joyful quilt of exclamation points is everything I think of when I listen to Get Happy!!. It is an album that can instantly lighten my mood and that I can listen to on repeat over and over again!
A big thanks is due to my partner, Mitch, who turned my vision for this quilt into a foundation paper pieced block pattern to make all these exclamation points. And, of course, thank you to Lecien Fabrics for inviting me to be part of the blog hop and to Samarra Khaja for her inspiring and happy new fabric line!! (See what I did there?)