May 20, 2013 Virtual Open Mic
Every Sunday we will be featuring a Virtual Open Mic here on Broken Jukebox. We will post an article with anywhere between 5-10 videos on it. We hope to get enough video submissions, but we will fill in some of our favorites if need be. If you would like to have your video featured on an open mic, please send a link or the video to email@example.com. Please spread the word, share the link and share your music. All videos will be considered, but we would love to have videos made specifically for the open mic (if you do make a new video please name drop us). Thanks everyone, enjoy:
This week we start out with our friend, George Douglas with a brand new song “Bitterman”:
After hearing him play with Mary Gauthier last night here is a Scott Nolan song :
Here’s John Craigie with “I Almost Stole Some Weed From Todd Snider”:
Now, Rocco DeLuca with “Say Amen” :
And finally tonight, we have an amazing track by Jon Byrd, “Silent Night”:
Roger Marin at The Bistro
Sally Creek Golf Course,
Woodstock, Ontario, Canada
Saturday April 13, 2013
My friend Carolyn has taken on managing this restaurant on a new golf course in my hometown of Woodstock. She mentioned to me last fall that she was going to try to get music going on a regular basis at this new venue in an old furnace/incinerator building. I know Caroline from music festivals we both attend like the Roots on the River Festival in Bellows Falls, Vermont and Roger Marin’s Cicadafest held in St. Catherines, Ontario the during July for the last 4b or 5 years.. I first met her when Scott Nolan played my backyard in back in 2008 and stayed at Carolyn and Davids place, as had Gordie Tentrees when he played my basement a year later. I met Scott in Texas when he was touring with Roger’s band.
Roger was brand new in Fred Eaglesmith’s band back in 1999 when I saw my first Fred show at his annual charity picnic. That was the last picnic near Port Dover and they moved to The Catfish Creek campgrounds in the Springwater Conservation area near Aylmer (Ontario) the next year where they’ve been since. I lived for those picnics because folks from all over North America would gather a stones throw from my home and bands and musicians they’d met on the road would show up for a weekend of music and partying and lots of campfire jams. The great thing about the picnics was that quite often somebody that had been up on stage that afternoon would be sitting across the fire from you later that night. I can remember one memorable campfire jam where we had, Roger, Hayes Carll, J.T. Van Zandt (Townes’son), Dan Walsh, Washboard Hank, and a few assorted D.Rangers jammin’ and laughing and bringing out tunes.
It was around this time that Roger started playing a few of his own songs and asking us what we thought…we thought they were great…so were the covers he was doing, most notably a couple from Adam Carroll. Next year in June of 2004, I met Adam for the first time when I made the long drive down to Bellows Falls Vermont and that was the weekend Roger first had his debut CD for sale. That festival blew my mind, it was the first time I saw Adam, Hayes Carll, Chris Knight, Slaid Cleaves, Gandalph Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams and a ton of other great acts! In the evening there were up close shows in a little room at the Everyday Inn and later jams in the parking lot. It was magical.
At Christmastime in Port Dover, after the Fred show Roger played down the street at a little bar called Captain Billy’s with his Fred bandmates Dan Walsh & Darcy Yates and his buddy Matt Keighan on the skins.
The next time I saw Roger with a band was at an outdoor show at a flea market in Brantford, Ontario. Matt was back behind the kit and he had a really tall guy with a mohawk named Rod Standish and bass player who had long, almost waist length black hair named Phil Bosley along this time. They rocked that day and they rocked harder in Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas the next time I saw them. Led Zeppelin covers of HeartBreaker and Livin’ Lovin’ Maid – complete with screaming guitars and usually a drum solo on a beer keg closed many a set those days.
June 2006 in Bellows Falls, Roger , Matty, Phil and Rod parked themselves outside my motel room at the Everyday Inn and jammed all night long. I had my kids along that time, Danielle who was 18 and George Jr. two years younger, and a pretty good guitar player already. I think they were impressed by my friends. Roger gave my son his name and phone number and told him to call if he wanted to do something musically. That was a very king thing for him to do. It’s written on the CD cover for High Roads which came out that year and is one the very few sophomore albums that is stronger than the debut disc. At Christmas that year Roger opened the Fredmas shows in Port Dover solo. Here’s a video of him doing Broken Glass and Busted Songs that weekend.
2010 brought the release of Silvertown, which is reviewed here on Broken Jukebox by yours truly. So I’ll try to to stop with the history lesson here and get onto telling you about the show a few nights back.
The Bistro is a large room with red brick walls and big windows with rounded tops. In it’s former life it was the furnace room/incinerator for the Ontario Hospital that sat north of town and was a collection of dozens of buildings spread over many acres either side of Highway 59. The OH, as it was known, was a mental hospital and at one time was the City of Woodstock’s biggest employer. Many of my friends and my wife Donna worked there when I was a teen in the 70’s, in fact one of my friends; Greg, who was at the show on Saturday night said his last day of employment was in this building. Attitudes and ideas about mental health changed over the years and the patients were mostly integrated into group homes inside town. The city grew and a subdivision and golf course named Sally Creek were built on the site of the former hospital. The towering red brick chimney still stands outside this impressive old building.
There was a large group of 35 or so people already at the restaurant for a birthday party for a 70 year old woman when we got there at 7 for dinner before the show. They were having a good time and most stayed right through the show. I’d reserved a table for 12 friends and co-workers and most of them were there by 8. Roger and his wife Rogina showed up about that time and Roger noted that there wasn’t a P.A. and said “Oh well, I’ll just sing loud”. I offered to go grab mine but he demurred saying “No sit down and enjoy yourself”. Mike Tuyp showed 15 minutes later and I looked over at his electric guitar and thought to myself “How’s this gonna work?” The raucous group at the back was making it hard to converse across the table so I went home (the other side of this small city) and unburied the PA and speakers, grabbed a mic and stand and was back in a half hour.
I’ve seen Mike and Roger do the duo thing a half dozen times and I’m always blown away by how perfectly Mr. Tuyp complements the songs. It’s so seamless it’s scary sometimes. Roger opened with the title track from Silvertown and was playing a gorgeous old well-weathered Guild Acoustic. It must have had a short because if he moved too fast there’d be a large crack echoing through the room. I lasted a song and a half before I went and got my Martin out of the trunk of my car and he played the rest of the night with that. I love hearing that guitar in the hands of good players and there’ve been a few play it over the years. At a house concert a couple years ago Manitoba Hal Brolund put down his double necked ukulele for a song and borrowed it for a great tune. When he was finished blowing us away my buddy Pete turned to me and said “Well, George, it’s not the guitar…sounds good when he plays it!” Blair Hogan used it and Brock Zeman used my friend Gary’s Larrivee when they played Roots on the River last June. That’s a lot of heavy duty mojo that I’m hoping will seep back into my playing someday. Brock told me, after touring a bit with Roger, that he was impressed with how adaptable and positive he was. He told me if his guitar wasn’t available, he’d borrow one…. If there was no guitar he’d play piano…no problem. He is a killer pedal steel player, a gifted mechanic….and a Mechanical Engineer! Based on a couple of remarks he made during the set he’s becoming a master drywaller too.
Pretty early in the set Roger performed “I Wish it Would Rain” a Rodney Crowell penned tune that he does so well. Roger met Rodney on one of the Delbert McClinton Cruises and they became friends. During the course of the show he also covered Mary Gauthier’s “I Drink” , Adam Carroll’s “Blondie & Dagwood” and ”The Girl With the Dirty Hair” and tossed in a Todd Snider tune too. I mention the covers because I’m a know-it-all and when I’d hear one starting up I lean into someone close by and say confidently in their ear “That’s an Adam Carroll song!” I have iPhone video of “Broken” and “It’ll Be Alright” that will accompany this piece and without a setlist I know I heard “Rollin’On”, “Film Star”, “You Hate Yourself” and the aforementioned “Silvertown”. I missed hearing two of my favourites “High Roads” and “Whiskey Take Me Off The Shelf “ but I didn’t want to shout them out either.
There was probably 30 folks there to see Roger and about the same number in the restaurant for other reasons so it was a good crowd. Roger remarked how nice it was to play town for the first time and see so many familiar faces. The folks I brought, who had not heard him before, loved it as much as the fans that have seen him develop over the years. I’m looking forward to a bunch more shows at this new venue – The Bistro at Sally Creek.
Mar 15, 2013 Concert Reviews
Tuesday night at the historic Southern Theater in Columbus, Ohio I was treated to an incredible show. We arrived right as the doors were opening and took in the beautiful venue. This is one of the nicer places to see a show in Ohio. Built in 1896 and restored in the 1990′s, The Southern Theater is an architectural marvel.
At just after 8:00 p.m. opening act, Cody Diekhoff, the Chicago Farmer took the stage. I had never heard of him prior to purchasing my tickets for this show, but have since gotten his latest record, a review of which can be found here. Diekhoff opened the show with three songs from earlier releases that I had not previously heard. I was immediately taken by his stage presence. It was obvious he is not as green as so many openers are. He held the crowd that had been smart enough to come early enough to see him, in the palm of his hand.
He went on to mix stories of both the small town he grew up in and the city of Chicago that he now calls home, among phenomenal songs. Among the highlights of his set was, “I’m Working On It” during which he led the crowd in sing along and attempted to teach them his accent. Other standouts were his story a homeless man inspiring him to push on with his career and his song “Assembly Line Blues”, that would hit home to any factory worker in the midwest.
Over all, Chicago Farmer’s set was excellent, I’d love to see him play a full set at some point in time. This brings me to bit of a bitch that I’d like to get off my chest (it’s my website I can do that if I choose to and I do). I hate when people don’t show up in time for the opening act, it just drives me absolutely bats shit crazy. You pay for a ticket, you might as well see all that is going on. Further more, these opening acts are often not making much money and they take these gigs to have the chance to play in front of a larger crowd, so give them the respect and show up and beyond that shut up and listen to them, you never know when you will hear something new that you like (okay bith over).
After a fairly long intermission, a bare foot, bearded Snider took the stage to a rousing ovation. He opened with a nice version of “Greencastle Blues” from 2009′s The Excitement Plan.
The first set leaned on some of the heavier Snider tunes. “Is This Thing Working?” is so much better live than on the record, and this was the first chance I’ve had to hear it live. Another standout of the first set for me was “Too Soon To Tell” from Snider’s last record. Towards the end of the first set he played,”Sunshine”, a song that I just never “got” until that night. I’ve heard a million times both on the record and live and for some reason it finally resonated with me on this night. He ended the first set with a “Beer Run”-”Age Like Wine”-”Beer Run” medly of sorts. I can’t deny that every time I hear the first lines of “Beer Run” I cringe a little, but he told a great story about defending playing the song that made it completely worth hearing.
I was excited that Snider was playing two sets, it reminded me of years ago when he played the Canal Street Tavern in Dayton. The second set was much looser than the first, as Todd really seemed to be enjoying himself. He littered the set with fan favorites, “Easy Money”, “Tension”, “Alright Guy”, “Conservative Christian…” and “Double Wide Blues”. Told a few great stories about meeting his manager for the first time and eating mushrooms for the first time. After the show he came out for a short encore, coaxing Elvis on stage to sing a Presley song and ending the night with the crowd singing “Enjoy Yourself” to a smiling Snider.
All night Snider really seemed to be enjoying himself and the crowd was great, singing along when appropriate and listening to the quiet songs. Todd was in top form which was a real treat for me as I have read a few places of disappointing shows in the last few years. It was great to see the self proclaimed Stoner Folk singer again after a few years, the time between Todd shows for me made me remember what I loved so much about seeing him live. I am still convinced he is the best show on two feet.
Mar 8, 2013 Album Reviews
Chicago Farmer is the stage name for folk country artist, Cody Diekhoff. I had never heard of him until recently when I purchased my Todd Snider tickets for next week. Chicago Farmer was listed as the opener, so I reached out to get a copy of this record.
After listening to this record, it looks as though Chicago Farmer will join a long list of quality artists I’ve seen open for Todd, Backenforth, Il is a great slice of americana. Diekhoff’s vocals sound as though Neil Young swallowed Bill Monroe’s soul and somehow ended up based out of the midwest. The band that is behind him on this release deliver a tight sound rooted somewhere between raucous country and bluegrass that blends well with the vocals and lyrics.
I have no frame of reference to compare this to his former releases, but if Backenforth, Il is any indication of how good they are, I will be purchasing them in the near future. Time and time again, on this release, Diekhoff demonstrates a knack for penning clever, catchy lyrics that has you re-listening to the songs over and over.
As for my favorites on this one, I’ll start with the opener, “Everybody in This Town”, which could have been written in my hometown or any small city in the midwest for that matter. This song chronicles the downside to small town charm, everyone is aware of everything you get yourself into.
Coming a few tracks later is “The Twenty Dollar Bill”, the heartwarming tale of holding onto the memory of your grandparents and the clever use of the things they give you. The last track I will discuss is “Backseat”, a nice little love song that has Diekhoff proclaiming that everything and everyone take a backseat when the girl in his life is around.
My only complaint is that the record is too short, I would have like to have seen 2-3 more tracks on it. I recommend picking this up and checking out Chicago Farmer on line here. I will be reviewing the show with Snider next week, so I will let everyone know what I think of Diekhoff’s live show soon.
Mar 1, 2013 Playlist
There for awhile I was posting a different list of five every Friday. I am extending that idea and stealing a page from Bob Dylan’s book this week. I am going to try to post a somewhat themed playlist as often as every week. You can download the playlist by right clicking the link at the bottom of this page and choose “Save target as”. As a note of importance, if you or anyone you represent own these songs and would like them taken off the playlist please inform me and I will do so immediately. This lists are not meant to steal music, rather to highlight the songs and artists included, so please go out and buy these records.
This week’s playlist is all gambling related songs. I have always loved a good gambling tune and these are some of my favorites. There are some poker players, pool shooters, horse tracks among these songs. Most of them are originals but there are a few select cover songs that I am fond of as well.
Here is the the track listing:
1. Bob Dylan : “Ramblin’ Gamblin” Willie” from The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3
2. Brock Zeman and Dan Walsh: “Don’t Tell Jimmy” from The Bourbon Sessions
3. Corb Lund: “A Game in Town Like This” from Losin’ Lately Gambler
4. David Olney: “Ace of Spades Blues” from Migration
5. Fred Eaglesmith: “Rooster Fight” from Bailin
6. Jackie Greene: “The Gambler” from Small Tempest
7. Jerry Garcia: “The Loser” from Garcia
8. Jim Croce: “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” from You Don’t Mess Around With Jim
9. John Hiatt: “Cold River” from Master of Disaster
10. Malcolm Holcombe: “High Rolling Gambler” from Wager
11. Old and in the Way: “Land of the Navejo” from Old and in the Way
12. Paul Geremia: “Dyin’ Crapshooter’s Blues” from Live From Uncle Sam’s Backyard
13. Peter Case: “Roving Gambler” from Sings Like Hell
14. Ray Wylie Hubbard: “Mississippi Flush” from Eternal and Lowdown
15. Todd Snider: “Easy Money” from Songs From the Daily Planet
16. Townes Van Zandt: “Mr. Gold and Mr. Mudd” from High Low and In Between
Tags: bob dylan, Brock Zeman, corb lund, david olney, Fred Eaglesmith, Jackie Greene, jerry garcia, jim croce, John Hiatt, malcolm holcombe, old and in the way, peter case, ray wylie hubbard, todd snider, Townes Van Zandt
Jun 8, 2012 Album Reviews
I was late on the Jason Eady train, only getting on with the release of his last record, Till the Money’s All Gone, but man am I glad that I jumped on board. I fell in love with that record immediately and was drawn to the more country sounding tunes on it. Much to my joy, Eady decided to record an album of just that, real country songs !
I know that in this day and age, country music means something way different than it did 30 years ago, but Eady seems to have purposely tossed that memo into a garbage can. AM Country Heaven is a throwback to the heyday of Merle, Waylon, Willie and all the other greats. I have to say it so damn refreshing to listen to this record, as Eady has perfectly married his superb songwriting and that classic country sound.
This album has a barroom vibe right from the start. Eady’s vocals are crystal clear and the band is straight out of the greatest honky tonk you could ever imagine. Lloyd Maines’ steel guitar is all over the place giving the songs the appropriate bag of emotions that litter every great country tune. There’s lots of drinking and lost love populating the songs, and there is even a duet with Patty Loveless. Eady has completely avoided the pitfalls that could come with making an album like this and delivered a perfect, legitimate, honest country masterpiece.
The title track kicks of the record, and is a lament of the current state of country music. Many artists have written similar songs (Todd Snider’s “Country When it Rocks” and Brock Zeman’s “Nothin’ on the Radio” come to mind) but I’m not sure that they have done so as well as Eady does here. He sings “I miss the days when the women were ugly and the men were all forty years old, Because you had to say something for the people to listen, Now they just do what they’re told”. I could not agree more.
The second track on the album is another favorite of mine. “Old Guitar and Me” tells the story of a man who is destined to shuck the 9-5 for life on the road singing busted down songs and drinking the nights away.
My personal favorite track on the record is “Paid My Dues”. Cary Ann Hearst provides some tasty harmony vocals on this tale of a broken down man wondering “How much will it take, cuz Lord, I think I’ve paid my dues”.
Closing the record is a prayer from a drunkard wanting Jesus to brighten his day by turning this “Water into Wine”. This slow number is a perfect end to a perfect album.
Everyone should already own this record as it was released a couple months ago but, if for some reason you don’t jump over to Jason Eady’s website and order you up an album full of country bliss.
Here’s a video of him doing “Old Guitar and Me” on Music Fog.
Mar 8, 2012 Album Reviews
Okay perhaps there wasn’t that much celebration, but you get the idea that I am always happy when this self proclaimed gypsy puts out an album. The very appropriately title Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables is Todd’s 16th release if you count live records, eps, and compilations and each and every one of them are special.
I probably listen to Snider as much or more than any other artist on a regular basis so sometimes I can be a little critical towards new stuff and sometimes it takes me a little while to warm up to a new disc as was the case with his last studio release, The Excitement Plan (which I now love).
I have talked to a lot of Todd fans and read some early reactions to this record and it seems that a lot of people are experiencing the warming up to this record due to the very loose and muddy production and general dirtiness of the album. I, on the other hand was sold from the first few minutes of the opening track and my opinion was just solidified the farther I got into the album.
The production is somewhat similar to the Peace Queer ep from a couple of years ago. I’m not sure if this is because of Eric McConnell’s presence as a producer on both or because the loose feel is what Todd was aiming for, although I have read quotes stating Todd wanted the musicians to just “make a mess”. Personally I feel that the loose, dirty sound lends itself to the songs quite well. The characters in these songs would not make totally pretty music and therefore the tones surrounding their stories should not be completely polished.
For a lot of the album there is bluesy guitar, and Amanda Shires on fiddle to go with the rhythm section of Paul Griffith (drums) and Eric McConnell (bass) and Jason Isbell makes an appearance on a couple tracks. The vocals are pretty laid back on most of the tracks, Todd falls back on the almost spoken word singing on quite a few tracks and then breaks out an almost falsetto on one tune. Shires does a great job added depth to the vocal tracks on a lot of the songs as well.
As for the songs, it’s not a surprise that the down and out, underbelly of society make themselves quite known on Todd’s songs. Always writing about the lower classes, Todd seems to have a way to make the people mainstream America forgets about or hides their eyes from, seem poetic and majestic even if what they happen to be doing is completely immoral. This record has no shortage of these well shaped characters, some based on specific people, some generalized versions of a sector of society, some perhaps addressing Todd’s own personal struggles.
Immediately the album starts off with a great song, “In the Beginning”. The agnostic hymns part of the title comes in on this one as this song attempts to explain the need for religion as a reason to appease the poor with the promised holy land and keep them from killing the rich people of the world. While it seems perhaps anti-religious, the faith in something is still what keeps the people in the song from the heinous act of murder.
The rich being possibly killed for their possessions is once again part of the theme of “In The Beginning” which, is my favorite song on the record. Here a working class man is discussing how he’d really like to have part or all of what a more well off person he is talking to has. With great lines like, “You think I’m not very bright, and you might be right, I might have been born yesterday… but, I was up all night” it really captures the way the working class thinks they are perceived by the dreaded “one percent”. Todd also gets the desperation of being unemployed and how it sometimes leads to extreme circumstances, “I’m thinking what’s keeping me from killing this guy and takin’ his shit?”.
Other standouts include, “Brenda”, a song that takes Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ relationship and makes it a love song and a cover of Jimmy Buffett’s “West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown” which is infinitely better than the original. Finally, anyone familiar with Todd’s stories will probably recognize his friend from Alaska, Digger Dave, who appears as the main character of “Digger Dave’s Crazy Woman Blues”. Todd sings about the time Dave was incarcerated for “letting that crazy bitch in the house”.
Although it is only 10 tracks long, Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables is a great album, and furthermore is a great Todd Snider album. There really isn’t a song that I skip on the whole thing so I highly suggest getting a copy soon. www.ToddSnider.net
Mar 4, 2012 Lists
This week’s list of five is one day late, and one number short. So in reality it is Saturday’s list of Four. The reason it is only a list of four is that I did not want to force another artist/ album in just to make the five because I thought that would take away from how much I really like the following list.
If you have read this site on any kind of regular basis, you probably know that I am not normally a huge fan of female singers outside of the blues and soul genres. There are definitely exceptions (Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Norah Jones, etc.) and in the past years I have grown to include Elizabeth Cook and Teri Hendrix in the discussion.
Lately in an effort to broaden my horizons, or perhaps because I tired of hearing these names and wanted to see what the fuss was about, I have been listening to a few albums from female singer songwriters. The following are the four that really stood out to me .
1.) Gretchen Peters : Album – Hello Cruel World (2012)
I had never heard of Gretchen Peters until recently. After this record was released I kept reading about how great it was, so I decided to give it a listen. I am really glad I did. The entire album album is great, each track is flawlessly produced and arranged and Peters’ lyrics and vocal delivery are fantastic. I am really fond of the title track that opens the album, the quiet vocals and subject matter mesh perfectly with the spacey sound of the instruments.
My favorite song on this one is “Five Minutes”, a story told by a waitress who is sneaking away to smoke a cigarette behind the diner and spends that five minutes taking an inventory of the last 20 years of her life. This song alone is worth the price of the record. Her storytelling ability on this track convinced I needed to delve into her some more.
Apparently, Peters has a fairly large discography, and has been nominated for a Grammy for songwriting. Over the next few weeks I will be getting to know the rest of her catalog. Check our her website here.
2.) Betty Soo : Album – Heat Sin Water Skin (2009)
I had been hearing Betty’s name around for the last couple of years, but had never even taken the time to look her up on Youtube or anything. Late last year, Graham Weber released Women and Betty Soo sang the duet, “Sleep It Off” with him. I was completely blown away by her vocals.
Recently I got a copy of her last solo record (she has since released an album with Doug Cook). Soo’s songwriting abilities are on par with her impeccable vocal delivery. Most of the record is pretty straightforward country folk, but there a few times when she lets loose and rocks out a little.
“Just Another Lover” is the first song that really jumped out at me from this one. On the second turn of the chorus she asks :
“Am I just another lover to you?
Another piece of skin you could get close to
Someplace warm where you once fit in
Essential but forgettable as oxygen
Am I just another lover to you?”
My favorite track on this album, is “Get Clean” which is one of the instances where she really lets loose. I love this sound of this song it just feels weird, but in the best possible way.
She closes the record with a very subdued version of “Lonesome Whistle” and you can never go wrong with a solid Hank Sr. cover.
I’m hoping that she will make the trip to the North sometime soon so that I can see her live, which I am convinced will be one hell of an experience. Check her out on her website.
3.) Amanda Shires : Album – Carrying Lightning (2011)
My experiences with Amanda Shires in the past have been as a fiddle player and harmony vocalist, frequently with Rod Picott and recently she guested on the upcoming Todd Snider record, as well as the aforementioned Graham Weber release. She has always been a great addition to any song that I have heard her on, but that is all that I have ever thought of her.
I decided to give her latest effort a more careful listen when I began this project and was quite pleased with what I heard. Shires can absolutely carry a song all by herself. The writing on this record ranges from country standard to rather quirky, and the sound and her vocals mold themselves to the words.
“Shake the Walls” has a very airy feeling as she calls out for her lover to come over to shake the walls as well as “keep the shirts and your hands and the jeans moving in a downward trend”.
My favorite song on this one is “Detroit or Buffalo”, the story of a love turning bad, with everyone looking on and passing their own judgement without offering a helping hand.
Fresh off an appearance in the movie Country Song, and currently touring with the likes of Jason Isbell, Shires is well on our way to more notoriety and deservedly so. Visit her site here.
4.) Lydia Loveless : Album - Indestructible Machine (2011)
Of the four of these ladies, the one I was most familiar with prior to this week was Lydia Loveless. Lydia comes from just up the road from me in Columbus, Ohio. Evan Harris formerly of the Driftwood Motion had sang her praises to me for years. Finally a couple of years ago, she came down and opened a show for him that I attended. I was quite impressed even then.
At the time I believe she had just turned 18, and handled herself on stage like a road weary veteran. She had a presence that demanded attention, here was this small in stature girl singing songs of heart break and sorrow with the command of a woman twice her age.
After seeing that show, I sort of stopped following her progress. A month or so ago, I was perusing Bloodshot Records’ website and noticed that Lydia had released an album with them and was touring with Scott H. Biram.
I got a copy of the record and gave it a listen. Then quickly gave it a second and third listen. Many of the songs were the sad country songs from a foul mouthed young lady that I had seen a few years ago. Then some of the songs had an almost punk rock edge to them. Loveless has grown leaps and bounds as a songwriter in the past couple years and it really shows on this album, I definitely see a bright future for her.
“Do Right” is one of those cowpunk sounding songs. Without the female vocals this song would have fit right in with a Scorchers record in the mid eighties. It is one of the many songs that follow her nightly bar hanging escapades and I love it. “I always find myself looking for so many ways to make basically good men cry” sings Loveless in this one.
On the album closer “Crazy” she slows the pace down and showcases those great country vocals as she laments, “I’ve got a dirty mind and I have to get it off my chest”.
Loveless makes me happy to be from Ohio, which is not something that happens all that often in the world of music. This midwestern girl seems to have the whole country in her future. Check her out on line here.
Tags: Amanda Shires, Betty Soo, Elizabeth Cook, evan harris, gillian welch, Graham Weber, gretchen peters, Lucinda williams, lydia loveless, norah jones, Rod Picott, Rodney Crowell, teri hendrix, todd snider
Feb 24, 2012 Lists
This week’s Friday’s List of Five will focus on live stage banter. If you spend a lot of time going to see shows whether it be at a local bar or large venue, you have certainly experienced all kinds of banter from the stage. Some artists excel at this aspect of the show, while others seem awkward when addressing the crowd and still others choose not to do so at all or very little (Bob Dylan). For this list I have included five great examples of banter enhancing the lie experience normally in a humorous way. I did not go into the bootleg collection to pull these out, instead I used officially released live recordings. Here’s the list:
1.) Todd Snider : “The Mushroom Story” from the album, Todd Snider Live, The Storyteller:
The undisputed heavy weight champion of in between song rambling, as he says, “sometimes I may ramble on for as many as eighteen minutes in between the songs”. He has honed the ability to engage the crowd to the point where that is one of the big reasons to go see Todd live. On this particular release, he has a couple of tracks dedicated to such speeches. “The Mushroom Story” is an account of him quitting his high school football team because of an experience with magic mushrooms.
2.) B.B. King : “Worry, Worry, Worry” from the album, Live in Cook County Jail :
B.B. was just born to be an entertainer, and when he talks to the crowd they listen and participate. Towards the middle of this track, B.B. launches into a rant on how women and men should interact in the inevitable events where they are not getting along. My favorite quote from this one, “When goofed last week, I was high … when you’re high it don’t count”.
3.) Greg Brown : “Canned Goods” from the album, The Live One :
Folk singers are contractually required to interact with the crowd and Brown was really good at it when he still gave a shit about his contracts. This recording from I believe 1987 showcases this talent. In the middle of “Canned Goods” Brown recounts his childhood trips to his grandma’s house in rural Iowa, and explains why chickens aren’t really animals.
4.) Roy Book Binder : “Candyman” from the album, Live Book…Don’t Start Me Talkin :
Acoustic blues legend Book Binder tells the story of learning the Candyman Blues from Reverend Gary Davis as a young college student. The Candyman Blues went on to “ruin” Roy’s life. After recounting learning the song from Rev. Davis, Roy goes on to tell the story of asking Pink Anderson about the same song and funny enough, Anderson told him the same story that Davis had.
5.) Greg Klyma : “A Song For Me” from the album, Klymalive in Buffalo :
Buffalo native Klyma breaks out the mandolin for this particular tune and while building into it, he explains the story of unrequited love that inspired the song. Klyma is another performer that truly understands enhancing the live experience by connecting personally with his audience.
These are just five quick examples of the banter that sometimes shows up on live records. Feel free to leave some comments on your favorites.
So this is the fourth post this week (80% of my goal) and I missed the last two days sick. I am starting a new series on the Jukebox, Friday’s List of 5. This list could really consist of anything I want, but I will attempt to keep musically oriented (unless you are really interested in 5 ways my coworkers make me want to commit homicide).
For today’s list I am going with 5 upcoming albums that I am really excited about. It seems like every year I think that there is just so much great stuff being released at once or throughout the year. I am always thinking of how it so much better than the previous year, but when you say that every year it really isn’t true. I think that when you like so much music and it’s such a big part of your life, you can always get pumped up for a new release.
Having said all of that, the next 5 releases really do get me excited and it’s going to be a fantastic stretch for new tunes coming up, as these are only 5 new ones coming out among many.
Without further ado here is today’s list:
I thought I would get the obvious out of the way. Any time Todd puts out a new record it’s an event at my house. The release of the excitement plan seemed to be postponed for 25 years as he put out eps and such to throw us off the scent. Perhaps, I’m not quite as plugged in with the Snider fan community as I was before, but this new release kind of blindsided me. I knew he had some new songs and that he was in the studio working (Jason Isbell tweeted that he was a special guest and went and recorded with Todd a couple months ago) but, I assumed that would mean two more years with Todd. Anyways in March we get to see what direction he has headed in. Yesterday Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi informed the Snider email list that he, Paul Griffith, Eric McConnell along with guests Amanda Shires (vocals/ fiddle) and Isbell (guitar / backing vocals), back Snider on this one. Todd is also gearing up for a tour with the McConnell and Griffith as the rhythm section.
I was turned on to Otis Gibbs right before his last album, Joe Hill’s Ashes, was released. I got a copy of the album to review and the site became something I had no time to run. What I did have time for was getting every Gibbs record and absolutely loving them all. Gibbs’ writing style is amazingly honest and heartfelt and his vocals are perfect for the songs of the everyday man that he writes. I knew this was in the works and earlier this week he put the entire album up on his site to stream or buy digitally. I will be reviewing this one hopefully next week as I purchased it today and have to really listen to it a few times all the way through. Here is the stream of the album:
I have liked everyone of the younger Earle’s records so I’m sure this one will be no exception. The way he continues to evolve while still keeping that “Old Timey” feel that made all of us fall in love with his songs in the first place is great. This record was cut live with the band in the studio which should enhance that same vintage feel. Here is a little trailer for the record that appears on the front page of his website:
The Band of Heathens are back with yet another live record or two as the case may be. Recorded in Denver last fall these two volumes cover material spanning all of their records and both come with an audio disc and a DVD of the shows. You can pre-order both of them now or only $30 and you receive an immediate download code to two more EPs ! The EPs are cover songs from the weekend one is 5 Grateful Dead Songs and the other is standard Heathens’ cover tunes. Now that is what I call a great deal 4 cds of Heathens and 2 DVDs for only 30 bucks. I also have to mention that all of their live releases have been phenomenal thus far and most of the time I find myself listening to them in lieu of their studio counterparts, and I’m excited to get live versions of the songs from Top Hat Crown and the Clapmaster’s Son. Here is their promo video for this release:
I have been waiting for this record for nearly 5 years or as soon as I got There, I Said It ! , Tommy’s last record which by the way is easily on my top 25 albums of all time list. Womack says that Now What ! is literally a sequel to that record. I have heard quite of few of the songs that will be on this one at one live show or another and I can honestly say they are as good if not better than anything he has ever written. Every artist puts themselves in their songs in some way and I have written this before, no one puts so much of themselves on display on a record or on a stage as Tommy Womack. And the amazing thing? He doesn’t come off as the least bit arrogant or pitiful (which many people do when talking or singing about themselves), Tommy just comes off as real. He is probably tired of me emailing him and asking for updates on this album (it has been 5 years) and now he will not have to field those emails for at least a month or two while I soak this one in and then begin wondering about the next masterpiece. As soon as I get my grubby little hands on a copy of this the review will be up on the site. Here is a humorous ten minute trailer for the record that Tommy put up on YouTube:
Well there you have it, the first Friday List of 5. Hopefully I have peaked your interest in these albums, if not, oh well I’m still bursting with excitement. Tomorrow I plan on posting a late review of one of my favorite records released last year, Rod Picott’s Welding Burns.
Oct 3, 2010 Album Reviews
Peter Cooper said on our podcast that he had been thanked for coaxing Lloyd Green out of retirement to work on his albums. He also said that it was like being thanked for picking Michael Jordan on your basketball team. I too would like to go ahead and thank Peter, but not really for just getting Lloyd Green on the album.
First off I have said for many years that all songs could be a little bit better if you would just add some pedal steel. Well here is an entire record where the instrumental star of the record is no less than the greatest living pedal steel player and that my friends, is awesome. Secondly, I love the fact that Lloyd Green finally has his name prominently displayed on the front of a record after spending so many years appearing on the liner notes. It’s a great opportunity for everyone who buys this album to discover who Lloyd is.
Throughout the album, Green weaves intricate steel parts in between everything else that is going on. What is amazing is that the steel parts are not the same old steel parts that you hear on every recording, Green really has the ability to transform the songs with his instrument.
With all the talk of Lloyd Green, what cannot be forgotten is that this is very much a Peter Cooper record. This album contains some of Cooper’s best originals to date and a few perfectly chosen covers. Cooper has really come into his own as a vocalist on this one and he brings in Eric Brace, Fayssoux McLean, Rodney Crowell, and Kim Carnes among others to compliment his voice on various songs. Cooper co-produced this album with Green and you can really tell that these songs were near to both of their hearts as there is not a single throw away on the ablum.
My favorites on the album start rolling right from the beginning with “Dumb Luck”, a song that could just as easily be describing my lifetime. “Ever since I was a young buck, I’ve been on a run of dumb luck”, sings Cooper which may be true, but if he continues releasing songs like this one he will be creating his own luck.
Next on the record is ” Last Laugh”, a co-write with Todd Snider, whose version appears on his last album, The Excitement Plan. As big as a Snider fan that I am, I have to say that Cooper’s version is better, I like the tempo and the feel much better than Snider’s take. “Elmer the Dancer” is the next great tune on this one, it’s the story of a local man famous for his dancing in the town bar, who is no longer with them.
The next track is my favorite Cooper tune, “Gospel Song” which I discussed in yesterday’s Artist of the Month article. I will mention that this version is more complete sounding than the one found on Clown Juice.
“Bells of Odelia” is the next on the album. A song written by Cooper’s friend, Chris Richards, that Cooper calls a great companion piece to Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. The narrator in this one has done some things he’s not proud of, but he is being led back to the righteous by the bells of a nearby church, even if not by choice.
Tom T. Hall’s “Mama Bake a Pie” rounds out the first six tracks on the album. That’s right, I am that taken with this one that I just ran down the first half of it. Anyways, the Hall classic still seems pertinent today and Cooper nails the feel and heart of it on this version.
The next Cooper original is “Champion of the World” which compares his life to that of his father who was a preacher. This song really struck me live and lives up to my memories on this record.Skipping ahead to the last song on the record, “Train to Birmingham” which is a John Hiatt song, that Hiatt himself never recorded. The song is amazing and Cooper makes it his own. That is another thing that Cooper seems to excel at, the ability to pick the right mix of covers to put on his records.
When I finished listening to this record, I immediately restarted and that process continued for an entire day and the only thing that stopped that process was the record Cooper released with Brace on the same day…review coming tomorrow.
Oct 2, 2010 Artist of the Month
Originally from South Carolina and presently located in Nashville, Peter Cooper is a man of many trades. He is a music critic (The Nashville Tennessean), a producer (Fayssoux McLean’s Early), a professor of country music history (Vanderbilt) and most importantly an amazing songwriter and performer. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the latter of this list and his short but brilliant recording career.
My personal introduction to Cooper’s music came the way that I discover so many artists, through a live recording. I was listening to a copy of one of Todd Snider’s What the Folk performances and in between sets Peter comes in and plays two quick songs. The first of the two tracks was one of the greatest crowd grabbing opener’s ever. “Nirvana Was Better Than Pearl Jam” is funny and probably true. It is the kind of song that makes the crowd pay attention to you even if they have never heard of you. Following that was the song that instantly had me interested in finding more out about Cooper, “What’s the Use”. It follows along as the obviously over intoxicated hero makes one bad decision after another during a night that should have ended three drinks and two bars before. What really struck about the song was the way he injects conversation into a song seamlessly with lyrics such as “You say you’re gonna cut me off, leave me be, you say you got a word for people like me… it ain’t a good word, you don’t have to say it again”.
I began frantically scouring the internet to find out more about this guy to no avail (at the time he had no website and this was just prior to the Myspace craze) , so I sent a message to the Todd Snider listserve asking if anyone had any more information for me. To my surprise my answer came in the form of an email from Cooper himself. He introduced himself and told me that he had just released his debut ep, Clown Juice.
Not too long after that I was excited to find out that Peter would be opening up for a run of Snider shows I would be attending in Dayton. This was my first chance to see him live and as he has done every time that I have seen him, he blew me away. Cooper put on the best opening set I have ever seen especially from someone that was virtually unknown by the crowd. He is engaging on stage, fills the space between songs with witty banter and always seems to nail the tunes.
Since then I have had the opportunity to see him live on a number of occasions. He was gracious enough to come to our bar and do a show a few years ago and Jerry Brightman, former pedal steel player for Buck Owens, met him there and they put on a spellbinding three hour show filled with Cooper’s originals and appropriate covers.
In addition to releasing two full length solo records since then he has also teamed with Eric Brace of Last Train Home to put out two phenomenal records. Earlier this year I had the chance to go see them together live two nights in a row which you can read about here. Prior to the second of those shows the two of them stopped by the home studio to appear on our podcast which can be downloaded here.
Normally, at this point in the article I would break down my favorite three or so recordings of the artist, but I am going to do a little something different on this one. Cooper’s second solo release, The Lloyd Green Album, and his second collaboration with Eric Brace, The Master Sessions, are actually my two favorite of his releases but, since they were just put out this month I will be doing full length reviews of them hopefully today. I will just say that it is remarkable that the same person released two of my top ten records of the year.
I would like to highlight Cooper’s first three efforts because they were also very good.
The aforementioned ep, Clown Juice, contains three additional songs other than the two that he played that night in Nashville. “Gospel Song” (which will later re-appear on The Lloyd Green Album) is still my favorite Peter Cooper song. Does a line get any better than, “There’s gonna be some wreckage when your dreams and your habits collide”? “Andalusia” is the story of Hank Williams Sr. and Cooper’s grandpa and their interactions in Andalusia. Rounding out the ep is the song, “Thompson Street”, the place in Spartanburg, South Carolina where Pink Anderson sang.
Arriving three years later in 2008, Cooper’s full length debut, Mission Door, really opens the door to what he is capable of as a songwriter. Immediately you notice that Cooper has found a muse instrumentally in Lloyd Green who is a session work master playing pedal steel on countless number one hits. Green’s absolutely flawless pedal steel playing weaves its way in and out of this entire album, perfectly complimenting the outstanding songs and also setting us up for the next Cooper record that would bear his name.
Something that really begins to show on this record is Cooper’s ability to tell someone’s story through a song. He can make anyone’s life seem significant whether or not they were famous. This is a feat that many have tried and few have mastered and Cooper does it better than anyone. One such song on Mission Door is “Take Care”, the story of Townes Van Zandt that both idolizes him and does not pull any punches when it comes to his shortcomings.
Further along in the album is the greatest marriage of sports and song ever, “715 (For Hank Aaron)” is a brilliant song even if you aren’t a baseball fan. Written while Barry Bonds was chasing Hank, the song chronicles the real life struggles that Hank faced when he was legitimately breaking the home run record.
“Sheboygan” looks at the idea of predestination through a different window, one where even acts that aren’t the most ambitious or moral can be looked at as divine. Along the same lines is “One By One”, the best track on the record. In this one the narrator commits a heinous crime after having a one-sided conversation with a bartender basically justifying his upcoming act.
Later in 2008 marked the beginning of what will hopefully be a long lasting collaborative endeavor between Cooper and Brace with the release of You Don’t Have To Like Them Both. While this album only hints at what they produce together live and have mastered with their new release, it is full of remarkable songs and harmonies. They had not yet begun writing too many songs together and had both recently released their own albums, so they decided to fill the spaces in the record with covers of songs that were written by friends of theirs.
Among the songs and songwriters chosen for this album was David Olney and his song “Omar’s Blues #2″, which in my opinion is the standout on this record. It exhibits the harmonies that these two find that have the ability to transform any song into a masterpiece. Todd Snider’s “Yesterdays and Used to Be’s” is another track that is excellent cut on this one. Cooper takes the lead vocals on this and delivers a first class version of his good friend’s tune.
The only song that the two wrote together on the record was “Lucky Bones”, a song that Brace began with Jim Lauderdale and later finished with Cooper’s help. Brace takes the lead helm for this one and it is an amazing country tune that would have sounded right at home at any honky tonk in the country.
That wraps up the first part of Cooper’s recording career. I promise to have the reviews of the new ones up in the next few days, because they are both spectacular. If you are not familiar with Cooper check out his site here or Red Beet Records’ site here. As a selfish side note, I’d like all of you to buy two copies of every one of his albums so that he can start to think about quitting that nagging day job as a music critic and therefore make more frequent trips to Ohio to perform.
As always the reward for making it through my long winded ramblings, here is a video clip I filmed a few years ago of Cooper playing “Sheboygan” as part of an opening set for Snider at the Canal Street Tavern in Dayton.
Aug 14, 2010 Lists
A lot of people don’t really care too much for the live album, preferring the polished sound of the studio instead, but not me. I love live records, especially those that aren’t just rehashes of what you can find on the studio releases.
There are few things that I think go into making a really good live record. Song selection is paramount. Yes we probably need to hear what are considered the hits or fan favorites, but please put some tracks on there that deeper fans can appreciate. I also need some or all songs to be worked differently, this can be as subtle as just extending the song or as drastic as playing a balls out rocker as a solo acoustic number. Always nice for me is a cover tune because it is always a pleasure to hear your favorite artist play some of their favorites.
As always this list is in no order, and may not be my favorite all time live records, but every one on here gives me joy. Some of them are retrospective live albums, some released with all new material, some rely heavily on covers and some are all original. Without further delay here are some absolutely great live records….
Here is Tommy at his Rock n Roll greatest. This is one of my favorite albums to turn way up and scream along to. There are some songs that only appear on this release and there are some songs from his previous releases. As an added bonus Tommy breaks out some favorites from the bis-quits album. This album rocks from beginning to end without stopping.
My personal favorite tracks on this one are “I Don’t Have a Gun” an “Skinny and Small”. Both songs featuring either avoided or inevitable acts of violence against the people that have wronged the narrator or maybe just pissed him off. While neither Tommy nor myself for that matter would ever commit such acts sometimes it is just therapeutic to sing about doing so at the top of your lungs over top of some hellacious guitar riffs.
Other highlights include : “Betty Was Black (Willie Was White)” and “Sweet Hitchhiker”.
Staying with the Rock n Roll albums, this debut album from Jane’s Addiction really can’t be beat. While some would argue it is not a true live album (there were some overdubs added) to me it still maintains the feel and energy of a live recording. Adding to the intrigue on this one is that it was their debut record which is always a ballsy move for a band to make, shunning the shelter and safety of the studio and just putting out what has gained them a following in the first place, playing live.
Not only do I love this album, it is by far my favorite Jane’s Addiction record. It has everything you could want from Farrell and company. Some punk rock influenced screachers, a couple of slower more lyrical tunes, Farrell’s ever strange vocals and Dave Navarro destroying a guitar not to mention drummer, Stephen Perkins.
My favorites on this one are “Jane Says”, which is sort of the cliche Jane’s song but who cares, “Whores” a song about the dregs of L.A. and surprisingly enough two cover songs.
They completely nail the two covers that appear on this album. First off is the Velvet Underground’s “Rock n Roll” which Farrell really just kills. Following that is one of the best Rolling Stones covers I’ve ever heard in “Sympathy for the Devil” .
Here we have our first acoustic offering of the list. This is a great way to introduce Todd to people who don’t really like to listen to bootlegs. You can never really say you’ve heard him until you’ve seen him live but this is the next best thing.
On this release they did a great job capturing the Todd experience and packaging it on a single disc. He stretches out on multiple tangents between songs and is able to play some songs that leave you laughing alongside some that bring tears to your eyes. And that is, after what a Todd show is all about.
Personal bests on this one, “Tension”, one of my all time favorite Todd songs that always makes me smile, “Broke” a song about the things you will do when are in that predicament, and “Waco Moon” a tribute to the late Eddy Shaver.
Full of teenage angst and superb covers, this album helped define my generation. I dare anyone to attempt to argue the validity of this album appearing on this list. I still listen to this one on a regular basis which is a lot more than I can say for most of the other things I was listening to at the time.
This performance was by far the best in MTV’s series and is probably my favorite Nirvana album as well. It really showed that they were musicians and not just a bunch of anger driven post adolescents. I love everything about the sound on this one from Cobain delivering fine vocals, the acoustic arrangements and the appearance of the members of the Meat Puppets. Not only did it shed new light on their own songs it showed that they were aware and appreciative of people that came before them in musical history.
My favorites on this one may be all covers, not because I don’t like the originals but because the covers were so well chosen. “Plateau” and “Lake of Fire”, two of the three Meat Puppets covers are fantastic. In addition to those, the not well known David Bowie song “The Man Who Sold the World” and the very well known Leadbelly tune, “In the Pines” (credited as “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” are both fucking great.
As for the Nirvana songs on this Nirvana album, the standouts are “Polly”, “Dumb”, and “Pennyroyal Tea”
Here is another rocker of an album. Hoge seems to be on a mission to save live Rock n Roll and this album goes a long way in doing so. The energy Hoge puts out in his vocals on this recording is simply amazing. Hoge is like a mixture or Mick Jagger, Chris Robinson and Otis Redding all rolled into one when he gets going.
As always the band backing Hoge on this album is equally gifted, lifting the songs higher and higher throughout.
Favorites of mine on this one are the Motown infused, “Woman Be Strong” , opener “The Man Who Killed Love” and “Southern Belle”, a longing for a specific type of lover.
Every song on this album is great and it is a damn shame that this is the closest I have yet to come to seeing him live (two plan trips have been stopped due to uncontrollable circumstances) but at least it is a great record.
As always this list could o on forever because there are about a million other live albums that I think are great and I’m sure in ten minutes I will be wishing I would have included some of them instead of the ones I’ve written about. Feel free to comment with your favorite live albums or why you think my choices are wrong or right.
Aug 1, 2010 Artist of the Month
I have read or heard Weber compared to the likes of John Prine, a young Bob Dylan, Todd Snider, and an early Wilco era Jeff Tweedy. All of those comparisons are fair enough but they really fall short of accurately describing Weber. All that needs to be said about Graham is that he is a great songwriter who has digested the catalogs of all the greats and came through with a voice and a sound all of his own.
Weber began his musical journey in his native Ohio early in this decade. Starting out a little later in life than some, he cut his teeth in various bands in the area before embarking on his solo career. After recording and releasing the mostly acoustic, Naive Melodies in 2003, Graham decided to make a bold move and departed Ohio for the overcrowded songwriting scene of Austin, Texas.
When I asked him a few years later why he decided to make this move at a time when he had begun to develop quite the following in Ohio, Weber replied, “I could have stayed and made enough money in Ohio as a medium sized fish in a small pond (I would argue that most of Ohio’s music scene is just a mud puddle, unfortunately), but I wanted to see if I could make an impact in the ocean that is Austin.” Quite the undertaking indeed, it did not take long for Austin to begin noticing that this guy was not just another wanna be Prine.
The Texas community seems to have embraced Weber and rightfully so. Long time Austin resident, Slaid Cleaves almost immediately took Graham under his wing and has served as a mentor since his arrival . Graham quickly made his move up to playing all of the best venues in the Austin area both as an opener for greats like, Snider, Guy Clark, Ellis Paul etc. and as a headliner.
I personally got turned on to Weber’s music on accident. I received a song swap that Graham had played shortly after the move to Texas with Adam Carroll and was completely floored by the depth of the songwriting that was coming from this unknown artist. After a little research, I was disappointed that he had come from Ohio and that I had never had the chance to see him here. At the time Naive Melodies was his only release so I bought it to see if this one live recording was a fluke or if this was the real deal.
I got the disc in the mail and put it in my car stereo that day, there it stayed for a solid two weeks. Although Weber himself is now disappointed in his debut, I to this day feel that it is one of my favorite records perhaps of all time. The emotional honesty that flows out of all the songs on this record serves as a great introduction to the seemingly complex simplicity that Weber has a way of portraying in almost all of his works.
Naive Melodies displays the heartache that Weber was feeling after a failed relationship, the insecurities of starting a new relationship and his biting sense of humor.This ability to channel such contrasting emotions is the thing that makes Weber stand out among his peers and makes a live show a must see appointment.
“Tight Rope Walking” is still one of my favorite songs in his catalog. “I know your nose caught the smell of whiskey, and I know I came in seven hours late, I can’t believe that you even missed me, tight rope walking that thin line between love and hate”, he sings in this song chronicling the difficulty of finding balance in a relationship.
Inspired by the late Johnny Cash and rapper Snoop Dogg (trust me it works just listen), “Late Show Someday” captures that animosity towards someone who has scorned you and infuses the anger with a sensational amount of humor. This song is completely over the top and that is exactly where it should reside.
I don’t think you can talk about this album and not mention “Oh Roberta” the song that so impressed Slaid Cleaves that he included it on his Unsung release, an album of covers written by his favorite unknown writers. Weber’s song holds its own against a collection of songs from really great songwriters. “Do you still see my silhouette when your lashes start to close, I’d like to know oh Roberta where have you gone?” is my favorite line in this song, sang to the one who got away.
Shortly after settling in Austin, Graham set out to record his first Texas album. With a lot more instrumentation, a great studio band and some impressive guest musicians the result was Beggar’s Blues. Hitting the streets in 2006, this release shows the growth Weber’s song crafting had undergone in just a short time and further established his ability to conduct the emotional roller coaster that is his albums.
Starting off the album is the fast paced, lyric filled “After All”. This song really represents Weber’s mastery of word play. “Self proclaimed soothsayers say they know what no one else knows” , it’s lines like that make this song memorable.
“Love and Money” once again shows Weber’s sense of humor in this song about the impossibility of mixing the two things we need most in life. Along with Weber’s strumming on the acoustic this song features a killer horn section almost giving it a Vaudeville feel. It’s a departure from what he normally does and man does it work.
Inspired by his first Texas Independence Day, Weber wrote the amusing tale of trying to make it in the music business, “Stars and Circles”. While the narrator may not have what it takes to “make it” he is happy enough eking by in the Texas sun.
Perhaps my favorite track on the album is “Avenue A”. The story of a road weary musician trying to find a drink on a Sunday morning in Lower Manhattan. Weber’s vocals in this one really give the lyrics their depth and meaning. He almost sounds like this was recorded after a day like which is described in the song. “They won’t serve Bloody Mary’s til twelve hours til Monday, so I’m shaking and waiting on Avenue A” , the chorus pretty much sums up the song.
2008 saw the release of Weber’s most recent album release, with his most ambitious recording project yet, Door to the Morning. The production value on this one really ratcheted up the quality of the record. Employing more of a pop sensibility and a little bit of Rock n Roll feel, this album is Weber’s best yet. It’s always nice when a great songwriter begins to really find his way in the studio without losing what made him great in the first place and that is what Door to the Morning accomplished for Graham.
The opening track, “Snow in July” is the prime example of the improvement in the recording. Backed by a full band with great piano and organ parts, Weber is able to maintain the lyrical mastery while really delivering an upbeat rockin’ number. “Sometimes your friends turn to foes and it snows in the dead of July” is just one of the great lines that Weber drapes over the musical backdrop the studio band lays down.
Following the upbeat feel of the opener, comes the piano and slide guitar ballad, “Candle So Close”. Included in this song are very good backing vocals by Graham’s wife, Michelle Keffer. You can tell those two have spent many a night singing together, because her voice beautifully compliments his tired drawl in this one.
My favorite song on this one is the acoustic and pedal steel based, “Bite Your Tongue”. This one finds Weber at his lyrical best in a song of a lover leaving.
In addition to the three studio albums I have discussed, Weber has released two live samplers that feature unreleased material and the in between song banter that makes his live performances so much more than just a guy with an acoustic guitar.
What amazes me about seeing Graham live is that he is constantly writing songs. Some writer’s see the process of writing a song as work and with Weber they just seem to fall out on the paper. He is consistently writing better stuff that he has already released. He is one of those guys you wish lived in the studio, because he forgets so many of the great songs he has written. One of my favorite things to do is request a song I have heard him play prior and see if he remembers it. If you go see him anytime in the future ask him to play “The Hooker and the Hitman” , an eight minute song of an unlikely love, and tell him Adam told you to do it.
Perhaps the most telling thing I can say about how great I think Weber is, is that I have had to purchase all of his records at least twice each because I have given them away to share them with others. I found out that he is currently working on the follow up to Door to the Morning. Tentatively titled, Women, it is going to feature a mostly female backing band and harmony vocals in addition to a co-write with Slaid Cleaves. I know I am looking forward to this release which will hopefully come later this year.
Weber will making his first trip back to Ohio in two years in a couple months and I hope to catch a show or two and have him on the podcast. In the meantime you can visit his website www.grahamweber.com and find links to buy his records and such. Later this week I will post a live Weber show to download.
Here is a video of Weber playing “I’ll Take Texas” an ode to his adopted home:
Jul 22, 2010 Album Reviews
For those of you following my facebook pages, you know that I have been obsessed with this album the last few days since buying it. I wasn’t going to review it, being that is now two months old. Then I thought why not? That’s why write on this site, who gives a damn if it’s a couple months old? It is a great album that people need to know about.
I saw Elizabeth for the first time a few years ago opening for Todd Snider in Dayton and really enjoyed the show, even bought her last album but then largely forgot about her until the last few weeks. I started hearing talk of how good this album was and when my emusic subscription came in this month I saw it and bought it.
This record showcases all of Cook’s numerous talents: her playfulness, her extremely well crafted lyrics, her penchant for writing a catchy tune, her unique voice and her ability to marry Tim Carroll and get Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller, and Dwight Yoakam to appear on the record.
Seriously though, I am not a huge fan of many female country singers, but Cook has something that most don’t, as a matter of fact she all those things I mentioned in the last sentence. Right off the bat this album is amazing and I’m not sure there is a letdown at all along the way for the entire 14 tracks. That’s right, 14 tracks another thing to love about this album it actually has a considerable amount of music on it.Damn, I love it more by the minute.
Cook’s exuberance and cleverness are all over this record. Starting with the absolutely hilarious recount of an one night stand with a 1980′s, mullet wearing, quaalude popping, beer drinking leftover, “El Camino”. Her humor returns in her pleas to a lover to say no to beer and “Yes to Booty” on the 5th track.
The absolute standout on the album is “Heroin Addict Sister” which is easily the most emotionally stirring song I’ve heard in quite some time. The story follows the path you’d expect from a song with that title, but Cook’s feeling and ability to write great lines raises goose bumps on your arms from the start to finish of the song. I have played this song for everyone I have seen in the past week and the reactions range from tears to just absolute amazement. I have been told that she has implied truth to the story but, I do not know for myself and if it is true all that does is make her brave on top of being able to create a song that is this stirring.
Another song that jumped out at me, was “Girlfriend Tonight”. This is basically something that will hit home for anyone who has been in a long term relationship. There is always a point when you want to put aside comfort and responsibility and revert back to being that young couple who partied and only gave a shit about each other.
Another Cook original I want to point out is “Rock n Roll Man”. A seeming ode to her husband guitar player, Tim Carroll, it contains some great lines such as “He likes to talk about Elvis, but only the Sun years” and “He thanks the Devil for his story and God for his gift”. Carroll who plays all over the record also contributed two songs to it.
Along with the Carroll songs “Follow You Like Smoke” and “Til Then”, Cook does a couple of other covers. “Blackland Farmer” is credited to Frankie Miller, “Not California” to Dan Messe and “I’m Beginning to Forget You” to Joyce Cook, Elizabeth’s departed mother (incidentally it follows Elizabeth’s original “Mama’s Funeral” on the record).
Now that I have seemingly touched on every song on the album, have you figured out that I think you should rush out and get your copy right now? If not re-read this article and visit Cook’s website to buy it here.
Cook has managed to put together one of the most well thought out, planned, and executed albums of the year. I also need to give credit to producer Don Was for allowing Cook to be herself in the studio and staying out of the way of the songs. While some may find her delivery a little odd, to me it is part of what makes her songs stick out and makes you listen to the lyrics.
I cannot believe she has not had a radio hit because of the way her songs seem to reach everyone that hears them. For my money she can continue to hang out with the rest of the hooligans in East Nashville and release brilliant records like, Welder.
Here’s a reward for making all the way through my long-winded Cook loving rant of a review. A video of her and Carroll performing “El Camnino” on a radio program.
Jul 12, 2010 Concert Reviews
“I’m nobody, from nowhere”
Those were the the first words sang by Will Kimbrough last Thursday at the Spruce Street Studios in Columbus, OH. From that point forward we were in for an absolute treat. Armed throughout most of the show with his new Gretch and a looper, Kimbrough delivered the first solo Rock n Roll show I have ever seen.
The venue was a nondescript brick commercial building that looked like a very large garage inside. The vibe was very relaxed and the guys who promoted the show went all out to make everyone comfortable. It was a great listening room experience with a quality sound system and house concert feel. They have done a few shows over the last years and this was the first one in this new room and hopefully there will be many more.
I’d never seen Will live before due to the repeatedly inopportune timing of his trips to Ohio. After finally experiencing this show I am extremely disappointed that I had not been able to make it out before to see this guy live.
Will’s alien like abilities on the guitar are well documented but until you see him playing in front of you, you do not get the true sense of how damn good this guy is. I am now convinced that the understated and tasteful guitar parts he puts down on recordings are even better knowing exactly what he is holding back. Kimbrough is just a monster guitar player and that is putting it lightly.
Besides those guitar chops on display we were also given a three hour show full of great songs from Will’s catalog. I think with all the talk of six string skills sometimes the fact that Kimbrough is a very accomplished songwriter gets lost. Let me tell you, he does not let you forget it when he’s playing.
As previously mentioned Will kicked off the night with “Nobody From Nowhere”, co-written with Tommy Womack, from the Daddy release, For a Second Time. From the same album, he played “Wash and Fold, a song I had overlooked for the most part prior to the show and now have a new found love for. Seeing someone live and hearing songs that I have heard numerous times and gaining a new appreciation for them is a phenomenon that will never cease to amaze me. Will accomplished that a few times that night.
Another example of that was the version of “This Modern World” he played. It was playful and intense. The delivery really made me sit and listen to the lyrics (which are by the way excellent).
Will also played quite a few of my favorite tunes from his repertoire. Entertaining a request from yours truly, he did “Diamond in a Garbage Can” and while he did not pack the resonator he normally uses on that song, he did a fine job with it on the Gretch that he so proudly showed off during the show. Another favorite of mine from the Daddy debut was “You Made Your Bed”, a song that I have often times found myself listening to over and over again on the album. Will’s solo version became a sing a long rocker with the crowd and did not leave anything to be desired.
I also have to mention the songs from Will’s latest solo effort, Wings. I have been quite taken with this album since its February release and Will seems to adapted them quite well in the solo set. “Three Angels” has become a favorite of mine and was fantastic live. The title track, a co-write with Jimmy Buffet was one of the songs that really hit you live. He played most of the tunes from the album during the show but the one that impressed me the most was the loungy, “It Ain’t Cool” a song written with old friend, Todd Snider. I was amazed how Will was able to keep that groovin’ feel to the song with the help of the loop machine on stage.
At the end of the night about 50 of us were completely knocked out by what we had just witnessed. Will played two full sets both stretching over an hour as well as a four song encore. I don’t think anyone really wanted the show to be over when it was including Will, who genuinely seems to enjoy what he gets to do for a living.
I always admire an artist who appreciates what they do and the people who come out to see them. Will was nothing short of gracious throughout the whole evening. He spent the time before the show, during set break and for almost an hour after the show signing things and just chatting with various members of the audience. I think everyone who attended came away feeling that they got more than their money’s worth for the night.
One final note, I was talking with a lot of the people at the show afterward and we all sort of shared a similar feeling. With the way Will’s career seems to be taking off (Will appeared live with Buffet, Zac Brown, Sonny Landreth and others on CMT Sunday night), this may have been one of our last chances to see him in such an intimate setting. While this remains to be seen, I do feel honored to have been there even though I arrived so late in the game.
After the show Will was also gracious enough to sit down and record a podcast with us which should be available here and on iTunes later this week.
Jun 20, 2010 Youtube Clip
Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and I thought I would look up some videos that are about dads that I like and share them with all of you. Some of them are from the perspective of the child and some of them are the dad looking at his children. Anyways Happy Father’s Day to my dad and to all the dads out there.
“A Face Among the Crowd” Jackie Greene
“Things I Wish I’d Said” Rodney Crowell
“Your Dad Did” John Hiatt
“Happy Father’s Day” Ronny Cox: it’s a Jonathan Byrd song but this is the only version of it I could find on Youtube and I just love this song.
“Father and Son” Cat Stevens
“Missing You” Todd Snider
“Garbage Man” Greg Klyma
There’s a ton more out there, but these are a few that I like and could find on Youtube. Once again Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
Jun 11, 2010 Concert Reviews
I spent my entire weekend last week enjoying the music of Eric Brace and Peter Cooper. I attended two shows and in between recorded the second episode of the Broken Jukebox podcast (which should be posted this weekend) with them. The weekend was great, I got to hear some amazing songs, spend time with my wife and friends, meet some new people, and catch shows at two venues I had never been to before.
On Friday the wife and I dropped off the kids and began the four hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky. Despite the heat and the traffic, the drive down was a blast. We listened to some fun tunes all the way down as we cruised the highway. We arrived at The Rudyard Kipling with about ten minutes to spare.
The venue was interesting looking from the street, it looked almost like something you would see in a film about the Alamo. It was a large brick wall with an opening that led around the building on a nice wooden deck to the side where you went inside. Once inside the place was divided nicely. You walked in and to the right to the bar which was open and pretty large. If you were going the show you took an immediate left to a closed off room with quite a few tables and a small stage. On a busier night this set up would have been great for separating those wanting to hear the music and those who were only there to drink. It also allowed for the venue not to lose bar patrons because of the cover charge.
The show opened with a local kid, Sam Hadfield, solo on an acoustic guitar. He played an entertaining set, considering that the crowd was very small and he was there to open. His originals were good, and he covered “Tom Ames Prayer” and “Stack-O-Lee” which is always a good thing in my book. The highlight of his set was the songs he finger picked on the guitar, which he was very talented at. I think the set was about twenty minutes.
After a very short break Cooper and Brace took the stage. I had never seen Eric Brace before, having only been introduced to him recently through their joint record, You Don’t Have to Like Them Both, that was released in 2008. I was however very familiar with Peter Cooper.
I was immediately enthralled with the show, they started out with “Wait a Minute” and the harmony vocals were completely mind blowing. If I took nothing else away from my weekend spent with these two it would be that they may have been put here to sing with one another. The set was filled with tracks off of their album, a few older Cooper tunes, Last Train Home (Brace’s band) songs, and some very good new material from them both. Unfortunately the venue had another show going on and their whole set was over in an hour.
Highlights musically from the Louisville show were, the new Cooper tune, which I think is entitled “Champion of the World”. It is an autobiographical story of him becoming a singer and his daddy being a preacher. Another highlight was the Eric Brace penned “Tranquility Base”, a song full of questions for astronaut, Neil Armstrong. The lyrics and the harmony vocals during the chorus of this songs gave me and my wife goosebumps. They ended the set with their version of a song Cooper co-wrote with Todd Snider, “The Last Laugh” from his album The Excitement Plan. I am a huge Snider fan, but I have to say I think I like their version of the song a little better.
We left Louisville immediately after the show for a drive that seemed much longer the second time around. Although the show was short, it was a great time for the wife and I to get out for the night and the music more than made up for the long drive.
On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Brace and Mr. Cooper made their way to my hometown to do the podcast ( I promise it will be up soon). We all had a great time doing that and I learned quite a few things about exciting topics such as the best lima beans in the world and the best surviving 80′s metal band.
In the evening, my cousin and I headed up to Columbus (only 30 minute drive) to catch the second show of the weekend run. We arrived at The Red Door Tavern about an hour prior to showtime. A much larger crowd turned out for this show than the previous night and the venue was once again great. The place has a great restaurant and Guinness on tap. What more could you ask for? Like the night before the show was held in separate room from the main eating area, but this time there was a bar in the room where we were. The show is hosted by a couple friends of mine, Bob Teague and Chip Kobe who modeled it after the listening rooms you find all over the country. This made for a great house concert feeling in a public place.
There was no opener on this night and we were treated to two outstanding sets of songs from Cooper and Brace. With no time limit the show seemed to be more relaxed, with the in between song banter getting stretched out and the set list very much expanded.
I think they played damn near everything on their album and delved deeper into their respective catalogs as well as breaking out some other killer covers. There were so many highlights to this show that it would really make this column ten times longer ( I know I’m smashing 1000 words already). We were treated to a few more new ones that will be included on Cooper’s upcoming release, The Llyod Green Sessions. Also included in the set were new tracks from the yet untitled new album from the two of them.
Specific songs that stood out were a song about a famous door man in Nashville that Cooper wrote with Don Schlitz, “Hendersonville”, Brace’s song about Johnny and June Carter Cash, Last Train Home’s “Anywhere But Here”, and their covers of Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll be Staying Here With You” and Tom T. Hall’s “I Flew Over Our House Last Night”.
All I can say is that if you get a chance to see these two together live drop everything and do it. I was totally blown away by their on stage chemistry, their song choices and most importantly the amazing harmonies that they delivered. Their album is great, but it really doesn’t do them justice when compared the live environment. Both these shows were like invitations to sit in their living room and listen in on an intimate guitar playing, song singing, whiskey drinking night of fun.
You can find them both on Brace’s record label Red Beet Records . Go to a show, buy them a drink and sit back and enjoy.
May 24, 2010 Lists
This list is in no way comprehensive nor is it in any order. These may not be the best debut albums of all time or even my favorite ones if I gave it a lot more thought. They are however five debuts that blow me away every time I hear them. Sometimes an artist or band just gets it right the first time around.
Earle comes out of the gate with an instant classic, Guitar Town, what’s crazy is that he was already 31 when this record was released. This record was over ten years in the making as Earle honed his songwriting chops hanging out with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark.
Before this album, Earle worked in Nashville writing songs for other as so many writers do and had recorded another album that was not released. However, when it finally hit the shelves it helped make Steve the next big thing as it rose to number one on the country album charts.
Within its ten tracks are so many great songs. Highlights for me are the title track, “My Old Friend The Blues”, and “Daddy’s Little Rock n Roller”.
I am so conflicted with this album. I love every song on this record, even the songs that have become the cliche Snider songs to like. While some of the album versions of the songs are great a lot of them leave something to be desired. I think the record company people tried to make Todd sound entirely too pretty and that would be a theme on a few of his albums and they don’t capture the raw energy of Todd with his then band the Wrecks or the emotion he plays with solo.
Having said all of that, this is still a great record to listen to. The songs that are nailed here are phenomenal and the ones that could have been recorded differently are still great songs. Snider is one of the best writers working today in my opinion and he let that shine through right from the beginning.
Of the songs that are great on the record, my favorites are “Turn it Up” (because sometimes you just have to rock out), “Somebody’s Coming”, and “Spoke Like a Child”.
Got to love when one of the “Next Bob Dylans” becomes the first John Prine. I’m not sure if there is another debut album that contains so many classic songs. With his unconventional delivery, Prine released what I feel are some of his best songs on the first go round. Many of these songs would go on to be covered by everyone under the moon and to me the best versions can still be found on this gem of an album.
As for favorites on the album, how can you go wrong when you have “Angel From Montgomery”, “Sam Stone”, “Far From Me”, “Illegal Smile” and “Paradise” and that only makes up half the record?
This record may not seem to fit among the others, but I love it just as much. Ever since its release I have been listening to it on a regular basis and it never gets old. Unfortunately they have never released a record as good as this one again. I have liked just about all of their albums, but they seemed to get progressively worse the farther away from August they got. Their newest release however did break that pattern slightly.
Back to August and Everything After though. From top to bottom the songs on this release are pretty depressing but, extremely well written and they sound incredible. It’s one of those records where I never skip a single song while listening and that is rare even from good ones.
My favorite tracks follow each other back to back in the middle of the album. “Perfect Blue Buildings”, “Anna Begins”, and “Time and Time Again” make for a great three song run.
The most recent release of this list, South of Town is the first look into what is becoming a great career for Adam Carroll. I love this guy’s writing and his style. He has a way of writing things that sound really poetic and at the same time common. The way he strings words together is beautiful and then he delivers the songs with an aw shucks sound that is often times behind the beat and just comes off sounding amazing.
There is definitely a reason that he is becoming one of the most covered artists to come out of the Texas music scene recently and that reason is prominently displayed on this record. A lot of these songs appear again on his live records as well, but you get a great feeling from the down home recordings found on the studio versions.
Listening to this again last night, I decided my favorite tracks on it were “Smokey Mountain Taxi”, “Cane River Blues”, and “Home Again”. If you are not familiar with Carroll go and buy this and all of his other records immediately.
That’s it for this list, while most of you probably own these records or at least know of them, hopefully you will revisit them after reading this. This list was fun, I think I will continue it some other time, feel free to comment with some of you favorite debuts if you feel the urge.
On another note, look for the first edition of the Broken Jukebox podcast early this week. It has been recorded and will be up soon.
May 15, 2010 Rant
You may be asking yourself, who the hell is Matt Scott ? Matt Scott was an uncle of mine that I was very close to for years and he’s been on my mind a lot lately.
To fully understand why this is relevant and why I have been thinking of him recently, I must give you the short version of the back story of our relationship. I grew up pretty close to him and my aunt; my mother and I even lived with them for a short time when I was too young to remember it. For most of my youth he was just my uncle. When I was 18 or 19 we were all at a family gathering and he asked me if I knew who Keb’ Mo’ was out of the blue. Well, I was absolutely floored, never having thought about what it was my Uncle Matt listened to much less figuring he was into Keb’ Mo’.
This new discovery led to us spending the entire evening discussing different blues guys and finding out that we shared an obsession with not only blues, but all kinds of music. Over the next few years he became one of if not my best friend. We shared many a night with good smoke and better music. He was the only person in my family that not only understood my need to own more music than one person could ever need, but he had the same affliction.
At least once a week we would get together and play the game of “have you heard… (insert artist name) and copying the other’s cd’s. He turned me on to Steve Earle and Billy Joe Shaver. In turn I got him into Gov’t Mule and the Drive-by Truckers. We would go on to discover a plethora of new artists together. I remember the first time I heard Todd Snider. I had traded for a Snider show and was listening to it in my car, three songs in my plans had changed, I was going to Matt’s because he had to hear this guy.
All of this has been filling my mind lately because Fred Eaglesmith has released a new album and I am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival in my mailbox. Fred was one of Matt and my best discoveries. I had just arrived home late one evening from work and I got a phone call. On the other end of the phone was an excited Uncle Matt, “you have to come over now and hear what I just downloaded”. I had no choice, I changed clothes and headed over.
When I walked in the door there was a song playing on his computer that immediately had me intrigued after only hearing the chorus…
Time to get a gun
That’s what I’m thinkin’
I could afford one
If I did a little less drinkin’
Time to put something
Between me and the sun
When the talkin’ is over
It’s time to get a gun
What the hell was this and more importantly why had I never heard it before. Matt goes on to tell me, this is Fred Eaglesmith, an artist he had stumbled onto and found a few tracks of on limewire or something. He proceeded to play me, “Alcohol and Pills”, “Spookin’ the Horses”, “He’s a Good Dog”, and “Wilder Than Me” . Man, was this stuff good.
The next day, he and I went to the locally owned record store (remember when those existed) and had the proprietor order us up some Eaglesmtih albums. (Side note: There is a lesson here record companies…we downloaded, liked, and immediately bought everything available) . Over the next couple of weeks we digested as much Fred as we could possibly stand.
To this day anytime I hear anything by Fred, I immediately think of Matt. There are so many songs that were just perfect for my uncle. He was a car guy (“Pontiac”, “Mighty Big Car”) who drove fast (“105″) and who loved his dogs more than most humans (“He’s a Dog”, “I Shot Your Dog”) . He was also not a perfect man and Fred had songs that addressed that as well (“Drinkin’ Too Much”).
My Uncle Matt passed away very unexpectedly at a fairly young age. He had given up drinking and was getting all of his health problems under control so it came as a total shock when I got the call saying he had died. It’s been going on three years now that he has been gone. I was two days away from leaving for my wedding when he died and I thought he would not have wanted me to dwell on his passing. I don’t think I ever have really come to terms with his death, but I do so a little at a time. My aunt has since married again to a great guy, who takes care of her, but sometimes it’s hard for me to see her without Matt and I’m not sure that will ever go away.
As they were cleaning out his things, my father called asked me if there was anything that I wanted of his to remember him. I thought long and hard and decided that no, none of his material possessions could ever give me the memories of my Uncle that the music we shared would, so I didn’t need anything. So now whenever I am looking through a cd case of mine I will come across an album or a mixed disc with his writing on it and I have to listen to it. They inevitably make me sad and happy at the same time.
So in a week or so my copy of Cha, Cha, Cha will arrive via the postal service and I will spend a couple of hours listening to it and assuredly Matt’s memory will come up. I know everyone has a person in their past that leaps into their minds when a certain song, album, or artists comes out of the speakers. I’m not talking about the annoying ex-girlfriend who played the shit out of Janis Joplin, but rather someone who you have shared a positive musical experience with. I’m asking you to join me in remembering those people this week and break out that old tune, have a drink, laugh, cry a little and just remember.
In Matt’s Memory here a couple of Youtube clips, the first is Fred Eaglesmith “Time to Get a Gun” and the second his personal theme song, “Mustang Sally” performed by Buddy Guy.