Monday, January 31, 2011

Music: The Personal and Not So Much--- Plus Instant Replay.....

I just finished watching last year's Christmas episode of Eureka--- a guilty pleasure I have allowed myself the past few years--- and, as usual, was reminded of the personal aspects of music.  In this episode, Zoe received a vinyl copy of The Clash's London Calling, something for which she was very grateful.  Many of my good friends would appreciate the reference, the card carrying members of "The Clash are rock gods" society.  Most specifically Sam Berger and Stan Twist, two people to whom I turn regularly for not only information but advice.  While I do not share their enthusiasm for the band (the music is little more than honking horns and industrial noise to my ears, sad to say), I do share their enthusiasm and that, my friends, is the magic of music.  To use a Christmas euphemism, fruitcake--- good fruitcake--- may not be to everyone's taste, but to those who love it there is little better;  i.e., you do not have to love fruitcake to realize how much others do.  Well, you do not have to love certain bands or musical styles to realize that others do and I am getting too  old to hold grudges.  Gone are the days I would cringe when people would hear Cowboy's Please Be With Me and say, "Hey, that's an Eric Clapton song."  [It is a Scott Boyer song, first recorded on Cowboy's oustanding 5'll Getcha Ten album]  Gone are the days I would try to pummel people into submission with repeated playings of Cargoe or A Foot In Coldwater while doing a war dance and spewing negativity toward a business whose model was, after all, business.

I finally get that not all people hear music the same way, that each person brings his or her own unique perspective. And I finally realize that that is part of the reason I have flourished (if flourished I have) in a business which at times sucks all the air out of the room. It isn't about the business for me, you see.  It is about the music and while I always said that, I suppose I didn't always mean it.    There was ego, probably, and more than a little attitude when music was discussed.  I ranted and raved more than my share and burned more than a few bridges with uncalled for chutzpah.

Well, it is now a different landscape.  Years ago, releases were somewhat limited by various labels and their distributors---  the accepted pipeline through which the vast majority of music used to flow.  In those days I raged against the machine, so to speak.  Well, as much as many cannot accept it, the machine is dead (or at least, dying--- actually, I tend to think of it as morphing).  Today, it is every man for himself, at least on an ideal level.  Today, getting music from the artist to the consumer is easier than it has ever been and as much as it drives the stake further into the heart of the music industry which once lived, I embrace it.  I embrace the idea that music is to each of us what it is and that no one else, though able to empathize, is able to experience the same highs and lows in exactly the same way. 

Less so than in the past, in fact.  There was a social aspect in the past which has pretty much gone by the wayside.  What with the advent of digitization, personal listening devices and such things, music is more personal than ever.  Sure, there are internet sharing sites and file sharing but it is hardly the same as sitting around a room listening to music in real time while trying to grab an album jacket from the hands of an album-jacket-hogger (for some of us, 'bogarting' did not just refer to joints).  Gatherings based upon music purchases have sadly disappeared as well, new music as much a reason among my old friends as birthdays or the big game.  Three new albums and a short case of Blitz Weinhard--- reason enough for a party.

I miss those days.  I really do.  But if the tradeoff is the seeming unending mountain of music worth discovering, what the hell.  It is, like I said, about the music and there has never been so much music nor an amount of music so worthy in my lifetime.  This is the Golden Era.  For myself, anyway.

And there is news.....

This news just in from The Research Turtles.  Release is imminent.  RT should have the finished masters of their latest Dockside Studio efforts in their hands this week.  Digital downloads should be available soon and hard copies, with luck, not long thereafter.  These guys are the real deal, sports fans, and slake my power pop thirst.  Well, they will, once I get my hands on a copy.  Recorded by one Justin Tocket, the dial twister on their last album's sessions (that is a good thing, trust me). 

Bright Giant are also working on a collection of tracks.  Like RT, they have decided to go with the EP approach, recording a handful rather than a full album.  If it gets the music out sooner, I am all for it.  They are working with a member of the band The Envy Corps, another Iowa gathering of forces, and will be working for some time as the main priority, at least at this very moment, is The Envy Corps' latest project.  Doesn't bother BG's Josh Davis a whit, though, as he has a full schedule of live performances and projects as it is.

Charlottesville's Keith Morris dropped a three-track CD-R in my lap this past month, a precursor to his album project (which is moving at the pace of a snail traveling through molasses).  I'm listening to Bordertown as I type and am all smiles.  If this is what taking time is all about, I hope Keith takes all the time he needs.  A great song made even better with a wealth of talent, not the least of whom are Davina Jackson and Davita  Jackson, who nail the background vocals down tight.  This may well be the sleeper of the year.  More when it is ready.

In the Just-As-I-Thought department, the bummers are already rolling in re: my best of 2010.  I inadvertently left out Ash Ganley, whose Universe Acceptable album was more than worthy of inclusion.  Ash has a real touch with mainstream rock, writing and performing songs a step above.  I heartily recommend you stop by his Reverbnation page for a listen.

Instant Replay.....

I love it when media people get it right.  This time, a huge pat on the back to the people who put together Haven, the sci-fi series, for using Sweet Talk Radio's We All Fall Down as a closing song in one of their later episodes this last year.  A great song and a fantastic duo.  Here is what it looked like:

They also placed a song in the pilot for USA's Fairly Legal.  I hope this leads to bigger and better things for them.

Americana does not get better than The Dixie Bee-Liners and their latest project, Susanville, which easily made my Best of 2009 (and so good that I almost tried to slip it into the Best of 2010).  They are actually good enough to transcend genre.  I mean, it isn't exactly bluegrass, but.....

But nothing!  One of my favorite bands of the past few years and deserving of much more press than they are receiving.  I got the same headrush the first time I heard them that I got when I heard Nickel Creek.

Bob Segarini has made Courage My Love one of his media projects and after seeing this video, I can see why.  These young kids have drive.  And the support of high school football, evidently.

The big question is, are they old enough to drive?  Doesn't much matter when you're this young and this good.

Bands I'm Listening To.....

The Hitmen
49 Stones
The Wailin' Jennys
and Nine N Out (That's right, Babies... Dick's out).

More on these later.....  Right now, I need some sleep.  Stay tuned.

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