Mario Takes a Walk

my kids introduced me to a whole string of video games about a guy named Mario, but I don’t think that’s who Jesse Cook is talking about. Somehow, Mario Takes a Walk completely possesses me every time I hear it; it’s one of those rare songs where both the live and studio versions I’ve heard punch me right in the solar plexus.

Thumping danceable drums annoy me. Except sometimes. Adding a ‘thump thump thump’ to most music turns me off completely, so I have no explanation for why Cook’s music, which is nearly always flamenco guitar and thump, grabs me like it does.

Every time I hear Mario (or Matisse the Cat, or many others) I want to do a Titanic on the bow of a sailing ship and laugh out loud while I’m dancing. Sure, it’s impossible, but that’s what music is for, to free us for the impossible.

Jesse has a new album, The Rumba Foundation which you can listen to at his website. Like I am right now.

Middle Cyclone and the Mockingbird

unpredictability seems to be Neko Case‘s goal. Middle Cyclone is a cohesive package, no worries there, but until the last song rolls by, you cannot know what’s coming next, sometimes even in the same song.

Mockingbird to the Morning is the song that gets stuck in my head; especially the moment in the second verse where she leaps to a note a full octave higher than you expected, then again coming out of the instrumental break.

Yet another song about loss, or found, or confusion. Seems to be a mood I’m in.

Easily Bruised: Who isn’t?

canadians seem to suck me in. I’m a lifelong fan of both Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, and continually discover others from the great white north. My latest discovery is Matthew Barber, and Easily Bruised.

There’s a powerful feel of the Jayhawks in Bruised and not a little anguish. Or wistfulness. Or just plain pain, I’m not sure.

Sometimes I’m not sure whether I like songs because they make me feel better or because they allow me to let some of the old pain leak out, leaving room for more worthwhile emotions.

You can hear Easily Bruised at Barber’s website. Maybe you’ll figger it out yourself.