ound some old notes I’d written about my favorite Jude Cole album. Twelve years ago, actually. Much has changed. Like, now I’m happy. Also, I’ve seen Madison.
- Speed of Life — only one I’ve heard on the radio. Great tune, fascinating mental imagery. I have a live version recorded in some radio studio, too.
- Believe In Me — “I may not make a million dollars, but a million dollars won’t make me.” He sure knows how to write. Simple tune with wonderful lyrics.
- Move if You’re Going — not my favorite music, but it’s about getting on with your life after tragedy. I listen for the lyrics.
- Lowlife — not what it sounds like. He writes lots of musical prayers. I sing ‘em real loud.
- Joe — oh so scary song about a perfectly normal guy; except he’s having an affair with his neighbor’s wife while he beats his own; wishes his kids would just leave him alone, and ends with him sitting in the basement holding a Purple Heart and a loaded gun. I’m almost crying writing this; at my lowest times, this song really really helped me not to end it all, and I don’t know how or why. Kiefer Sutherland, who loaned Jude his guitar to record his very first album with, does some of the vocals. Listen with headphones in a dark room. It’s a deeply moving song for me.
- Sheila Don’t Remember — he really doesn’t understand why this girl he had a one-night-stand with doesn’t even remember him. I’ve looked for something deeper, but I haven’t found it.
- Take The Reins — when you let others control your life, your heart, your mind, you’re in trouble. Take it back, ’cause no matter how hard it is, it can’t hurt the way it does right now
- Madison — I have no idea what this is about, but it sounds like a ‘never going back’ tune. I was born in Wisconsin, but I’ve never even seen Madison.
- Hole at the top of the World — another sad song about a dead marriage. For a happily married guy, he sure nails the feelings.
- Heaven’s Last Attempt — a gentle but powerful song about how the right kind of love might save your life. Or, might not.
est Beloved took me to see Leftover Cuties Wednesday night at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. Actually, we saw the cutest cutie three times, not just once.
Stopped at the light at 10th and Nicollet, I watched Shirli cross the street, a pair of high (really high) heels in one hand.
As she stepped to the curb on the northwest side of the intersection I thought, Shirli . . . Shirli. Wait. I just watched Shirli McAllen cross the street.
I felt like I should run after her an apologize for not saying hello. (She later told me “You should have!”) As we were seated at our table near the stage, there she was again, scooting between the tables toward the backstage rooms. I started to stand and apologize for my earlier rudeness, but she was just too quick.
Leftover Cuties are the kind of band which feels like you really ought to run after them and say hello.
Continue reading Do NOT Miss Leftover Cuties
ome years ago I almost met Evin Wolverton. We both participated in FAWM more than once, and when I heard he’d moved to the San Francisco area, I invited him to perform at the Northern California Artistic Achievement Awards (The Grassies.) Evin was too sick to make it, and we asked Philip Flathead to fill in, which worked out. Except I didn’t get to meet Evin and tell him in person what his music has done for me.
When I found out Evin had a Kickstarter project for his new album, I chipped in. I had exactly a dollar to my name, and I put it in. Didn’t get me anything; anything less than a ten-spot doesn’t even get a copy of the album when it’s finished. That’s okay; Evin’s art is worth supporting and it’s about time I started giving back to the artists that fill my life.
Except, I did get something. Pretty much won the lottery.
Continue reading Makes No Difference from Evin Wolverton’s Woodland Sessions
inding new music that hits me viscerally is sublime. Recently, No Depression introduced me to Eric Tingstad and his take on Americana instrumentals.
When my copy of Badlands arrived, it stayed in the CD player in the car for over two weeks, playing over and over again. Nearly every track is on my all-night music list (I never sleep without music playing. I’ve heard some people do. Seems odd to me.)
Instrumentals are hard to write. Continue reading Badlands = Good Listen
urrently wearing out Franc Cinelli‘s short (under 20 minutes total) CD Alcatraz. Americana inspired by one of the world’s most famous prisons and some of the minds it tried to contain.
Continue reading The Birdman, the Warden, and John Giles
his week I’m trying to write three new songs. This idea came to me a few weeks ago, and when the ending landed in my brain the day before yesterday it wrote itself.
Recorded in the basement using my iPhone and mandolin. Continue reading The Politest Pirate
f you ever want to get depressed just come to this town
Hard to top that as an opening line. Nice internal rhyme with the next line Continue reading How Many Kids Love Their Hometown?
azz musicians occasionally highlight a melody by playing all the notes around it, leaving a hole where it should be. If you’re paying attention, you’ll “hear” it.
Some smart doughnut shop decided to stop rolling all the doughnut holes back together to make more doughnuts, and just started frying up doughnut holes to sell. Continue reading Doughnut Holes and Roger Miller
takes a lot of songwriting confidence to take on the challenge of writing an entire song for each line in Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. Takes a lotta songwriting chops to pull it off.
This year it looks like Ross Durand is going to finish this seriously ambitious and musically satisfying project. Continue reading USSS: Ross Durand
ewgrass: it’s what’s for dinner. Okay, maybe that’s not how it goes, but I’ll have Phil Norman‘s take on American bluegrass and folk any day. Continue reading USSS: Phil Norman
imply the finest story-telling songwriter I know, Phil Henry will make you cry, guaranteed. Continue reading USSS: Phil Henry
ut of the dark woods of far northern Scandinavia comes one of the most authentic American folk songwriters I’ve heard. I’ll let Old Lost John tell you where his music comes from: Continue reading USSS: Old Lost John