Dylan’s Nobel

Short version: lyrics are poetry, and I’m with Rolling Stone on this one.

The official Nobel press release says The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

Do they not have the right to award it to whomever they please? Is there supposed to be some internal logic we don’t expect from Grammys or Oscars?

This is an organization that gives the world’s most famous peace prize and it’s named after the guy who invented dynamite. I, for one, think Mr. Zimmerman would find that amusing, though to this point, he has yet to comment on the award.

Makes No Difference from Evin Wolverton’s Woodland Sessions

Some 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”

Badlands = Good Listen

Finding new music that hits me viscerally is sublime. Recently, No Depression introduced me to Eric Tingstad and his take on Americana instrumentals.

Eric Tingstad, BadlandsWhen 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”

40 Years in My Ear-y Canal

I‘ve been plagued by a particular earworm for over 40 years.

I’ve got a mule, her name is . . .

If her name popped unbidden into your mind, you’re either a fan of American folk music or you went to elementary school in California in the 60s.

The song was originally entitled Low Bridge, Everybody Down when Thomas Allen wrote it in 1905. Now it’s called The Erie Canal Song, 15 Miles on the Erie Canal, and any number of other names. It’s about the years, decades really, when boats on the Erie Canal were towed by mules. By 1905 the era of the mules was just about over.

I wish the era of this earworm were over.

Oh; the mule’s name? Sal. I’ve got a mule her name is Sal. Enjoy your earworm.

Doughnut Holes and Roger Miller

Jazz 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”

Caledonia, You’re Calling Me

I don’t know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I’ve been afraid
That I might drift away

So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that’s the reason why I seem
So far away today
Continue reading “Caledonia, You’re Calling Me”

USSS: Ross Durand

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”