Good News

That’s right, good news! Something that’s been sorely lacking on my blog of late. I know what you’re saying; “What, pray tell, is this news, Greg?”

I’m going to see Steve “By Gawd*” Earle on May 6 at the Southern Theater in Columbus. I snagged my tickets from the pre-sale on his website just minutes after it was announced, so I should have great seats. Hooray for my team!

*Just to inject the (evidently) obligatory downer, “Mr. ByGawd” / “Steve ‘By Gawd’ Earle” were the names assigned to him by a dear-departed friend of mine.

Still Missing Warren

Today (Jan 24, 2008) would have been Warren Zevon’s 61st birthday. It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for over 4 years now. Anyway, in celebration of Warren’s birthday I present you with the following video from the Late Show with David Letterman.

The news of Warrens terminal cancer diagnosis had recently come out and Warren’s old pal Dave Letterman dedicated an entire show to his friend, giving him the whole hour. This was the show where when he was asked by Dave how his work now (as he worked feverishly to complete one last album with the time he had left) compared to before, when he assumed he was healthy Warren replied:

You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich and every minute of playing with the guys, and being with the kids and…





I never get tired of seeing this, despite how heart wrenching the reality of it is.

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Since JW pointed out the Dylanesque feel of Steve Earle’s Jerusalem video, here’s its inspiration. Compare and contrast, this will be on your exam.



So many classic lines:
‘Johnny’s in the basement, mixing up the medicine.’
‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’
‘The pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles.’

Of Hippies and Musical Serendipity

The other day I was listening to John Prine‘s ”Fair and Square” CD (a great CD which I highly recommend, by the way) in the car on the drive home from work. As I stopped at a stop sign a man came around the corner pushing a baby stroller.

This guy looked like he could be the guitar tech for the Doobie Brothers. I’m talking early 1970’s-pre-Michael-McDonald here people!

Anyway just then John Prine hit the “Lord, this world will make you crazy” refrain in “Crazy as a Loon“. Not missing a beat I sang along:

“I believe that hippie stole that baby…”

As always, I laughed at my cleverness all the way home.

My New Musical Fixation

Back in October of last year I saw the band ‘Brazilian Girls‘ perform on The Late Show with David Letterman. I was really impressed with them, great music coupled with an innovative and arresting stage show (bordering on performance art), but somehow still managed to promptly forget all about them.

So anyway, this past Sunday I was watching A&E’s ‘Breakfast with the Arts’ and guess who was on? Brazilian Girls! Let me pause a moment to explain one thing, “Brazilian Girls” is just the name of the band. There is only one girl, Sabina Sciubba, who is drop-dead gorgeous, but is not Brazilian, hailing instead from Italy and Germany. The 3 guys in the band (Didi Gutman, Aaron Johnston, and Jesse Murphy) are also not Brazilian, nor are any of them girls. Anyway, they’ve become my new musical obsession and I can’t wait to get both of their CD’s.

Here’s their video for “Jique” which Sabina sings in English, Italian, French, and German (by my count). The title, “Jique”, is apparently a word of her own invention.



You can find videos, wallpapers, and lots more on their website, including the aforementioned Letterman and “Breakfast with the Arts” appearances.

That’s How They (USPS, UPS, DHL, FedEx, et al.) Get You

Back on May 9th I ordered a hard to find CD (Together at the Bluebird CafeSteve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark) through an “Amazon Marketplace Seller”. The confirmation email said that they would ship my CD by the 11th. The 23rd rolled around and still the CD hadn’t shown up, so I decided to drop them an email and see what was up. They promptly emailed me back saying:

Hello Greg,

thanks for your mail.

We already shipped your order, please remember that shipping from Germany to the USA may take 5 to 15 working days.

kind regards,

Sonja Foelsch

Oh!
I wrote back:

My apologies, I didn’t realize (or had forgotten) that it was being
sent from Germany. Thanks for the quick response.

Greg

As I sent my reply, I laughed to myself, “Of course, that means it will come tomorrow.”
It did. They always do! I can’t count the times I’ve gotten impatient while awaiting a package, emailed the sender, then had the package arrive the next day. What’s the moral to this story?
Should I:

  • Be more patient, or;
  • Get impatient sooner, thus expediating the package’s arrival?

I wonder.

Top 10 Live Albums

In the spirit of John Cusack’s Character, Rob Gordon, in High Fidelity (itself a worthwhile piece of cinema and recommended viewing), I have compiled my list of the Top Ten Live Rock Albums. While I share John/Rob’s obsessive desire to make lists, I find I can’t seem to limit mine to just the “Top Five”, Letterman’s “Top Ten” format suits me better.

Without further ado, here they are, in no particular order (mostly).

  • Warren Zevon – Stand In The Fire
    Finally available on CD after all these years, this one is not to be missed. Take Warren’s songwriting genius, throw in an inspired, manic performance and top it off with with a stellar back-up band and what do you have? The Greatest Live Album, Ever!

    If your tastes lean more toward Warren accompanying himself on 12-string or piano, Learning to Flinch is a sonic masterpiece as well and might just be the cure to what ails you.

  • KISS – Alive
    The greatest stage show in rock and roll, brilliantly captured and preserved in all its bombastic, fire-breathing, blood-spitting, rocket-shooting guitar glory.
  • Ian Hunter – Welcome to the Club
    Most of what I wrote about “Stand In The Fire” applies here as well. We’ll call this one the best of the rest.
  • The Kinks – One for the Road
    The Kinks at the very pinnacle of stadium-rocking Kinkdom, what more could you want?
  • Lou Reed – Rock and Roll Animal
    Lou strips these songs of their pretty Velvet Underground veneers and presents them in true, snarling, sneering rock and roll style! Kickin’ ass and takin’ names!
  • BB King – Live in Cook County Jail
    Not a rock album, per se, but this album belongs on this list. Listen to the man, consider the men…
  • The Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!
    The self-appointed “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World” at the peak of their live prowess.
  • Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense
    You could argue that The Name of This Band is Talking Heads is a better live Talking Heads album, but Stop Making Sense gets the nod for the great concept, as well as for also being one of the greatest concert movies ever, too.
  • The Who – Live at Leeds
    Worth the price of admission for that version of Magic Bus alone, stellar!
  • The Band/Various Artists – Last Waltz
    The Band’s legendary 1976 All-Star farewell concert. Featuring performances/farewells by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, and Muddy Waters. One incredible night! Do yourself a favor, If you don’t already own it, get the DVD, too.

So, what are your top five/ten albums? Any genre; just try to run a common thread around them. Share away, the comments await!

Countdown to The Nightwatchman’s “One Man Revolution”

If you’ve been here before, and you’ve been paying attention, you know that I’m really excited about the pending album release by The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello‘s alter-ego).
That release date (April 24) is almost upon us! Run! Go pre-order it from Amazon now! (I have.) The Nightwatchman will be performing on Jimmy Kimmell Live on April 25, so be sure to set your TiVos for that.

In the mean time, enjoy this trio of Nightwatchman videos:





This last one is more a slide-show set to music, but still very much worth your while.



Speaking of Amazing Acoustic Music

Do yourself a favor, buy or download Rodrigo y Gabriela‘s eponymous CD. When I saw them on “The Late Show with David Letterman” back in December, I immediately went to eMusic to see if it was available there. It was, I downloaded it, burned a disc, and it’s been in heavy rotation in the car CD player since. If you don’t like this CD there’s something wrong with you!

Just to tie things together, here’s a (tenuous) Tom Morello connection. On April 29th they’re playing the Coachella Festival; also playing Coachella this year? The reunited Rage Against the Machine!

Here’s the aforementioned Letterman appearance. The song they’re playing is “Diablo Rojo”; enjoy.