Monday, February 25, 2008

Another man done gone...

Thank you The Onion for this bad boy. Communism never looked more fun.

A sad turn of events for Communists all over the world. One of the leading comrades has decided to retire (really, can you ever retire from Communism? I think not). Fidel Castro was no member of the KGB, but they were boys, no doubt about that. Sometimes reality has a way of kicking you in the nuts and it appears Castro's hath finally been kicketh. Lucky for him (if you can say that for someone with the health problems he currently has), his reality is not like the reality described by one Nick Lowe in the following. Check it out:

Nick Lowe -- Nutted By Reality from Jesus of Cool (Reissued)
[buy Jesus of Cool here]

In other completely unrelated news, the Hold Steady is currently preparing to release a new album, much to the enjoyment of myself and probably Rutledge too. The band shares some of the details with your friends at Pitchfork, right here.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Finding a job sucks

So, one of the reasons I haven't posted much lately, is that I'm finishing up graduate school. Lame excuse, I know....but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) its true.

With that comes the horrendous, unenviable task of finding a job, or in my case.....finding yet another place to go to school for the next two years. It really is never ending. But its something that has to be done.

Now the funny thing is, I'm excited about the opportunity to move somewhere new. I've lived in Kentucky and Nashville (the urban version of Kentucky) for my entire this will be exciting. But over the course of the past few weeks I've all but convinced myself that I'm living in like 10 different places. It changes every two or three days. So, I figured I'd give you a small bit of insight into some of those places that I've told myself, "Yep, that's the place. Can't wait to move there" only to change my mind the next morning.

So, let's get going. Here are a no particular order.

1. Boston
Pros: See Picture. A. W. E. S. O. M. E. city.

Cons: Very cold. Gerdon lives there. HA! Just kidding buddy.

Song: Ben Harper - She's Only Happy In the Sun

2. Denver

Pros: Beautiful. Never been there. Skiing.

Cons: Snow. Lots of snow.

Song: Yonder Mountain String Band - High on a Hilltop

3. Louisville

Pros: Familiarity. Lots of Friends there. Comfortable.

Cons: What's the saying......Everything changes, everything stays the same? Something like that.

Song: Ben Kweller - Different but the Same

4. South Carolina
Pros: I like living in the south. Close to the ocean.

Cons: Hot.

Song: Ryan Adams - Carolina Rain

5. Dayton, OH
Pros: Meh.

Cons: Meh.

Song: Elliott Smith - Whatever

6. San Francisco
Pros: Probably the most different than what I'm used to.

Cons: Mapquest says its 2307.83 miles away from Nashville. Damn.

Song: Coconut Records - West Coast

7. Florida (either Gainesville or Tallahassee)
Pros: Currently the favorite. I've wanted to live there my entire life. Wife wants to live there, too.

Cons: Hurricanes

Song: The Hold Steady - Citrus

So, I suppose we'll see. I still have a couple months before this process rrreeeaaaalllllyyyyy gets underway. I'm excited though.



So, I've been meaning to make a couple posts recently, but haven't exactly gotten around to doing so....

To remedy this, I shall make a couple of posts today. And what better way to get us going than with a couple of banjo songs. Banjo.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big Sur

Big Sur at sunset

I spent the weekend up in Big Sur - an area of costal California between San Fransicso and San Luis Obispo known for it's mountainous terrain, great ocean views, giant redwoods, and sweet wild life. It was an awesome trip involving some camping and some hiking. Big Sur was home to Jack Kerouac for a year in the 60's and got me thinking quite a bit about the Grateful Dead. I reckon they made their way through Big Sur in their hay day as well. So, here are a couple songs I was jamming to as I drove that long and winding Highway 1 along the cliffs at the edge of America.

Grateful Dead - Casey Jones

Grateful Dead - New Speedway Boogie


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Billy Bragg

Billy, out promoting his music

I’ve found myself enveloped in some Billy Bragg goodness as of late. I decided to check Billy out due to his collaboration with Wilco. I really enjoyed Mermaid Avenue (1998), though I still haven’t checked out Mermaid Avenue, Vol II (2000). At some point I ran across some music of Billy’s yester-years and decided to give it a go. So, I picked up Life’s a Riot With Spy Vs Spy (1983) and found it sticking with me. I don’t know much about punk, but I like this stuff because it’s short and to the point and stripped down to his loan, harsh guitar and even more harsh voice (similar to JJ Cale in some ways). Sometimes his singing is almost bad – but that seems to add to the aggressiveness of the song (see “To Have and To Have Not). It’s simple, good song writing and I can appreciate that. Unfortunately, I also picked up Talking With the Taxman About Poetry (1986) and found it a bit too 80’s for my taste. I may still pick up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) hoping that’s more like Spy Vs Spy.

If you like what you’re reading, check out these two tracks:

Billy Bragg – A New England

Bill Bragg – The Milkman of Human Kindness

[buy Bill here]


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Whiskey. Need I say more?

That is one big bottle of goodness.

In honor of an old friend coming back into my life (obviously I am talking about smooth Kentucky bourbon whiskey), I thought I'd celebrate with, what else, a couple of choice cuts that address whiskey. So many great songs about the nectar of the gods, but alas, here are a few that get my heart pumping and leave me sprawled out on the floor.

Slobberbone: Whiskey Glass Eye from Crow Pot Pie

[buy Slobberbone here]

Wrinkle Neck Mules: Whiskey Jars from Minor Enough
[buy Wrinkle Neck Mules here]

And finally, Mike Cooley ponders the question that has still yet to be answered: which is better, women or the whiskey - ("whiskey is hard to beat")?

Drive-By Truckers: Women Without Whiskey from 7.29.2004 in Winston Salem, NC
[buy DBT here]


Monday, February 11, 2008 do you work this here blog thing??

Ryan who??? is right......where the hell have I been? I looked today and realized I haven't posted in like 2 weeks +. Man that, and I, sucks.

Thankfully my boys, Kendall and Gerdon, have been holding the place down. And its a good thing, because I've been sucking. But, you know.....trying to get your damn Ph.D. will do that to you. Work's been getting me down. Always seems to find a way, but trying to graduate will really keep you away from your priorities (i.e. posting on music blogs, preparing for fantasy baseball drafts, etc.).

Well, its time for this to stop. And what better to give me a swift kick in the arse than the possibility of attending a music festival.

So, I'm going to the New Orleans Jazz Festival in May and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm officially purchasing tickets tomorrow. I haven't been to a good music festival since Bonnaroo and even then the 'goodness' is heavily balanced by the associated 'disgustingness' of it.

Well, from what I understand, JazzFest will not be this way and I truly hope not. As it stands today I'm most excited about catching Jimmy Buffett and the Raconteurs.....but I have a feeling as the event approaches I'll be equally excited about catching all the local jazz bands that frequent the event. A couple other "names" that'll be there the weekend i'm going include: The Roots, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Santana, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, etc.

Needless to say, I'm excited. I've never been and i L-O-V-E New Orleans. So, has anyone out there in KGB reader-land ever been?? If so, let me know what you thought and what bands or things you recommend I check out.

So, I'll leave you with this Jimmy Buffett cover song to get you (and more importantly, me) in the mood.

Jimmy Buffett - Scarlet Begonias (Grateful Dead cover)

I promise it won't be three weeks until my next post.....seriously.....i promise.

Ryan Who? How bouts some Caitlin Cary?

I've been on a big Whiskeytown kick as of late in preparation for the release of the extended Strangers' Almanac that is due out on March 4. There is a pretty good write up with all the extended greatness listed here. Ultimately, whenever I spend some time with Whiskeytown, I inevitably pull out Caitlin Cary's Begonias, one of the finest albums from 2005. I know I didn't appreciate it fully back in the day, but it continues to stand the test of time, unlike some of the other 2005 releases that I once fluffed. With a little help from Thad Cockrell, Caitlin and company put together a great country flavored album with pretty much no weak tracks. And of course, there is the voice, front and center this time around. Check out some of Begonias below and better yet, buy it here.

Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Second Option
Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell: Party Time


Friday, February 8, 2008

Don't book your Uncle Tupelo reunion tour tickets anytime soon.

A man can dream, eh? Interesting Tweedy story about Farrar from his show on January 23, 2008.

However, since this is a music website, how about some of Tweedy's finest work with UT? Here he is performing Gun.

And while we're at it, here's some of Farrar's best stuff from UT in audio version:

Uncle Tupelo -- Outdone from No Depression
[buy UT here]


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday

In case you were wondering, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lent season, leading up to Easter, for the Catholics of the world. Incidentally, it's also Chinese New Year. Today being Ash Wednesday does mean that I some how let Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday pass me by this year. How did I miss that fantastic celebration and the good music that goes along with it? We had a nice little discussion on Mardi Gras music last year (see post), but I guess we missed it this time around. Anyway, in honor of Easter anticipation, I've got a tune or two for you.

Harry Connick, Jr. is a champion of New Orleans and put out a few jazz albums (Oh, My NOLA and Chanson du Vieux Carre) in 2007. One track on Chanson du Vieux Carre, appropriately titled "Ash Wednesday", was recently nominated for Best Instrumental Composition and Best Instrumental Arrangement at the 2008 Grammy Awards, and is one of my favorites off that disc. It's been played here on KGB before, but this is another opportunity to give it another listen.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band are also New Orleans greats. They put together a remake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album and put together a fantastic version of Wholy Holy, which also fits will in this theme.

Finally, we have Jan Garbarek, a Norwegian saxophonist with an extensive discography. On that discography is the album Officium, which is in collaboration with the Hilliard Ensemble (a vocal quartet that performs "early compositions"). Now, I know you may not be into chanting (maybe you are, it's pretty sweet), but dig on the saxophone in this work. It is so smooth and blends in really well with the voices. When you're learning to play the saxophone, this is the type of sound you want in your head. This is what you try to match. Good stuff.

Harry Connick Jr - Ash Wednesday [buy]

Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Wholy Holy [buy]

Jan Garbarek - O Salutaris Hostia [buy]


Monday, February 4, 2008

Sunday morning find...

Here's the family and me on a Lazy Sunday Morning.

Holla. So I love lazy Sunday mornings. It gives me a little time to be lazy (or should I say lazier) and catch up on my listens and my reading. Well, this Sunday, I was minding my own business, catching up on some reading on one of my favorite music discussion boards when I read about this one band called Wrinkle Neck Mules, hailing from Richmond. They sound interesting so I check them out. They play a mean pedal steel, need I say more? Think Old Crow Medicine Show perhaps, or Cast Iron Filter? I started with their 2006 release, The Wicks Have Met. They also have a plethora of stuff available on their website, including live clips. This is Americana music at its finest, so enjoy.

Wrinkle Neck Mules -- Cadillac Limousine from The Wicks Have Met
Wrinkle Neck Mules -- Liza from Pull The Brake
[buy Wrinkle Neck Mules here]


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Thanks Gerdon....

With his mention of Lay Lady Lay, I dug out my copy of Nashville Skyline, which contains a few of my favorite Dylan tracks. The one I tend to listen to most, however, is the album's closer, Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You. Everyone deserves to have a moment like the narrator in Dylan's classic: blowing off responsibilities to stick around and spend more time with the person you love. Here is the version off of Nashville Skyline and in addition, a cover of the song from Aussie rockers, You Am I. You Am I is an Australian band with huge success Down Under that is starting to make some noise in the States. Their latest release, Convicts, was one of my favorite discoveries from 2007. More on them on another day, but for now here is their version of Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You.

Bob Dylan -- Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
[buy Dylan's Nashville Skyline here]

You Am I -- Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You
[buy YAI here]