Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

my God, where do these days go?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Concert Ticket Goodness

Oh man, this is fun! Thanks to Stereogum for the link. I could play with this all night.

Monday, August 28, 2006

What We'll Remember

Gents and ladies, I humbly submit that while the latter part of the twentieth century belonged to some schmucks named Britney and Justin, the 00s are the purview of Ben and Jenny (and some guy named Sufjan - news at 11).

Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) and Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) - put 'em together and whaddya get? The Postal Service. Every bit as efficient as their namesakes, but these guys work on Sundays.

I enjoy Death Cab and I like Rilo, but I freakin' adore The Postal Service. I guess it's one of those "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" things. I also love that these guys aren't afraid to do a cover or two. I've got quite a few live shows now, and it seems like they can't do a show without covering someone - and it's usually someone from a looooong time ago. Here are some goodies for you.

Ben Gibbard - Lookout, Here Comes Tomorrow - a freakin' Monkees cover!
Death Cab - Earth Angel - The Penguins
Jenny Lewis (with Johnathan Rice) - Cold Jordan - The Grateful Dead

Update: Mucho props to Myles for reminding me that Jimmy Tamborello (aka Dntel) is one of the pillars of the Postal Service, along with Ben. Apologies to Dntel. He's wicked awesome. Listen to the groove of The District Sleeps Alone Tonight if you don't believe....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I’ve spent the better part of the morning at work listening to Mark Heard music. Especially beloved by me is the tribute album, called Strong Hand of Love, that Mark’s friends made for him. This particular album is one of those mile-marker records for me. Every time I listen, I think about combing the shelves of Long’s Christisn Books and Music in Orlando, looking for the 77s or Rez Band or, yes, Vigilantes of Love or Steve Taylor or a million other artists. I found Strong Hand of Love because VOL was on it, and I would have bought anything with them on it, but I had no idea what I actually had in my hands. Not only was it my first exposure to Mark Heard, which is remarkable enough by itself, but it was also my first exposure to Bruce Cockburn, Victoria Williams, Pierce Pettis, and the fabulous Buddy and Julie Miller, who these many years later have become all-time favorites. Also, with tracks by Rich Mullins, Tonio K, The Choir, Kevin Smith, and Chagall Guevara (among others), this record really helped direct my musical taste. The real beauty of it is that it is a record made, not just by artists who were influenced by Mark, but by his friends.

Last Wednesday was the anniversary of the death of Mark Heard. It was also the day before my birthday. Every year, on August 16th, I’m keenly aware that I’ll soon be adding a year to my life, and Mark will not (August 16th is also the anniversary of Elvis’ death, BTW). Mark died in 1992, after suffering a minor heart attack onstage at Cornerstone (he finished the set). He had another heart attack two weeks after his release from the hospital and could not recover. He, along with Rich Mullins, will always be the musical Poet Laureate of Christianity.

Download Orphans of God by Buddy and Julie Miller
Download Strong Hand of Love by Bruce Cockburn

Monday, August 21, 2006

Brilliant! This has been a good year for movies, but as of this weekend, my favorite so far is Little Miss Sunshine.

Imagine, if you will, a movie that has intelligent writing, positive character development, and downright guffaw-inducing comedy. I know what you're saying... "In Hollywood? Come on, John. Surely you jest." Well I'm here to tell you that such an animal does exist. Yes, Virginia, there is good filmmaking!

Steve Carrell is brilliant. Toni Collette is fantastic. Alan Arkin is legendary. Greg Kinnear doesn't screw it up. And the kids... well, they're the stars of the thing.

Talledega Nights was funny - very funny, but Little Miss Sunshine was drop-dead classic. Go see it. Let's see if we can really drum up some support for this thing. Write your Congressman!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Thank me now. Remember before, when I said that one of the greatest things in the world is on of my favorite bands covering one of my favorite songs?

Well, what's almost better is one of my favorite artists performing a classic '80s blallad. This is beautiful. I'll tell you that it's Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright, but I'm not gonna tell you which song it is. But don't worry, download and listen. The first few notes will give it away.

I'll say it again. Thank me now. This rocks.

Ben Folds & Rufus Wainwright

(and yes, you can just look at the file name - but that would be cheating, now wouldn't it?)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'll post some more pictures soon - including the one with me and Bill rocking the mic together, but for now I just have these. Here you go, Myles!

Bill and Muriah

Bill and Muriah playing

Here's the set list from the Bill Mallonee House Show:

Holy Mother Mary
Nothing Like a Train
Solar System
High & Lonesome
Goes Without Saying
After All This Dust Settles Down
November Ghost
Knockin' At Your Door
If I Saw the Light (not sure of the name of this one - never heard it before)
Great Reservations
Here Comes Heartache
Good Luck Charm
Who Will You Love?
Parting Shot (yay!)
Muriah's Song (Muriah wrote and sang this one - very awesome)

The high points for me were some of the new tunes - November Ghost, Otherwise, and Rationale really stood out. And, of course, hearing Parting Shot live was a bit of a religious experience.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You can tell a lot about a man by the Play Count column in his iTunes library. For instance, if you look at mine, you’ll see:

Wilco, David Crowder Band, Page France, Kite Flying Society, Colin Meloy, Bill Mallonee, Warren Zevon, Andrew Peterson, Ben Lee, The Postal Service, The Refreshments, Sufjan Stevens – and that’s just on the first page.

What’s in your list?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Catalogue

I’ve got this playlist on my iPod called "All Time," and because I’m the kind of guy that makes lists out of everything (I loved High Fidelity), I’ve been slowly creating a list of my favorite songs of all time. I know, it’s vain and self-indulgent, and nobody but me cares a lick, but what the hell is a blog if not self-indulgent?

There's no methodology here, no rules. Just the ones I like best. I've had this list going for a few months now, so these aren't off the top of my head.

So here they are, my Top Ten Favorite Songs of All Time. In order, from 10 to 1. You’ll notice that I have a thing for live tracks and covers. There is no greater joy, in my opinion, than when one of my favorite bands covers one of my favorite songs (see number 3). If I heard Wilco covering a Bill Mallonee song (or vice versa), I think I could very easily die of pure giddiness.

10. Least Complicated - The Indigo Girls

I was given this song on a mix tape in 1996 by Allison Semones, who I worked with at Steak and Ale in Orlando. Man, I dug that chick (she smoked and played the guitar). That mix tape had a diverse and edgy feel to it - it felt subversive to a kid who grew up with Billy Joel and Steven Curtis Chapman. "Least Complicated" was the star of the tape. After listening to the mix about a thousand times, I went out and bought 1200 Curfews, the IGs live record. It's been a staple ever since, and this is my favorite track. Plus, Amy’s story at the beginning is absolutely priceless.

Least Complicated

9. Goodnight, Elizabeth - Counting Crows

This was a tough one. If I were doing a favorite bands list, they'd be number 3 - right behind (who else) Bill Mallonee and Wilco. So it was tough to pick just one song. "A Long December" has special meaning to my bride and I, and I leaned toward that one, but there's something about "Goodnight, Elizabeth," and especially this kick-ass live version that sold me. Give it a listen.

Goodnight, Elizabeth (with Postcard from 15 alt)

8. Best Imitation of Myself - Ben Folds Five

Man, it was hard to pick my favorite Ben Folds song. With five or six albums of fantastic tracks to choose from, I had to go back to the first. Back when it was Ben Folds Five, and the music felt more… rebellious – which is a big thing when you’re at Ouachita Baptist University and a prospective religion major. I think Mr. Folds is partially responsible for me not being a paid member of the clergy right now. Thanks, Ben. Seriously.

Best Imitation of Myself

7. Tear Stained Eye - Son Volt

If you ran a family tree type diagram of the music that I listen to now, a lot of it would trace (no pun intended) back to this song. This was the first alt-country song that got it’s hooks into me. Back then, I thought that Son Volt was the better half of the Uncle Tupelo split. Who knew? Also, it was this song that gave this blog its name.

Tear Stained Eye

6. Holy is the Lord - Andrew Peterson

You remember that song, “One of these things is not like the others / One of these things does not belong”? I realize that Andrew Peterson kind of sticks out like a sore thumb here, but I can’t help it. This song is everything I love about AP and exemplifies what contemporary Christian music could be, if it wanted to. AP takes biblical characters and makes them people that struggle with faith and God and everything. This song is special to me because of the subject matter – anyone who has a son can’t possibly listen to this without being affected.

Holy is the Lord

5. Not for the Season - Wilco

This one is typical of one of my other fetishes – non-album tracks (so, for that matter, is the Peterson song, which only shows up on a City on a Hill record). I tend to be such a completist that I have to have any and every song by these guys. Fortunately, thanks to iTunes, I no longer have to buy the entire CD to get the one song. I heard this one first on the Wilco movie “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” I found it floating out there through the tubes of the Interweb, and it’s a freaking staple now.

Not for the Season

4. Oh My Sweet Carolina - Ryan Adams

This song.. oh, this song. This song has my all time favorite lyric. Plain and simple – I think the last verse of this tune is the best thing ever laid down on tape.
Up here in the city, feels like things are closing in
The sunset’s just my lightbulb burning out
I miss Kentucky and I miss my family
All the sweetest winds, they blow across the South

Plus, that piano and Emmylou’s BGVs make this one an all-time gem. It was in serious consideration for the top spot.

Oh My Sweet Carolina

3. Return of the Grievous Angel - Gram Parsons

This is the All Along the Watchtower of alt-country music. You ain’t nobody ‘til you’ve covered it. I have versions of this song by Ryan Adams, Gillian Welch, David Crosby & Lucinda Williams, and Counting Crows. There’s a reason for it. It’s a perfect song. It’s simply the greatest country song ever written. This version is (of course) the Counting Crows, making their second appearance on this list. This is fun stuff. If you don’t like this, I don’t want to be your friend any more.

Return of the Grievous Angel

2. Nothing Like a Train - Bill Mallonee and/or Vigilantes of Love

I heard this song live in my living room last weekend. If you are someone with kids, with a family, with anybody that you love, this song is a powerful one. It should say something that out of Bill’s 23 albums (yes, really) and, literally, hundreds of songs, this is the one that made the list. This is the album version, with Julie Miller’s beautiful background vocals. Now go buy some of his music! You can buy it a la carte from his website now. Go here.

Nothing Like a Train

1. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen

Here it is, my favorite song of all time. It had to be somebody pretty impressive to move ahead of Bill Mallonee, but The Boss is up to the challenge. I love every single thing about this song. From the simple piano & harmonica combo beginning to the Roy Orbison reference to “roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair” to “ohhh come take my hand, we’re riding out tonight to case the promised land” to Springsteen’s gravelly delivery to the gathering sense of urgency to well, you get it.

Thunder Road Live with The Boss & Melissa Etheridge

So there it is. And since I had a hard time limiting it to ten, here are the honorable mentions:

Waterdeep – At Least I Got a Car
Marc Cohn – Walking in Memphis
Andrew Peterson – Canaan Bound
The Gourds – Gangsta Lean
The Monkees – Listen to the Band
Pearl Jam – Black
Wilco – When the Roses Bloom Again
Vigilantes of Love – Certain Slant of Light
Caedmon’s Call – Somewhere North of Here
Toad the Wet Sprocket – Fly from Heaven
Simon & Garfunkel - Evey freakin' song ever

Now go and buy their stuff. Now. Go. Really. Now. Go.