Monthly Archives: July 2012

Old Crow Medicine Show

Carry Me Back

So we just found out on Tuesday that Bob Dylan is releasing a new album, entitled Tempest, on September 11. I don’t know about you, but album announcements don’t usually get me too riled up. It’s hard to get excited about a press release accompanied by a list of out-of-context song titles, especially when the payoff can be so far away. I mean, September is like a year away (delayed gratification and I are not friends). This announcement was different though, and not just because it’s Bob Dylan, and that’s reason enough to get one’s undies in a bunch. My undies bunched double because I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, the “Scarlet Town” that’s included on the track list was a cover of the “Scarlet Town” Gillian Welch released on her 2011 album The Harrow & The Harvest. I even spent like 30 minutes drafting unsent Tweets about it:

“Part of me is hoping that “Scarlet Town” from Bob Dylan’s upcoming album is a cover of the @gillianwelch tune. The other part of me thinks that’s wrong.”

Other drafts were less circumspect, focusing on how I’d probably pee my pants if my theory were to hold true. (Does anyone else routinely spend half an hour writing tweets they don’t send? Anyone? Please tell me I’m not the only one.)

But all that excitement and subsequent guilt over rooting for a cover from the greatest songwriter of all time vanished into thin air when I actually took the time to read the whole press release, which states clearly that Tempest features “ten new and original Bob Dylan songs.” Well, then. There goes that. Guess I should know better than to try to predict Bob Dylan’s behavior. After all, this exists.

My Tempest gratification may be delayed until September, but Tuesday was kind enough to balance things out by dropping a brick of pure, uncut, instant gratification in my lap via a text from my friend Tex (say that 5 times fast) asking if I’d heard the new Old Crow Medicine Show album.

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Ray Charles

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

When Mrs. You Hear That goes out of town, things tend to get a little… how shall I put this… chaotic. Meals are timed irregularly. Bedtime drifts further and further into the morning hours with each passing night. And showers? Might as well have never been invented.

I followed each of these trends faithfully this past weekend, when Mrs. YHT was up in Pennsylvania, riding Hershey Park roller coasters with her younger cousins. True to form, not one drop of water passed through the showerheads at YHT headquarters all weekend, I stayed up late Friday and Saturday nights working on elements of a YHT site redesign (I can’t wait to show y’all!), and if it weren’t for a thing of trail mix I bought from 7-11, I probably would have starved to death by the time Sunday rolled around.

Does all this make me a degenerate whose development was arrested somewhere between the beginning and end of college? Some might say so, but I know better. I’ve listened to Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music enough times to understand the real truth: I’m just in love.

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Neko Case

Middle Cyclone

I don’t know how you could go to a Neko Case concert and not fall in love with her.

For one thing, you’d have to hate hearing beautiful voices. Friday evening at the National in Richmond, VA was my first time seeing Case perform live, and I’m convinced that hers is a voice that you could listen to infinitely, as if hearing it were as natural and essential as respiration or a beating heart. Powerful without overpowering. Precise, but not robotic. Weighty, but nimble as all get-out. It was the main event, but it folded into songs comfortably, leaving plenty of room for backup singer Kelly Hogan to add depth and shape to the melodies (Hogan also served as Friday’s opening act – a feat of endurance that grew more and more impressive as the night went on).

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Sidney Bechet

The above photograph has served as my desktop wallpaper since April, when I was getting all jazzed up for Record Store Day. I knew almost nothing about the photo when I right-clicked it and selected “Set as desktop background,” aside from the fact that it caught my eye, and that its generous pixel count made it good wallpaper material. I’ve looked at it either hundreds or thousands of times since, usually lingering on the style of the clothing, the apparent lack of record jackets, or the way the man on the left is draping his arm over the register.

I decided to do a little digging yesterday, and as it turns out, this picture was taken in 1947 at the Commodore Music Shop in Manhattan, and the suave-looking draper on the left is the store’s owner, a man named Milt Gabler. The son of Jewish immigrants, Gabler was a legend in the recording industry, having been the first person to deal in reissues, the first to sell records by mail order, and the first to give written credit to all the musicians who appeared on a recording. That last honor came from his time as a producer, during which he oversaw the recording of some of the most influential music of the twentieth century, including Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock.” Oh, and did I mention HE’S BILLY CRYSTAL’S UNCLE? Small world, right?

It got even smaller when I googled “Sidney Bechets Trio” — the only legible text on the flyer to the right of the clock above Gabler’s killer combover.

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Frank Ocean

Channel ORANGE

By now, I hope someone in your social media feed of choice has freaked out about how incredible Frank Ocean’s album Channel Orange is. If not, please, allow me.

While most Americans were celebrating our nation’s independence by grilling food, drinking beer and igniting small explosives, Frank Ocean was busy celebrating his own kind of independence. Praise for his July 3 coming-out Tumblr post has been rolling in ever since, from music critics, from Russell Simmons, from Ebony… nearly every corner of the Internet. The courage he’s shown in the face of homophobia has created that rare good kind of Internet shitstorm. The kind in which people are falling over one another to join an entirely righteous consensus. The kind that warms hearts, raises goosebumps, and makes you feel like the world is headed in the right direction.

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White Laces

Moves

When White Laces announced the release date of their upcoming album MOVES yesterday, they also posted a link to a Soundcloud preview of one of its tracks, a beautifully layered and rapturously roomy song entitled “Crawl/Collapse.” Good things are clearly coming our way on August 21.

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The Lumineers

It’s been hot. Hot as hell. Hot as balls. So hot, it’s easy to forget that the current heat wave stretched all the way back to the Friday before last, when The Lumineers opened for Brandi Carlile at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Somehow, despite temperatures that rendered backs unattractively sweaty and the last third of beers practically undrinkable, the Denver-based quintet performed a scorcher of an early-evening set, one that ended in a well-earned standing ovation.

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