Mrs. YHT and I are Amtrakin’ it up to New York City for the weekend, snow accumulation be damned. (If we see Jay Z, we’ll tell him you said hello.) I’d like to leave y’all with a musical away message that doubles as a show recommendation:
I can remember the first time I got a recording of a show I’d just witnessed. It was while I was in college — Soulive at the Canal Club. I almost didn’t go — I wasn’t the biggest fan and agreed to go at the last minute, but I loved it. Looking back, as jammy as Soulive may be, that show represented a significant step in my quest to access jazz. I couldn’t believe the dexterity of keys player Neal Evans, who was pulling double-duty by playing synth bass with his left hand. I’ve since learned that this is typical for Soulive, but it seemed incredible to me. I stared at Evans for large chunks of each song, totally awestruck. Focusing on a single player like that has become one of my main techniques for appreciating genres I’m less familiar with, and it worked wonders at that show.
They had CD burners at the merch table, and you could buy a two-disc recording on your way out. $15 bucks, I think. Easy as that. I know (and knew then) that people have been taping shows and trading recordings for ages, but it felt like the future to me. You heard something, then you had it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that night was the dividing line between two worlds — the world in which I watched and listened to live music without worrying whether I’d see or hear it again, and the world I live in now, wherein I consciously ask myself whether I’m seeing/hearing this concert for the first time or for the last time. I process performances differently if it’s the latter. I try to be more present.
I hadn’t heard Karen O’s “The Moon Song” until news broke that it’d been nominated for a best original song Oscar. I don’t usually get worked up about the Oscars’ music categories, aside from being a bit peeved about Jonny Greenwood getting screwed out of a best original score Oscar back in 2008, so I’m not sure why I was so eager to give “The Moon Song” a listen. But eager I was, and I wasn’t disappointed. What a wonderfully articulated song. It’s small, like a kind gesture or a moment of contentment, yet I don’t doubt that its emotional impact could be huge (can’t really judge that part until I see Her).
As much as I’m enjoying the song, though, I absolutely love this Rolling Stone article on Karen O’s reaction to her nomination. I’d like to take a quick moment to point out my two favorite parts: