Friday News and Notes

Friday1

Another new feature for 2016! I always end up with posts I didn’t manage to finish throughout the week, so I’m going to make a list each Friday of stuff worth hearing/seeing/looking out for. Really hoping I can keep up with this one. We’ll see.

  • Landlady posted to their Facebook account about Adia Victoria, who has a debut album coming out later this spring. The first song to hit the interweb is “Dead Eyes,” and I’m digging it. Especially this morning, thanks to Baby YHT’s pre-dawn wake-up. Because why not loudly list the names of all your daycare friends at 5 a.m.? Really, it’s the best time for that.
  • I found a really neat Jimmie Rodgers album this week — The Unheard Jimmie Rodgers Vol. II. A bunch of unused cuts from country’s first superstar. Remember the scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou? where the Soggy Bottom Boys sing “In The Jailhouse Now”? A version of that is on there, along with a bunch of songs about how he’s the saddest person on planet Earth. Sample lyric: “I’m lonely and blue/I’m downhearted too.” Yeesh. Great stuff though!
  • Doug Nunnally of Sound Gaze alerted me to a fantastic version of Miguel’s “waves” that turns the song into a duet with Kacey Musgraves. It’s perfectly assembled, and fits in a really interesting place between a remix and a cover. Well worth a listen. Shouts to Mrs. YHT for finding the best comment on the video: “Kacey is LOVE, Kacey is LIFE. #country”
  • A big YHT high five to Lucy Dacus for her Pitchfork review today. So excited. Here are my thoughts about the album, in case you missed Wednesday’s post.
  • Some great shows going on this weekend. Clair Morgan’s Good Day RVA video release at Hardywood and Wood Brothers at the Broadberry tonight, Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins, and Anaïs Mitchell at the Modlin Center tomorrow night, and Son Little at Strange Matter on Sunday. That Patty Griffin one is sold out, so I guess I’m just bragging at this point. Really psyched about it.
  • There’s also the Chris King DJ set happening at Steady Sounds on Sunday. They’re celebrating the release of Why The Mountains Are Black: Primeval Greek Village Music (1907-1960), and King will be spinning original copies of tracks he included on the album. A genuinely unique opportunity. Shouldn’t be missed.

That’s all for now — happy Friday, y’all!

Clair Morgan

Clair Morgan

Very excited that my River City Magazine interview with Clair Morgan is up — click here to check it out at Richmond Navigator’s site. Or you can grab a print copy on newsstands now. My favorite is the red stand outside the Byrd Theatre, but there are a bunch of other places you can go. Here’s a full list.

I mentioned this on Instagram last night, but what a privilege this was to work on. These are some of the most talented and friendly musicians you will ever meet, and they took the time to chat about all sorts of fun stuff, including their upcoming album, New Lions & the Not-Good Night, which I’m 100% certain is going to blow minds and win hearts. Morgan won mine in our interview with how much forethought and emotional investment went into the album’s overarching narrative. Check out this snippet from the article:

While the music is light at times, heavier themes lend balance to “New Lions.” “When you think about an adventure you took as a child,” Morgan said, “when you’re looking through that lens, that really happened. But now you’re looking through a completely different lens, whether you’re an adult or a father, and you look back at that scenario from a completely different perspective. What did you not soak in that actually happened that you were not able to absorb?”

Mind already blown. Click here to read the rest, and don’t miss their show at the Camel tonight — they’ll be closing the book on their previous album cycle by playing No Notes in full. Here’s one of that album’s standout tracks, “Battleship Heart.”

Clair Morgan — “Battleship Heart” [Spotify/iTunes]

Clair Morgan

Clair Morgan

Some bands you find out about right when they’re getting started. Cavern Club regulars — I’m looking (with immeasurable jealousy) at you. Other bands you fall for after they’ve stopped making music, and looking back is all you have. For all the bands that fall in between, one of the most interesting moments is when you find out, for the first time since you’ve started listening, that a new album is coming out — it’s when your fandom jumps out of the past and into the present. I’m so excited to be living in that magical, blue-sky moment with Clair Morgan.

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Clair Morgan

Clair Morgan

Music is full of little miracles that are easy to overlook. One of the most fundamental is the fractured nature of performing as part of a band.

When you’re at your favorite venue, hearing familiar songs come out of a few, huge speakers, it’s easy to process it all as one thing, and to forget that the parts of that whole are the result of individual human beings putting into motion an unfathomable number of neural pathways and muscle groups in just the right order, at just the right time. It’s what makes being in a band so frustrating and so rewarding. When you get up on stage to perform with other people, you’re on a tightrope together, and the gravitational pull of chaos never abates. The universe does not want to be as ordered as you’re forcing it to be when you play a song.

After spending a few days thinking about why I so enjoyed seeing Clair Morgan at Strange Matter on Friday night, I’ve decided it has something to do with the remarkable way they walked that tightrope, and the daring way the band’s frontman and namesake (“Clair Morgan is and is not a band,” as the t-shirt I bought at the show explains) courts chaos, making the walk all the more thrilling.

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