This past Sunday, while a stream of soft, late-morning light was tumbling through the living room window I’d left open overnight, I awoke on the couch, sat up (sort of) and snapped the above photograph. It is as much an illustration of how not to treat your records as it is a testament to how much fun the previous day — Record Store Day — had been.
I’d planned on writing a preview post on Friday but got distracted by and thoroughly wrapped up in Boston manhunt coverage, deciding ultimately that a blog post about which limited-run records I was hoping to get my hands on would seem incredibly trivial next to the day’s headlines. Instead, with Dzhokar Tsarnaev safely in custody and that boat somehow — miraculously, I think — not in a million pieces, I’d like to roll out my Record Store Day highlights through a series of open letters. I’m not sure how many there will be, but I do know where I want to start: with the kind folks who joined Bandmate 4eva Doug and me in lining up outside BK Music early Saturday morning.
So the Grammys were this weekend…
I know, I know.
A sizable percentage of you are probably groaning, closing this tab of your browser and saying something like, “Ugh, I can’t stand hearing about those self-congratulating millionaires and the mass-marketed, radio-friendly, auto-tuned crap they give each other awards for making.” Maybe a few of you even added air quotes when you said “making” to drive the point home. Would have been a nice touch.
As much as I enjoy and care about the Grammys, I can’t blame people for detecting, and reacting to, a degree of fakeness. Sunday’s broadcast certainly had its share of artifice, with a Maroon 5/Alicia Keys duet that perfectly embodied pop music’s insider culture and a Bob Marley tribute that hit so far off the mark it seemed genuinely bizarre. (Speaking of which, I made a note a little while ago to write a post about how Bruno Mars might not be human. He’s too good. His voice, stage presence and skin are all unreasonably perfect, and he has this general aura of unreality about him. I’m starting to think that birthers have been rooting around for the wrong Hawaii birth certificate…)
But here’s the thing. There are real people at the Grammys, too. Actual human beings who buy garlic and orange juice at the grocery store and make music that finds success on its own terms. I thought I’d use today’s post to tell you about one of those people, someone whose appearance on the TV screen during Sunday’s ceremony made me cheer out loud as reflexively as I would have if someone had told me that Chris Brown was stuck in an airport somewhere and wouldn’t be available for reaction shots. That someone is Bryn Davies.
[Update: Abby is our winner! Thanks for commenting so quickly, and enjoy your Daytrotter membership!]
It’s that time again! Daytrotter is giving a limited-edition split 12-inch to people who buy gift memberships and, as was the case with the Civil Wars/Lumineers split release a few months back, I want. that. record.
Having to leave a vacation sucks. My uncle is heading out tomorrow morning, a day earlier than the rest of the crowd, and he asked me to make him a mix CD for the road.
As Mr. Burns might say with an ominous grin, “Eeeexcellent.”
Concert Catch-Up Week, Day 2: Justin Townes Earle
(click here if you missed Day 1: Todd Snider)
Fiona Apple said something in her recent interview with The New York Times that immediately jumped off the page at me. Just kidding, I wasn’t reading on an actual “page,” I was reading on my iPad. What, do you think I hate nature or something? Of live performances, she said…
“I would rather watch somebody actually going through something.”
Her words jumped off the ‘Pad (See? Just doesn’t have the same ring to it…) for a very specific reason — they immediately made think of Justin Townes Earle. May 22’s fantastic installment in the Groovin’ in the Garden concert series at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was my fourth time seeing Earle perform, and a common source of amazement I’ve found in each of these experiences is the substantive nature of the connection he forms with the audience.
Filed under #features, #live
Concert Catch-Up Week, Day 1: Todd Snider
I have a confession to make. Promise you won’t be mad if I tell you? Pinkie swear? OK, here goes… I’ve been holding out on you. I’ve been to some amazing concerts — 3, to be exact — that I’ve yet to tell you about. Uh oh, you look furious. C’mon, you said you wouldn’t be ma… oh, you just have to sneeze? Gesundheit!
To fix this grave injustice, I’m declaring a Concert Catch-Up Week. Over the next
5 days week or so, I’ll be offering quick recaps of the wonders these eyes have beheld in the last few weeks, starting with Todd Snider — the second of two acts that opened up for Justin Townes Earle on May 22 at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. With all due respect to Jeff Tweedy, whose cantankerous-cuddly routine made his show at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville a few years back one of the best and funniest shows I’ve ever seen, Snider’s set was fucking hysterical.
Filed under #features, #live
My friend Giselle and I like to argue about who told who about Justin Townes Earle (you’d think we’re both claiming to have told the other, but it’s the opposite … weird, eh?). I DO know the first time I saw him live, he opened for Old Crow Medicine Show, and he made a hell of a first impression. It’s a few years later, and I listen to his music nearly every day. I saw him at the Camel this past Friday, and he was outstanding as usual. He’s the consummate performer – tells stories, sings with raw emotion, and he occasionally slows his songs down live, which has a deeply haunting effect. Here’s a slow, contemplative, soulful performance of “Midnight at the Movies” from his album of the same name.