Friday News and Notes


Just two quick things:

  • As I write this bullet, it’s Thursday night, Mrs. YHT is sleeping next to me on the couch, and I’m listening to Songs of Love and Hate via headphones. It’s the first time something’s been spinning on the turntable since before the election. RIP Leonard Cohen. I know he said he was ready to die, but emotionally speaking, this is rain falling on saturated soil.
  • Very much looking forward to seeing the Truckers tonight. I admire American Band so profoundly. It’s more than an indictment. It’s that too, but it also points toward some greater level of understanding of this twisted situation we’re in. The Truckers have always treated the people in their songs like people — one reason Isbell’s writing fit so harmoniously in their repertoire — and regardless of how righteous the anger I’ve felt over the past few days may be, I’m going to need that kind of empathy to move forward from this week. We all will. Maybe tonight’s show will provide a head start.

That’s all I got, ya’ll. Have a great weekend. Be nice to people and hug the ones you love extra tight.

Ari Hest

So finally getting started on my year-end post(s) got me thinking about the top-10 albums list I did last year.

Looking back, I feel pretty good about everything I put on there, but my appreciation for one of those albums has changed dramatically since the end of 2011. It’s not that I’d drop Bon Iver’s self-titled effort, if given a do-over, it’s just that its legacy has shifted. I say that because, when I see the cover of Bon Iver now, I immediately start thinking about Bonnie Raitt, John Prine and Peter Gabriel.

It’s not as random as it sounds, I swear.

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Congrats, Leigh and Dan!

So guess where I was this weekend? If you said, “On your couch, watching hours of European soccer, NASCAR and playoff basketball, without exhibiting the slightest inkling of productivity,” you’d be DEAD WRONG, alright?

That was the weekend before.

I’m proud to say that this weekend, I was up in the fine state of New Jersey, providing the music for my cousin Leigh’s wedding ceremony with the dinged-up, pink-tape-sporting guitar amp pictured above. This was my second gig playing guitar at a wedding (the first was at my sister’s in Chicago a few years ago, in which instance you could technically say I opened for David Vandervelde), and I’m so happy Leigh and her newly-minted husband Dan asked me to be a part of their special day. One of the best parts was corresponding with Leigh beforehand about which songs I’d play and when in the ceremony I’d play them. Helping my cousin choose the soundtrack to one of life’s most meaningful events was an incredible honor.

The funny thing is, though Leigh and I exchanged messages about the playlist, brides actually miss out on like half of the tunes. Seems unfair, right? Some random second cousin’s +1 gets to hear everything, but the bride, fulfilling her role as the fashionably late piece in the processional puzzle, only gets to hear the second-to-last and last songs? An outrage! I thought I’d remedy this by recreating the experience for Leigh via some favorite cover versions of all 4 songs played, along with a link to a runner-up for each (sorry, YouTube has way too much cool stuff to choose just one), starting with the music that helped the guests get settled in their seats.

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