I know mine isn’t and shouldn’t be the most valued opinion on the matter, but I really like the Indigenous Peoples’ Day idea — the suggestion that we’d acknowledge the fact that Columbus was more than a little monstrous by replacing his holiday with one that celebrates the people he did monstrous things to. (The same people America has done monstrous things to, not-so-incidentally.)
I was a day late, but yesterday afternoon, while I was working from home, I decided to spend the afternoon listening to all six sides of Native North America, Vol. 1: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, the stunning compilation Light in the Attic Records released in 2014.
I didn’t know a thing about the artists on the album when I bought it. Frankly I don’t know what made me get it — I know I knocked off some of the sticker price by trading in some super weird Goodwill finds at Steady Sounds, but I didn’t do a ton of research beforehand. But it seemed important. And bigger than its physical size, somehow, like the reverse of that hallway in Willy Wonka that gets smaller and smaller as you walk down it.
And it really is a stunning artifact. The 12×12 book that accompanies the three discs offers a wealth of information, and the music on those discs ranges from familiar to remote, professional to amateur, trippy to tribal. But all of it sounds intensely intentional. Heartfelt. And, yes, important.
I still have a lot to learn about the people featured in Native North America, Vol. 1, and I’m planning to make it a regular part of the second Monday in October, regardless of what that day ends up being called.
Willy Mitchell — “Kill’n Your Mind” [Spotify/iTunes]
Late-breaking Friday News and Notes!
- Happy reissue day to Lucy Dacus, and happy release day to The Head and the Heart! Also to Wilco, though I grabbed a copy of Schmilco at BK Music’s listening party on Tuesday. It’s excellent. It sounded more understated and mellow when I was listening at BK, but listening at home was a whole other story. Very tense, like bottled up emotions slipping out a little at a time, with more fun weirdness and ornamentation than I heard at first.
- Speaking of BK, while I was there on Tuesday, I flipped through their amazing new bluegrass/country section and found a copy of Tony Rice’s Manzanita. I’ve been looking for his stuff since I learned that the cover of Daniel Bachman’s Miscellaneous Ephemera and Other Bullshit album was an homage to one of Rice’s. Is Manzanita a good Rice starting point? They had a couple of others, but I kept seeing Manzanita described as a landmark/watershed album when I looked it up, so it seemed like a good bet.
- Enjoying Amanda Shires’ new album — check out the First Listen over at NPR.
- Another First Listen worth a… listen… Blake Mills produced Dawes’ new album. I’ve only heard a few songs, but they’re wildly interesting so far. Mills is a brilliant dude.
- Insane run of shows coming up. Car Seat Headrest at the National on Monday, The Lumineers at RIR on Friday, then The Mountain Goats at the National the Monday after. There’s even a Willie Nelson show somewhere in the middle, though that one’s sold out. Someone please hold me to this promise: I will see him next time he comes to town.
When I posted the Preservation Hall Jazz Band doing “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It,” it was more or less arbitrary. I couldn’t remember which songs I heard when we were there (aside from “Christmastime Is Here”), and I’m not even sure if the musicians we saw were part of the Band proper, so I picked something from Soundcloud at random. Then again, I love the song’s title, so maybe it wasn’t entirely random.
That title jumped out at me again this morning when I was looking through the tracks on this Two Men with the Blues album my mom got me a while back. Happy to have an excuse to put this in the car. It’s a feel-good album, Willie showing his knack for jazz and Wynton adding easygoing gravitas.
Speaking of titles, I’m glad they didn’t call it WWIII.
Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis — “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” [Spotify/iTunes]
I’ve been spending an inordinate amount with Willie Nelson lately, mostly because of basketball.
I enlisted Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger album when Duke lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament and I threw myself a tournament disappointment pity party back in March. Next, after scoring a pair of his records — Stardust and Willie Nelson and Family Live — at Goodwill a month or two ago, I started watching San Antonio Spurs playoff games on mute with his music as accompaniment, hoping that Nelson’s Texanity would help Tim Duncan and company keep up their winning ways. (It’s been going pretty well — the Spurs are tied 1-1 with the Heat in the Finals.) Then NPR had to go and post a First Listen of Nelson’s first album of new material in almost two decades, Band of Brothers.
Does Willie Nelson even like basketball? I have no idea. What I do know is that all this time with my redheaded brother from another mother has left me with a few, mostly unrelated impressions that I’d like to share in bulleted form:
If you’re a YHT regular, you might have spent some small portion of the last few weeks asking yourself “Hey, why hasn’t he said anything about March Madness? He loves the tournament…” You’d be right! Last year I did a two–part “Tournament Album Coverage” post, and the year before that I celebrated a VCU win by creating a crude mashup of six “Black And Yellow” remixes playing simultaneously. (It still makes me cringe, then laugh, then cringe some more. There’s treble, there’s too much treble, and then there’s my “Black And Yellow” mashup.)
It’s not that I haven’t been watching. On the contrary — I got to binge-watch on the first Friday of the tournament — aka Basketball Christmas — and like last year I listened to records the whole time, but it wasn’t quite as upbeat this time around. My billion-dollar bracket was knocked out of contention by the very first game on Thursday, then Duke was upset by 14-seed Mercer in the very first game on Friday afternoon, killing my personal rooting interest and taking my bracket out of contention in my family’s pool (I had Duke losing in the final game). Just like that, my hopes were dashed, and the weekend hadn’t even started yet. I wondered whether I’d feel like watching at all on Friday evening.
Then I came up with a plan.
Instead of letting my disappointments ruin Basketball Christmas, I decided to put my vinyl collection to good use by throwing myself the most comically depressing pity party I could muster while rooting for every favored seed — no matter how far my bracket had them going — to lose. It was way more fun than it should have been.
Here are the covers to prove it: