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Showing posts from June, 2014

The Elk's Mighty Pull

Time once again emerges the winner in its perennial battle to change our hearts
and minds, ravaging (perhaps, that's too harsh a word) along parameters that
stretch from our youth to our deaths. What are these you ask? Only
the old man himself knows and he's not telling. Winter fades to spring on
the Elk River and the flood waters recede, streaming rivulets of mud and murk.

I pack again for the cabin trip, like every summer since my summers began, excited,
except for those few years in high school, when I fled from my parents, a
high-minded but foolish youth, escaping into books and records, with friends.
We surreptitiously visited the cabin on weekday nights, beers in hand, talk in mind.
I pack and pack some more -- the right records, the right books, the right attitude --
looking forward to seeing the Elk overrun its bed or settle back into its groove,
and anticipating the smell of the forest, the plants, the early summer. 

I make my annual lists and call around to set poss…

In The Beginning: The Drive-by Truckers and Adam's House Cat's Town Burned Down

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Adam's House Cat was the first band that featured Drive-By Truckers' mainstays, Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. Their first and only record, Town Burned Down, has never been officially released, even though it provides the blueprint for everything the two have done for the past thirty years. It is, perhaps, too lo-fi for those who like the more recent direction the Truckers have taken, post Jason Isbell and Shonna Tucker, and it surely harkens back to the pre-Southern Rock Opera era of the band.

I first heard their song, "Runaway Train," after downloading it on Ninebullets.net a few years ago and was hooked. I hope it someday gets an official release, but tracks have turned up on the internet and the Truckers have streamed it on their Facebook page. A few tracks can be found on YouTube, at least for now. Archive.org hosts an excellent live reunion show Live at Nuci's Space from December 1st, 2006 that captures the power and variety of AHC.

The band existed betwe…

Track This: Simone Felice's "Our Lady of the Gun"

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Simone Felice  has traveled a far different path on his solo records than his work in the Felice Brothers. While they added extra, electronic instrumentation after he left the band on Celebration, Florida, Simone has explored the vagaries and sound of 1970's folk singer-songwriter pop, channeling the likes of James Taylor and Randy Newman, yet writing striking and relevant modern songs. Both of his solo efforts are low key, literate affairs miles away from the rocking Americana of the Felice Brothers, but as memorable as their early efforts.

Felice has an ear for quiet melodies and poetic phrases -- worn vocal exercises mingle with catchy harmony vocals. "Our Lady of the Gun" from 2014's revelatory Strangers catches him at full strength, sounding like the understated, yet equally tragic, sister song to The Felice Brother's "Frankie's Gun!" The song is stark and melancholic, yet clear and well-defined. Felice sings, "there's a stranger in t…

Prognosis

The buzzing of far away tools run roughshod over my static mind
as the waxing of Lou Reed relates the modern state of "viciousness."
Another day in the intellectual rat race of love, shattered by
promises of work and relaxation, mugging for some far off camera
Will you be the true prospect, or clear delineation and demarkation,
of a confident future, nay past, clowning like a businessman?

The terminus of this period of stagnation ends in three bangs,
like celebrity deaths or folkloristic tropes or statistics -- the year
is clearly marked as 2014, the jigsaw puzzle of being bailed out
is consistently cut from my parent's best wishes.

The lines of a Catholic school girlhood are marked clearly on your face;
lines of my pagan youth mark mine like the aged face of a forgotten
prom queen. Tell me again of your hopes and dreams. No rest is all
that matters. We run. We fall. We continue on and on.

The fuzzy cat with a scepter knocks us down like pawns. The leaves
continually cha…