Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pearl Jam “Glorified G”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

Is it my fault that Eddie Vedder could be a bit mumbly? Or do you still think that this track from their monstrously popular album “Vs.” contains the line:

“Glorified version of a Pelican!”

You know, I went to a Catholic Middle School, and our basketball team was the Immaculate Conception Pelicans, so pelicans are near and dear to my heart, but even so, they are kind of a goofy animal.

So why would someone, or something, be a glorified version of a pelican? How could someone, or something, have their embellishment stripped away, only to be revealed to be a common pelican?

I pondered this question for years.

Then I figured out the title. “Glorified G.”

G, as in “Gangster,” of the street lingo the kids these days (these days being 1993, when this album came out) use.

What does a “G” carry? Well, a pelican would certainly be garish, in a 70s Pimp/Blaxploitation style, but no, a “G” carries a gun.

“Glorified version of a Pellet Gun!”
Makes much more sense. But is less hilarious.

Hear the whole original song and see the band perform it live, here

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vic Chesnutt “Flirted With You All My Life”

Of the many musical passings that I’ve heard about over the years, for one reason or another, the ones that have struck me the most have been the ones I heard on the radio in the car.

Certainly, since about a third of my life is spent inside the walls of a radio station, my memories of getting the news of this person or that person dying, are closely tied to radio.

But the couple I really remember, have been in the car.

I was with my Mom and my sister Julie, coming home from Logan Airport after a trip to Disney World, when I learned about Stevie Ray Vaughn’s death. Hearing his music that day was really the beginning of my understanding of how important his guitar playing was.

I got the news of Bob Stinson death (who was the guitarist for my favorite band, the Replacements), as I was pulling away from the radio station that I worked at in Virginia, at midnight, just after my shift. I actually ran back inside from the parking lot, to confirm what I had heard on the ABC Newsbrief.

Is it something about the safety, the womb-ness of a car that makes radio news so indelible? I’m not sure. I just seems to be, for me.

This past weekend, on the radio, I got the news about Vic Chesnutt.

I was down in Newport, spending a couple of post-Holiday days with family, and I had been dispatched to the grocery store, to make sure we had breakfast food for the following morning. After several days of caroling to and fro, visiting all our relatives, engulfed in the madness of the season, this was the first moment of peace I’d had in a while. I was in the car, by myself, alone on the wet streets of Newport, in the post-Christmas quiet.

I was flipping the dial as I drove. I like to check out the local public radio stations whenever I’m on the road.

“We’re starting out the show with some sad news,” the announcer said.

They didn’t have a lot of information, only that he had been in a coma for a short time, and had died, due to an overdose. Intentional or not? They weren’t sure.

I wrote a little about Vic in an earlier post. Knowing that he had struggled with depression his whole life, I guess it’s not a shock that he left us this way.

But despite his physical and mental troubles, he was incredibly prolific. He’d put out two records just this Fall.

And strangely, one of those records had a song called “Flirted With You All My Life,” which he had called his break-up song with suicide. He sang like he was ready to start living.

There are many tributes and obits out there worth reading, if you’re not familiar with the man, his songs or his story, but this one has a wonderful Vic quote. And Vic Chesnutt was a highly quotable man. Check out his lyrics, but I’m glad he left me with this thought about his career, which I think can apply to all of us who live a creative life:

“I thought I had a calling. Anyway I just kept dialing.”

See him perform the song in concert, here

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dala “Levi Blues”

Starting in the early Fall, record labels release albums from Big Name artists. Marquee names. Hoping to get the word out, so you’ll buy the record for Christmas.

By early November, they are releasing music from Brand Names---artists SO BIG, you don’t even need to hear the music, to consider buying it. Boxed Sets, Greatest Hits, Christmas albums and such.

Once December hits, the labels go into hibernation. With all the Holiday Hoo-hah, they realize that trying to get a new record started would just get lost in the shuffle.

So no new releases come out at this time.

But the radio station beast still needs to be fed. Songs we added weeks and months ago are burning out, and we want to replace them with fresh material.

I really enjoy this time of year, because it gives us a chance to reconsider records that we missed earlier in the year.

We met Dala at Newport this summer, and fell in love. They are charming, sweet, and super-strong in their singing. But we never added the record. It’s a little on the poppy side of mvyradio.

But in the light of no new releases, we are able to listen again, and be won over by these young Canadians.

Check out a sample of "Levi Blues."

Hear the girls live at Folk Festival 50 and in an interview from that day with Barbara Dacey.

See the video, here

Monday, December 28, 2009

Magnapop “Open The Door”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

In my pre-mvyradio days, I hosted a Modern Rock specialty show on a great little independent radio station in Virginia.

I’d end each December with a big Friday night show, counting down the top Alternative songs of the year. And in that countdown, I had a few sub-categories and awards, including handing out what I called “The Magnapop Award.”

Music History is rife with stories of great bands that made great records, that no one heard, due to Record Label injustices. Some of my favorite artists are famous because of records that didn’t get released, or got released but didn’t get supported by the label. Big Star, Bettye Lavette, Delbert McClinton and Wilco all have stories to tell.

But I started the award after hearing about Magnapop.

They had enjoyed breakthrough success in the Modern Rock world in the mid-nineties, with the release of “Hot Boxing.” They had recording/producing support from Michael Stipe, and Bob Mould. They were opening for The Lemonheads and R.E.M.

The acclaim for their next record, “Rubbing Doesn’t Help,” was hugely positive, when they had the rug pulled out. Shortly after the release of the record, their label, Priority Records went out of business. With no label behind the record, it didn’t get distributed to stores properly (in the pre-MP3 age, if it wasn’t in your local record store, you couldn’t buy it), and it didn’t get proper support at radio.

But the real kick in the ass was this: due to the kind of contract only a Record Label could write, the band was contractually prevented from using the name Magnapop for 7 years.

Yes, the Label couldn’t provide for them, but wouldn’t let them provide for themselves.

Magnapop is still out there, making dynamic music, but it’s hard not to feel like the wind was taken out of their sails (and sales) at a crucial moment.

So every year, I would give “The Magnapop Award” to a band that had been screwed by their label, and deserved better. Go back and check out “Rubbing Doesn’t Help”

See the video, here

Friday, December 25, 2009

William Burroughs “A Junky’s Christmas”

5 Great Christmas Tunes That Aren’t Really In The Christmas Spirit

I have a couple of musical Christmas traditions that I like to enjoy alone.

One springs from my childhood, when I used to listen to WBCN in Boston. On Christmas Eve, Oedipus, the Program Director, would send the staff home, and do the evening and overnight programming by himself.

When I became the Program Director at mvy, I made that my tradition too. I’m the only voice you hear on mvy, as Christmas Eve becomes Christmas Morn.

The other thing I like to do, is listen to a short story. It’s not for everyone, but actually, of all this week’s posts, it is the song that is most in the holiday spirit.

It’s writer William Burroughs, reading his story story “A Junkie’s Christmas” with music by Michael Franti’s early band The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy.

It’s Burroughs’ story of Danny The Car Wipe, his search for drugs on Christmas, and the Christmas Miracle that befalls him, due to his generosity.

And while a junky’s search for drugs isn’t exactly wholesome, the moral of the story actually makes this tune, the most traditionally Christmas spirited, of all song entries this week.

See a video version
, that doesn’t have the music, but does have Burroughs himself, plus an animated telling of the story.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jimmy Kimmel and Norah Jones "You Tube's 12 Days Of Christmas"

5 Great Christmas Tunes That Aren’t Really In The Christmas Spirit

Norah Jones was recently nominated for a Grammy for her duet with Willie Nelson, for the Christmas cover of "Oh Baby It's Cold Outside." No doubt, it made the Grammy cut, because it is a timeless cover of a timeless classic.

In fact, much of what Norah Jones does is timeless. Her songs often really sound like they could have been released any time between 1920 and 2011.

Maybe that's part of what makes her inclusion in this Jimmy Kimmel bit so funny. It is absolutely the least timeless piece of music Norah Jones has ever recorded.

When digital archeologists uncover the remains of 2009, and they find this clip, they will no doubt say "How quaint! The humans of 2009 viewed their viral videos through what they called a 'web site,' instead of their ocular-implanted microscreens! This 'YouTube' must've seemed very amazing to their puny 2009 brains."

It's unwieldy to sing this year, or any year in the future. But it should make you laugh today.

See the video, here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones “Xmastime (It Sure Don’t Feel Like)”

5 Great Christmas Tunes That Aren’t Really In The Christmas Spirit

One of the things we all love about music, is in the discovery. By discovering a great track, we feel like we own it somehow.

If it’s really a great track, then it might get popular, and sometimes it becomes less ours. Didn’t you always hate it, as a kid, when EVERYBODY starting liking the band that you liked first?

But certain songs will always allow you to retain ownership over it. Like “Dirty Water.” It doesn’t matter who loves that song, it’s always ours, because it’s about Boston.

And that’s how I feel about the Bosstones’ cover of “Xmastime.” Even though it’s a pretty bleak portrait of Christmas in the City, it’s OUR city. As cold as the song gets, I still have a warm place in my heart for its mentions of the college kids heading home, of Kenmore Square and Filene’s Basement.

Hear the whole song, here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

De La Soul “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”

5 Great Christmas Tunes That Aren’t Really In The Christmas Spirit

This song just has so many things going against it.

No one---absolutely no one---wants to hear a song about child molestation.

Sure, you can get tricked into it, with a catchy song featuring an interestingly named child (yes, I’m talking about “Luka”). But you’re not going out of your way to hear it.

Nor does anybody appreciate a holiday tune where someone gets violent with Santa. It’s just not in the Christmas spirit.

Just the title is going to make folks pass over this one: “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”

But if you can get past all that, this is a masterfully told narrative, telling the story of Millie’s abuse at the hands of her Foster parent, recounted through the eyes of the classmates who had been dismissive of her accusations.

One of the things rap music can do much easier that some other forms of music, is incorporate other voices, to give a story multiple narrators, and paint a more vivid, nuanced landscape. (You wish it were a device more often, and more effectively, employed)

Another one not for the kids, but not to be missed (just maybe save it for after the Holidays).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spongebob Squarepants “Don’t Be A Jerk On Christmas”

5 Great Christmas Tunes That Aren’t Really In The Christmas Spirit . . .

I suppose what makes something a perfect tune for Christmas, is if it makes you feel good while decorating the tree. Does it add to the ambiance of opening presents? Does it make everyone want to sing along?

That’s a great song FOR Christmas, but what about a fully enjoyable song about Christmas that doesn’t fit that bill? What if listening to it depressed everyone? Or annoyed them? What if it didn’t really lend itself to singing along? Then it will wind up here on a list of Great Christmas Tunes That Aren't Really In The Christmas Spirit.

There’s an episode of the TV Show “30 Rock” where Kenneth has just seen Cable TV for the first time, and asks Jack:

“Is Spongebob supposed to be terrifying?”

The answer is Yes.

Here is a terrifying Christmas tune that you would prefer your kids did not sing over and over from the back seat.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Free Dar Williams, Stephen Kellogg, Brett Dennen and more


We were headed into Baltimore's Camden Yards to see the Red Sox versus the Orioles.

Screaming at the top of his lungs, was a guy with a table full of Major League Baseball caps.


My buddy Tom said, "Hold up, I'll get something for the kid."

"Give me a hat. How much?"


The real story: He had a couple hats for $5, most were $12.


Is it "Free?" Well, they want your email address, so they can put you on their mailing list. But the mailing lists are for the bands listed. So if you like the bands, you probably wouldn't mind some info on them from time to time, right?

Disclaimer: This offer is from Vanguard Records, a great independent label, dedicated to REAL artists. This offer comes from them, not me or mvyradio. If you don't like what the songs are, or what else comes in your mailbox, I can't help you. End of my Holiday Disclaimer Of Joy.

Enjoy the free-ish-ness!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Lonely Island “I’m On A Boat”

(As evidenced by my Monday post) My Rap Music knowledge is pretty well stuck back in the late 80s and early 90s.

At some point I just lost touch with the scene. Or lost interest.

Or it lost interest in me, is actually what I thought. I knew that rappers were not writing their songs for white, middle class 40-somethings. So I haven’t really been qualified to assess the Rap music scene.

And for that reason, I would dismiss the dismissive comments about Rap music, that I often hear from mvyradio listeners. People on the request line, and in emails to the station, will express their strong distaste for Hip-Hop. But they aren’t supposed to be the audience for Hip-Hop, so their judgement seems too subjective.

But what to do with information that is not subjective, that supports the claim that Rap music is completely devoid of musical value? That a once-creative, urgent, necessary, dynamic art form, had devolved into a crass, commercialized parody of itself?

How else do you explain the Lonely Island Grammy Nomination? And no, not for the Comedy category.

Lonely Island is a comedy troupe from New York, who’s members famously got absorbed by Saturday Night Live. A couple of members are SNL writers, and member Andy Samberg is a part of the cast. They are the team responsible for the Digital Shorts that have appeared on the program for the last couple of years. You may remember them from such classics as “Dick In A Box,” “Lazy Sunday” and “Jizz In My Pants.”

And now you can remember them as the 3 comedians (plus T-Pain) who are nominated in the “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” next to Beyonce, Kanye West, Keri Hilson, Ne-Yo, Jay-Z, Rihanna, T.I. and Justin Timberlake.

Is this the state of Rap music? That a song, made explicitly so they could shoot a video that mocks the stupid, crass commercialism and conspicuous consumption of Rap music videos and lyrics, is actually held up as one of the best of the year.

How could an outsider not laugh with this video, and then laugh at what the genre holds in high regard?

Of course, now you have to see the video.

And you can hear clips of all the Grammy nominees in this category. See if you can spot which one is the joke.

Buy the intentionally funny album, here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bonnie Raitt “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

It’s pretty likely that if you have a relationship with this song, it’s because you went through a break-up, and you listened to it, over and over. And you go through the break-up again. Because the words really do ring true.

And yes, this song DOES remind me of an old girlfriend. But not OUR break-up.

When I graduated college, my at-the-time girlfriend and I decided we’d had enough of New England winters, so we packed up and headed to Florida. We were, as recent post-grads are, dead broke, but we had the invite to live with her sister, who was just a couple years older than we were.

While the three of us were living together, the sister went through a very, very sad break-up. I truly did feel bad for her.

But, Man, did she love that “Luck Of The Draw” Bonnie Raitt CD. And we heard “I Can’t Make You Love Me” over and over again.

And every time I hear it on mvyradio, I think of my at-the-time girlfriend. And I go through the break-up again. Just not our break-up.

Go through it with me, one more time!

See and hear the full song, done live with Bruce Hornsby, here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

W.P.A. "Rise Up"

Guest blogger . . .

mvyradio gave away tickets last week to see W.P.A. at the famous Exit/In of Nashville. Libby, who's a Friend of mvyradio, won the tickets, and had this to report from the show:

WPA offered a fabulous show tonight. It is wonderful to see five musicians who are each incredibly talented come together to highlight their gifts. They alternate between the songs each has written or love, and they pour their souls into their interpretation. The respect they have for each other and the fun they have performing together combine to make an excellent performance. Their songs range from fun to sad to bittersweet. Thanks so much to MVY for allowing me the chance to hear them.

WPA gave a diverse performance. The high caliber musicians were reminiscent of bands like the Thorns. I liked the raw emotion contained in many of the songs. A great show.

Hear "Rise Up" and see them do it live here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

3rd Bass “Pop Goes The Weasel”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

When you become a parent, you first find that there’s nothing like experiencing the joy of Christmas, through the eyes of a child. The wonder, the excitement, the magic.

However, shortly after becoming a parent, you realize that there is no magic, only Allen Wrenches.

It’s now become as traditional as watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” for my wife and I to be up late, on the nights leading up to Christmas, spread out on the living room floor trying to assemble some kind of Christmas present, sniping about who’s “doing it wrong.”

“That piece doesn’t fit there.” “You’ve got it upside-down.” “Did you read the f***ing directions!?!?”

I’m not a particularly handy husband, and my wife doesn’t have a lot of patience for manuals. When it comes to being Christmas Elves, we’re not a great team.

But in so many other ways, we ARE perfect match. Even when we are getting on each other’s nerves.

My wife, the artist, picked out a beautiful easel, as a gift for our daughter, to encourage the little artist inside our two-year old.

As we sat on the floor---my wife unscrewing Steps 4 through 6, because I’d skipped Step 3 and we had an extra piece floating around, me trying to separate two parts of a plastic bin that she’d jammed together---I started singing.

“Pop-pop goes the Easel, the Easel. Pop-pop goes the Easel, the Easel. Pop-pop goes the Easel, the Easel. Pop goes the Easel goes the Easel goes POP!”

I got the reaction I expected “Oh Gawd, you’re so annoying!”

But she laughed. And I laughed.

Tis the season to be jolly.

Don’t remember the 3rd Base song? Hear a sample:

And check out the old video, featuring Henry Rollins as Vanilla Ice!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tori Amos “Snow Angel"

People have lots of strong opinions about what call this time of year.

While many Americans celebrate Christmas, many Americans do not. So we went from saying “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.”

Then there was a backlash, where people insisted that this was an assault on Christmas, so you’d better not wish your customers a “Happy Holiday” without facing the wrath of folks who don’t just celebrate a general Holyday. It’s specific, for X’s sake!

Hey, did you know that “X” in Greek is the letter “Chi” or “Christ”? Oh those Greeks, they wouldn’t be trying to diminish the holiday if they were Christians (oh wait, 97% of Greeks are).

Adding another layer to the debate? Tori Amos, who wants you to know that her new record is not a Christmas album. Don't call it a Christmas album!

And it’s not a Holiday album.

It’s a Seasonal album.

Try this, next time you bump into acquaintances of indeterminate religious-affiliation: “If we don’t see you before the end of December, Happy Seasons to you!”

Trips right off the tongue, No?

All kidding aside, Tori Amos is giving a free, streamed concert today, to promote her new “Midwinter Graces.” You can check it out, at

She’s also giving away a track for free at Amazon. Get your own copy of “Snow Angel.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009

David Gray “Stella The Artist”

Should mvyradio be playing this song . . . or that song?

Picking a single that is really going to pull people’s attention to an album is not an exact science. But it is certainly an art.

Take the new David Gray, for example. Word had been, for several weeks, that the follow-up to “Fugitive” was going to be the beautiful duet with Annie Lennox, “Full Steam.” Their voices soar, and the arrangement is interesting. It seemed like a challenging, but satisfying choice.

At the 11th hour, the label changed his mind. I asked my friend Sean Coakley, an independent record promoter, why Downtown Records had switched to “Stella The Artist.”

Sean said, “Hopefully, because I convinced them to.”

His point was that the song was interesting. Striking even. But it wouldn’t stand up to multiple listens.

I always make the knock-knock joke analogy, in these situations. You may laugh your ass off the first time you hear a knock-knock joke. But is it still funny the 5th time you hear it. Is it funny after 6 months of hearing it regularly?

Other songs are like pizza. I could eat a slice every day, and never get sick of it. My attention turning to different flavors each time I bite in.

Ultimately, Sean felt, “Full Steam” just wouldn’t have a long life, as a radio single. The novelty of the duet would wear thin, quickly, in his opinion. And a long life at radio, is what propels listeners to seek out the full album, and hear the other amazing tracks.

Was Sean right? Which one of these songs would you have added to rotation?

See the video, here

Buy "Draw The Line"

See this previous post, for details on how a song gets into rotation on mvyradio, then let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Luscious Jackson “Citysong”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

Every once and a while, a journalist or DJ from another part of the country, or another part of the world, will drop in on the radio station. They’re on Martha’s Vineyard, on vacation, and are interested in interviewing one of us about Local Radio/American radio, and about Martha’s Vineyard.

Of course, the Vineyard has a reputation for being a place where celebrities visit, vacation and/or live, so the questions inevitably turn to “Who have you met?”

Of course, they expect to hear BIG names (Oprah!?), or even Big Names (Meg Ryan?!).

In my decade out-and-about on Martha’s Vineyard, I’ve met or at least passed on the street, familiar folks like Ted Danson and Mary Steenbergen, Mike Wallace and Walter Cronkite, Spike Lee and Larry David.

But not every famous person that comes to the Island is a household name, and I’ve had more than a few “Hey I know that guy” moments as well, bumping into Paul Benedict (Mr. Bentley on “The Jeffersons”), Jere Burns (Kirk from “Dear John”), CC Pounder (“The Shield”) and loads of others.

A few years back, on a quiet, sunny, shoulder-season day, I was walking to the bookstore on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, when I passed this couple, walking in the opposite direction, pushing a baby stroller.

I locked eyes with the woman for a moment, and I had this flash of recognition. Did I go to High School with you or something? And she glanced back, with a look that seemed to indicate that she didn’t necessarily know me, but she knew she’d been recognized.

I got about 30 steps past them, and “Citysong” popped into my head.

I don’t know for sure that the woman was Jill Cunniff of Luscious Jackson. I didn’t go back to ask---that’s an MV faux pas. But the “City” that I think about when I hear this song, isn’t New York any more.

See an interview with the band, and the music video for ”Citysong”, plus if you didn't recognized the actors mentioned above, see them too!

Buy the album, ”Natural Ingredients”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Rey Fresco "Precious Time"

There are rock and roll viola players. Rock and roll flute players. Rock and roll xylophone players.

But I've never seen a Rock And Roll harp player until Rey Fresco.

Bass, Drums, Guitar and Harp.

"Harp" as in the big, unwieldy string instrument (not "harp" as in a hip way to say harmonica).

Check out the track "Precious Time"

See them play live, and check out the cute home video of the band hearing their song on the radio.

Buy their album "The People"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Too Much Joy "Cereal Killers"

Art and Commerce certainly have an uneasy relationship. Art is all "Isn't what we have beautiful?" And Commerce goes "I would love to be able to eat and pay our mortgage. Can we sell beauty?"

The sad truth is that most Art and Commerce marriages end in divorce, with accusations and recriminations aplenty.

Art often plays the role of the victim (drama!), but just as often, Commerce lives up to its reputation as a big fat jerk.

If you've ever wondered how the music industry functions, or should I say dysfunctions (zing!), check out this post by the lead singer of the 90's band Too Much Joy, as he breaks down, figuratively and literally, his royalty statement from Warner Brothers. It's shocking, hilarious, and shocking.

Then, go buy some of their music, just to make things more complicated!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mike Doughty “You Should Be Doubly Gratified”

. . . and “From A Gas Station Outside Providence” . . .

What do you think of this one?

Are lyrics, poetry? Poetry, lyrics?

Mike Doughty has had success and recognition as a member of Soul Coughing, as a solo performer and as a poet. And it seems like his writing moves pretty fluidly between both worlds.

Check out his poem, with words and images that pop, called “From A Gas Station Outside Providence.”

Then check out his new solo song “You Should Be Doubly Gratified.”

What do you think of this track? Is it something mvy should be playing? See this previous post, for details on how a song gets into rotation on mvyradio, then let me know what you think.

Buy the album, "Poemfone" for a couple of Doughty verses, and/or buy his new solo album "Sad Man Happy Man"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tim Krekel “Casualties”

Hitting Random on the iTunes list . . .

“What does this song make me think about” is the game I play here, daily. And sometimes a really clear picture of a moment or idea pops into my head.

And other times, it’s like a pumpkin hitting the pavement. So many thoughts and emotions and ideas hit at once, in a bit of a jumble.

Today, it's the latter.

Tim Krekel died this year. Cancer. Quickly.

He’d found out that he was sick in March. By June 24th, he was gone.

On June 24th, my wife and I were in this room (I’m writing, on my laptop, at home), working on details for my sister’s impromptu wedding, scheduled for the 27th.

She had cancer. She was gone a month later. Cancer. Slowly.

Eight years she fought cancer. It kept coming back. She fought. Literally, Fought. Angrily.

Tim Krekel didn’t know he was sick when he wrote “Casualties,” for 2007’s “Soul Season.” It’s a song about lifting off the burdens of your troubles, despite the hardship of life.

Though he was a star in his hometown of Louisville, Krekel had never achieved the mainstream National success of the folks he worked with, including NRBQ, Jimmy Buffett (he plays on “Son Of Son Of A Sailor”) or even Kim Richey (with whom he co-wrote “Come Around”). But when he knew he was dying, he still was able to describe his as “a most wonderful life.”

Just 10 days before he was gone, he decided to get married, and, he got hitched in a private ceremony.

My sister did the same thing. When she knew her time was at the end, she and her long-time boyfriend got hitched in a private ceremony.

At that point, in June, she was weak enough that she had to be in a wheelchair. And within a couple of weeks, cancer in her brain took away her most of her ability to speak.

In the end, she could only conjure up a handful of words. They included “No,” but not “Yes.” And “Fuck.”

I met Tim Krekel once. Just once. So I’m placing a lot on him, as I think about the parallels and perpendiculars and particulars between him and my sister, and how they left.

My wife just looked across the room and asked “Are you still at it?” I’ve been working on this post for a couple of hours now.

I started with a jumble. I’ve touched on the things I wanted to think about. But I don’t know how I want to end here.

How to leave it. I guess that’s the question, isn’t it?

Hear a clip of "Casualties" plus a Buffett track Tim played on, and several clips of songs he co-wrote:

See The Tim Krekel Orchestra perform "Casualties" live and check him out on acoustic guitar, supporting Jimmy Buffett on Saturday Night Live, 1978.

Tim played guitar during one of the best, funniest, most personally memorable interviews I ever did, when I talked to Kami Lyle, in Louisville.

Buy "Soul Season".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Joe Bonamassa “Further On Up The Road”

Here is the sound of a man peaking in life.

A former child guitar prodigy (he’s been making records since about age 14), the 32-year old had a career culminating point during the filming of a new concert DVD, when Eric Clapton joined him on stage to trade licks. “Further On Up The Road” is supposedly the first song Joe Bonamassa learned to play on guitar. And it’s the tune that Clapton played with The Band, during The Last Waltz.

At the end of the song (it does get cut off in the YouTube sample) you'll hear Joe’s genuine enthusiasm, that that moment was “the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

See and hear the whole song, here

Buy the DVD “Live From The Royal Albert Hall” here.