Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Watched 'em and I Always Knew

Artist: Bobby Bridger

Album: And I Wanted to Sing for the People

Song: "Hopalong Cassidy and Gabby Hayes"

I had questions during the recent media coverage of the Apollo 11 anniversary. What defines a hero, great talent or great determination? Is the awe found in ability ("can do") or execution ("will do")? While I doubt a young Bobby Bridger had such thoughts while sitting in a dark movie theater, cowboys and outlaws flickering on the screen, he does capture the pure exuberance of childhood.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heaven Must Be Near

Artists: Barefoot Jerry

Album: Southern Delight

Song: "Smokies"

Barefoot Jerry was an all-star band of Nashville session pros. Friday nights, when the studios closed, these friends would load Ford pickup beds with bags of groceries, instrument cases, and bottles of sour mash. Forty-eight hours of freedom awaited. Tucked in an Appalachian holler was a shotgun shack, its paint peeling from the elements. The men would wheel a piano onto the creaking wood porch, pull out guitars, pass the drink. And so they would play their music, not that of rote producers. Inspired by the living beauty and primal energy of the surroundings, the men wrote "Smokies." At least that's what I hope happened.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sittin' Here Walkin' the Floor

Artist: Gene Watson

Album: Between This Time & The Next Time

Song: "I'm Gonna Kill You"

Country music has never shied away from murder: cheating lovers, vengeful spouses, and grim endings for all involved. The air in these songs is heavy with uncontrollable grief, rage, and disillusionment. So straight-up honky tonker Gene Watson recording a murder song isn't out of the ordinary. Except this tune bops to its own beat. Never before has a cuckolded man sounded so damn remorseless. Pushed over the final edge, hear the true voice of insanity.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Can Fool Them All Right

Artists: Horslips

Album: The Tain

Song: "You Can't Fool the Beast"

When composing my first concept album, I need to remember the timeless lessons that Horslips made apparent. There must be thundering tribal drums and bursts of handclaps. Where there isn't a maniacal flute, a happy fiddle will play. Love will cause strife, and an immortal warrior shall do battle on an infinite plain. Of course the sleeve will be gatefold.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lying Here in My Confusion

Artist: Brian Friel

Album: Brian Friel

Song: "Pisces Lady"

Prison doesn't have to be a cold cell and steel bars. That private jail can be spiritual, emotional, social, financial. Brian Friel is a prisoner, defeated and alone except for the whispering wind. But much like Andy Dufresne, the echo of a song can stir the resiliency of the soul. And soon those terrible walls are brought to rubble, one patient tap of the chisel after another.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Daydreams and Southern Pine

Artist: Marlin Greene

Album: Tiptoe Past the Dragon

Song: "Fields of Clover"

Should I ever find myself floating across a blue summer sky like an untethered balloon, picking wisps of clouds as if they were sticky cotton candy, I would need this Marlin Greene opus and its inherent pedal-steel breeze as my lazy-day soundtrack.