Monday, October 26, 2009

The Wide-Open Spaces Are Closing in Quickly

Artist: Waylon Jennings

Album: This Time

Song: "Slow Movin' Outlaw"

The undulating hills and their skins of skyscraper-straight emerald grass hid the old farmhouse in its folds, away from the snaking road below. A path of stone fragments led into the building's simple courtyard. Above the home's entryway, carved into the white facade, was the singular word "Eldorado." The homeowner added slivers of wood to a well-used fire pit, and a vibrant flame began to illuminate the dark sky, its dancing shadows flickering like a silent movie projected on the nearby slope. Clouds filled the sky, but a strong wind would allow for periodic glimpses of the sparkling constellations. Music poured into the courtyard from magnificent stereo speakers. Warm American voicesCalvin Russell, Steve Young, Billy Joe Shaver, Waylon Jenningsfilled the chilly Burgenland night. Wrapped in a thick blanket, senses engaged, I realized that country is country, language be damned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Turnin' Out Lights

Artists: Maggie & Terre Roche

Album: Seductive Reasoning

Song: "West Virginia"

Maggie Roche wrote a 99 dollar song that is hidden on a 99 cent album. "West Virginia" is so fragilepiano creaking, voice angelicthat it needs to be heard on a pair of headphones late at night. Such profound music resonates during these still hours. That's when distractions are few and thoughts, perhaps, more melancholic. Moments of doubt, discouragement, and despair can be alleviated by a few resonant songs, bringing reassurance to a distressed soul. That these particular musicians can distill beauty from tragedy, light from darkness is why I'll keep listening. I hope you will, too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Astral Projection, Cosmos Connection

Artists: Aztec Two-Step

Album: Second Step

Song: "Cosmos Lady"

When Larry Dallas needed to seal the deal, he would drop the needle on this panties melter. Maybe he still does.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Spacemen Came and Took All the Children Away

Artist: Buddy Red Bow

Album: Buddy Red Bow

Song: "Fifth Dream"

Sometimes iTunes lies. Today, my play count for Buddy Red Bow's "Fifth Dream" stands at a respectable 16. But that number doesn't reflect numerous vinyl spins or the dozens of times I've skipped back to the song's beginning before the timer could reach 0:00. The reason for this compulsive listening is the weirdness that permeates the music.

Spaceships, rainbows, and hawk wings. Perhaps peyote fueled this incredible imagery, although Buddy's Lakota tribe is not typically associated with the ceremony. Does the title refer to hard alcohol, an impending stupor? American Indians have had hard battles with the bottle, and Buddy himself was subdued by such demons.

I have yet to understand whether the fifth dream is to be welcomed or dreaded. Not having that definitive answer will continue to make this song a fascinating experience.