Buddy Miller is the guitar player to hire if you’re playing heartfelt, not-so-shiny country-rock songs. Jim Lauderdale writes award-winning country songs. He’ll once again host the Americana Music Awards alongside Miller, with whom he shares a radio show on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country Channel; that’s where the corny humor comes in.
There’s something endearing, old-timey and almost vaudevillian about Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale — even the way they bill themselves as “Buddy and Jim.” Both veteran musicians are in love with country music in all its many forms and influences; their music incorporates the blues and bluegrass, rock ‘n’ roll and a good deal of craft. The songs they performed, at NPR’s offices and on the album, have titles like “I Lost My Job [insert pregnant pause here] of Loving You.” Some good fun to be had at the expense of heartbreak and life’s loves, both lost and found.
They are indeed funny and charming. They both play guitar and the rest of the band includes fiddle, upright bass and a mailing tub for percussion.
Jim is the corny comedian. He says he doesn’t have his contacts in—how’s everybody up there in the balcony? Bob asks if either you guys have had a desk job. Jim says, kind of, he was messenger at Rolling Stone (not a bike messenger). And then he jokes that he had to do some firing of people—and he makes an exaggerated attempt at firing someone in the audience.
Besides the goofiness, they do play three fairly traditional-sounding country songs. “The Train That Carried My Gal From Town” sounds very old timey country (compete with thick singing accents). “It Hurts Me” was written by Buddy’s wife. It’s a slow country ballad.
After the second song, Jim says, “Were having such a good time up here, we’re gonna stay all day long.” Buddy jumps in “That’s what George Jones” says all the time and then he plays one more song and leaves. The final song is “I Lost My Job Of Loving You” my favorite of the three because it’s a little more rocking sounding.
[READ: February 25, 2017] “A System from the North”
This was the second story from Ohlin that I’ve read recently.
I liked the other story but I really liked this one a lot.
It is a strange little story about a woman who is “teaching” in a school. I put teaching is in quotes because this is a school with its own Philosophy. as in “they went outside every day, regardless of the weather; it was part of the Philosophy.”
The teacher is outside with the kids when she notices that the boy in the blue coat is not there. She counts the kids, but the fifth child simply isn’t there.
She takes the children inside and then gets inside her head about where the boy may have gone.
This is a strange thing to think, no doubt, but we get inside of her head a bit too. It went without saying that she knew she would be fired for losing a child. She had been fired from previous jobs for much less–giving her boyfriend free drinks (she knew she shouldn’t but the sex was so good). And the more relevant one was when she was fired for daydreaming in the shoe store. “Sometimes she was rooted to the ground, paralyzed by the flights of her mind. A paradox: to be still and wandering at the same time.”
She looks out the window at the snow falling and wonders if that’s what happened to the child.
She felt that each person heard a voice that lured, that couldn’t go unanswered. It only depended on which voice was yours,.
So how did she get this job? Well, the director of the Centre shopped at a farmers market and the woman’s friend sold ice cream there. When the director came over she was carrying carrots with long frilly tops. The woman had never seen frilly tops on carrots before and shee couldn’t help but pat them. Rather than being angry, the director stared at the woman and then gave her her business card.
The Centre was opposed to everything in “the modern world.” Most importantly, the Centre was calm. The children were allowed total freedom as long as they didn’t hurt themselves or others. The woman was not allowed to bring any kind of electronic device into the school–she did have a cell phone but she rarely used it.
One day, she had brought her phone in–she was expecting n call from her boyfriend (not that other one, a new one). When the phone rang the blue-coated boy covered his ears with his hands and said loudly “turn it off turn it off” over and over and was still repeating it by the end of the day.
But now it was today and he was out in a blizzard.
Was it too late to go find him? Surely it was too late to confess–the Director would wonder why she waited so long.
The end of the story comes quickly and is something of a surprise. I liked the way it ended but I want to hear a lot more about this character and this school. This whole setting was really compelling and I would definitely like a lot more.
I mean, check out this paragraph:
One of her boyfriends had told her she had a lazy eye. She’d never heard this before and had worried over it for days. Eventually, she had asked her mother if it was true. Her mother had snorted. “Every part of you is lazy,” she said.
That’s fantastic. I definitely want to read more from her.