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SOUNDTRACK: CHAD VANGAALEN-Live at Massey Hall (May 27, 2015).

The name Chad VanGaalen sounded familiar to me, and it turns out I know a couple of his songs from NPR.  But I didn’t recognize them here.

As the show opens, he says he only recently heard of Massey Hall and he was blown away by the architecture

He’s glad he’s playing acoustic but even more so that he’s dong the whole one man band and not just a guy with a guitar–he never been that good at playing guitar, so he needs more.  He is playing with Julie Fader “saved his ass on multiple occasions.”   She is one of his favorite people to play with–she does harmonies very well plus it’s nice to play with a  female….  I’m always playing with a bunch of dudes its nice to temper the energy a bit.

“Pine and Clover” opens the show.  Chad play a pretty guitar intro (not power chords-which is what he claimed was all he could play).  As the camera pulls back, you see that he is also playing bass and snare drum with his feet.  Julie sings backing vocals and plays flute.  Next up is “Broken Bell.”  It’s a pretty, slower song.  I love the lyric: “I sit and do a drawing, a portrait of my dad, I should really visit him before he is dead.”  This lyrics gets a big reaction: “Should I take the advice of the graffiti on the wall telling me to go suck it? / should Ii listen to the voices ringing in my head like a broken bell?”

“Hangman’s Son” slows things down a little further, but “Weird Love” is kind of a stomper with some interesting slightly dissonant flute (or maybe its the guitar that is dissonant).

“Peace on the Rise” gets some applause from the start, as does “Willow Tree” which is a quieter, picked guitar song.  For “Cut My Hair” he switches to capo 7 and plays a lovely melody.  But it soon becomes a real stomper: “I will never learn my lesson.”

The final song is dedicated to his daughters. He says he has been teaching them to fish.  Which is “way more fun than doing this….  Not saying this isn’t fun….  It’s really stressing me out…  Holy shit.”  He says he doesn’t like killing he fish but his 7-year-old is like “oh yeah!’  She’s the henchman and he’s in charge of the barbeque, “Which is what you should do with kids–don;t let them run the barbeque.”

“So ‘Burning Candle’ goes out to my girls….  If I fuck this up I’m the worst dad in the world.  It’s pretty and quite short and no, he doesn’t fuck it up.”

[READ: June 2, 2018] “My Father’s Face”

This issue of the New Yorker had a section entitled “Parenting.”  Five authors tell a story about their own parents.  Since each author had a very different upbringing the comparison and contrasting of the stories is really interesting.

Chang-rae says that a clear childhood memory of “my father washing his face.”

His father was very particular about it–“with a vigor and thoroughness that made me feel somehow cleaner for simply having watched him.”  This was the early 1970s and his father was settling into to his first doctoring position as a Bronx V.A. hospital.

Their flat was small but suitable with a place for he and his sister to play. (more…)

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