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Archive for the ‘Gillian Welch’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 23, 2018] Courtney Barnett

S. and I saw Courtney Barnett back in May when her latest album Tell Me How You Really Feel just came out.  She did a few shows where she played the whole album in its entirety.  Our show sold out very quickly and I was lucky to get tickets.

This time around she played the larger Fillmore and did not sell out the venue.  Is it better to play a small club and sell out, or a larger one and not sell out?  I’m still not sure why this one didn’t.

So why would we go to see someone five months after we had just seen her?

Well, primarily because I thought that this show would be different–bigger, longer and a bit more fun. Not that the first wasn’t fun–it was.  But at that show, she had a mission to play that album and make us like it.  This time, we already had the album and we liked it, we just wanted to hear it again!

And man was this show terrific.

I assumed she would not play the album straight through again.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised that she opened with the first two songs.  The stage was bathed in red (terrible for pictures so I didn’t bother trying to get any).  However, I love watching her play guitar–her technique is so bizarre to me and yet it sounds wonderful.  It must hurt like the dickens.  You can see her playing with no pick very clearly in this clip from “City Looks Pretty.”  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 3, 2017] Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile

I have been a fan of Courtney Barnett’s since I first saw her on a Tiny Desk Concert about 3 years ago.  Bob and Robin from All Songs Considered have raved about her and her live show.  I was really bummed to have found out about her last Philly show a little too late.

So she has been high on my list of artists to see.

I really like a bunch of Kurt Vile songs, although I don’t listen to him all that much (but “Pretty Pimpin'” is amazing).  When they got together for this album/tour, it kind of made sense.  Although I found that I was a little disappointed that Courtney played more like Kurt than Kurt played like Courtney.  The album is kind of slacker folkie and not indie rocking.  Although the good spirit and fun that they clearly had quickly won me over.

I knew the backing band was the Sea Lice, with a somewhat revolving cast.  I was hoping to get Janet Weiss from Sleater-Kinney on drums, but instead we had Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint, who was terrific, Rob Laakso (from Kurt’s Violators) on bass and Katie Harkin (Sky Larkin) on keyboards (with wonderful backing vocals). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 7, 2015] Punch Brothers

punchChris Thile is a member of Nickel Creek whose last album I loved.  He’s also appeared multiple times on Tiny Desk Concerts (with several different bands).  And that’s where I saw Punch Brothers for the first time.

Punch Brothers are five guys–Chris Thile (mandolin), Gabe Witcher (fiddle/violin), Noam Pikelny (banjo), Chris Eldridge (guitar), and Paul Kowert (bass).  They play a sort of bluegrass, but with a lot of elements of classical music (their debut has a classical suite on it and now they cover Debussey live).  Other labels given to the band include “bluegrass instrumentation and spontaneity in the strictures of modern classical” as well as “American country-classical chamber music.”

That all goes a long way to not really describing what the band sounds like.

The five guys stood around one old timey microphone (like in the poster).  ANd they blew us all away. (more…)

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august SOUNDTRACK: DAVE RAWLINGS MACHINE & GILLIAN WELCH-Tiny Desk Concert #45 (February 1, 2010).

daveI had never heard of Dave Rawlings (although I have heard of Gillian Welch). He is evidently a producer and session musician.  And the recording of this Tiny Desk Concert is timed with the release of his first album.

Rawlings and Welch (who sang on a number of tracks on the album) play a mix of country and alt-country/folk.  And while their voices work great together, I think it’s Rawlings’ guitar playing that really sets this Concert apart.

They play four songs, and if the blurb is correct, the first was a warm up that sounded great so they kept it.  That first song is Bill Monroe’s “I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home” a rollicking whirlwind of guitar fun with heavy country flavors.  The second song they play is the lead track on the album.  “Ruby” is a mellow ballad which reminds me of two other songs (see if you think the same).

The third song they introduce as “a depressing song.”  It is minor key and slow.  The melody is surprisingly catchy.  Although when it shifts to Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer,” it’s not because the songs sound alike but because they have the same spirit.  Rawlings’ voice doesn’t sound like Young’s at all, but he sounds great with this great song (and Welch’s harmonies are perfect).

The final song “Sweet Tooth” is a very country (sill country) song.  What I like about it is that Rawlings puts his capo on the 10th fret!  It’s no a song I’d listen to, but it’s cool to know they can play it.

Check it out here.

[READ: April 4, 2015] “The Basement”

Ocampo was an Argentinian poet and short story writer.  This is a short story from Ocampo’s Thus Were Their Faces. which was translated by Daniel Balderston.

I didn’t really get this story.  It is essentially about a woman living in a basement apartment.  She says it is very cold in winter but an Eden in the hot summer months. She has very few things with her and no electricity or running water, but she is very clean.  And she doesn’t have to pay rent.  The lady upstairs feeds her (and she has candy, as well).

This entire excerpt is one very long paragraph and as the paragraph moves along she beings talking about the mice who share her place with her (they are preferable to the flies that are so prevalent in Buenos Aires). (more…)

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