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Archive for the ‘J.J. Cale’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: STEVE GUNN-Tiny Desk Concert #299 (August 31, 2013).

Steve Gunn is a fascinating guitar player:

his work mostly stems from a bushy, overgrown definition of what we often call “Americana,” with a healthy understanding of the La Monte Young drone.

Grateful Dead and J.J. Cale certainly reside in the rubber-band bounce of “Old Strange,” a song that keeps the groove mellow, but will suddenly pop with water-drop elasticity. “The Lurker” comes from a much longer solo guitar version that originally sounded like one of Roy Harper’s acoustic epics, but with Gunn’s trio, it becomes a back-porch barn-burner.

For this concert, Gunn and his band play two 9-minutes songs.  They center around his guitar work which yes, has a drone, but the main focus are the Americana riffs that he plays with precision.

“Old Strange” opens with a lengthy guitar passage that shifts after 2 and a half minutes to a slow folky kind of style.  The song seems like it will be an instrumental but 3 and a half minutes in he begins singing. His voice is deep and he sings a kind of narrative story.  It’s quite mesmerizing.   “The Lurker” is a slower, more mellow jam.

[READ: September 3, 2016]: Beatrice

I have read a couple of books from Dixon through McSweeney’s.  I didn’t know much about him then and I still don’t, but I recalled liking his stuff pretty well.  And this book was short so I thought I’d give it a look.

This book is told in a fascinating style–a kind of stream of consciousness in the mind of the main character, but through really close third person.

The book details the encounter of the main character Professor Philip Seidel (there’s a joke about this name, as Seidel means mug) and a woman named Beatrice.  Beatrice was a student of his some 25 years earlier.  She has stopped at his house to deliver some food in condolence for the recent passing of his wife.  She knows about this because she is now a professor where he taught her, although he had retired a few years back.

She brought some food and also wanted to tell him that he was her favorite teacher back then.  She had studied German and wasn’t allowed to take fiction courses until she completed her requirements.  She loved his teaching method and loved how encouraging he had always been.  She has clearly been keeping tabs on him–she has read some interviews he gave–and she definitely knows a lot about his life.

When she leaves he briefly wonders if maybe she’s interested in him now that the are older.  But he puts that out of his mind. (more…)

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cubeSOUNDTRACK: MARTIN TIELLI-Richard’s On Richards Vancouver BC (March 30, 2002).

rich The download for this show is notable for being (in my opinion) out of sequence.  After the second song it seems pretty clear that the concert is now over. Looking at some of the other shows at the time, I wasn’t sure if I could reconstruct the actual order. It was a bit harder than I anticipated, but I think the show actually went like this

World in a Wall
CCYPA
Double X
Love Streams
My Sweet Relief
That’s What You Get for Having Fun
Voices from the Wilderness
OK by Me
That’s How They Do It in Warsaw
I’ll Never Tear You Apart
Winnipeg
Beauty On

I’m guessing “World in a Wall” is first because before playing it he does a brief intro of “CCYPA,” and it seems unlikely that he would do it again after he just played the song. For this set he is solo for the first three songs . He’s kind of all over the place in “Wall” throwing in some extra lyrics and repeating verses—I’m surprised he didn’t get mad at himself.f

Then the band comes out and he introduces them as Operation infinite Justice (incidentally, “Operation Infinite Justice,” was the name of the military intervention that the U.S began after 9/11.  Muslim groups protested the name on the basis that their faith teaches that Allah is the only one that could provide “infinite justice”.  Thus, “Operation Infinite Justice” was changed to “Operation Enduring Freedom” on Sept. 25, 2001).  So clearly, Tielli was making a point.  The band consists of Greg Smith on bass, Barry Mirochnick on drums and Ford Pier on guitar and keys.

For “Ok By Me” he gets that great chorusing guitar (that sounds like Queen) just like on the record.  For “Love Streams” it’s just him and the piano (presumably Ford Pier) who at the line about being “stoned’ play a riff from Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” (did anyone know that was a cover of a J.J. Cale song?)

“Shaved Head” stays in the delicate style of the previous show and for “My Sweet Relief,” he starts the song solo and the band kicks in about 1/2 way through.

After playing “That’s What You Get for Having Fun” someone in the band says that they have merch in the back of the room and that they will be flogged by their manager if they don’t mention it.

In “Voices in the Wilderness,” he sings the actual Rush lyric “if you choose not to decide” (rather than “if you choose not to be free”) and has fun with the word “squeaky” in squeaky voice.  There’ as mellow jam at the end of the song.

The penultimate song is “Winnipeg.” It’s the first live version of this song on the site. I like that since it was a new song the guys who recorded the shows didn’t know what it was called.  And it’s such a peculiar song with different things that could be choruses that the author of this recording calls it “Anyday” and in the next show they call in “I’ve Had Some.”  But it sounds great live.

The show ends with “Beauty On,” the opening track from his upcoming album (although he leaves out the humorous “Cincinnati” bit–which makes sense).

It’s another great show, running just about an hour.

[READ: October 19, 2015] Cube Squared

I found this book at work and judged it by the cover.  I decided it would be fun. And it was.

This is the sequel to McPherson’s first novel (which I have not read) Cube People.  I thought that perhaps there would be zombies in this novel (given the cover) and there are, but not in the way one might suspect.

The basic set up is this: Colin MacDonald works for the Canadian government.  He is in a tech job which is not very techie.  He works in a  cubicle, deals with his co-workers and plans to write the great Canadian novel (if such a thing exists).  He has already written two books.  The first one was successful, the second one less so.  And he would very much like to get a third book written.

But he is now married with three little kids, he has to paint his house and his father just died.

This last bit is pretty important to the story.  Even though his father was never a very good father to him (he was an intense drunk and then an intense convert to Christianity), he has mixed feelings about his father’s death.  Worse yet, his father seems to be talking to him a lot more now than he ever did when he was alive.  And he is fairly certain that his father thinks he’s a waste of time and effort with little to show for himself (or at least that’s his take on his father). (more…)

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