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Archive for the ‘John Denver’ Category

jan2017SOUNDTRACK: BRENT COBB-Tiny Desk Concert #591 (January 17, 2017).

brentI don’t like country music.  I’ve found I’ve grown less fond of it in the last few months because a lot of country artists are crossing over but still bringing that twang that is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  I initially bristled against Cobb because he’s got that country twang in spades.

But he proved to be such an engaging and likable fellow–a funny storyteller and genuinely nice guy–that I found that I enjoyed his songs a lot more than I expected.

“Solving Problems,” is a song about a Sunday-afternoon bull session.  It’s an uptempo song with some enjoyable lyrics–the lyrics are what won me over, especially in his delivery: “Conversation covers everything and in between, from Grandpa’s health to marrying good girls.”

When the song is over he notes: “Y’all been having a lot of Southerners on here lately, whats up with that?”

The second song “Down In The Gulley” is a funny song–but not, you know, comical or anything.  He introduces it with a story about his uncle and his daddy.  When they were kids they were putting down pipes from a stream to head towards the pump house.  A few years ago (as in decades later), the sheriff saw these pipes and thought that they were running moonshine.  Well, he says, his Uncle Bubba is a great guy but her can be a little orn’ry, especially if you wake him up first thing in the morning accusing him of having a moonshine still.  So for the song he imagined what it would have been like if it was a moonshine still.   I really like the guitar work ion this song–really interesting melodies.

When the song is over he says “you were really listening.  Listening crowds make me nervous–all as you want as an artist is for people to listen to you but when they do it freaks you out.”

The third song “Country Bound,” is one that he didn’t have anything to do with its creation.  His family members were writing this song when he was 5.  It reminds me a lot  of John Denver and it’s my favorite song that he plays.  It’s his my favorite of the set.  It features a bouncing solo from J Kott, whom Cobb jokingly calls “our bass player/lead guitarist.”  In addition to Cobb and Kott, there’s Steve Smith on the drums.

He was only planning to do three songs, but he says “we can do more or not.”  Someone says one more.  He smiles and says “it’s up to you [presumably whoever introduced him] if we have time.  I don’t even now who the guy [who said “one more”] is, he might not even work here.

The final song is the sobering “Shine On Rainy Day.”  It’s a slow ballad and a thoughtful one.  “While he weaves plenty of wit into his lyrics, Cobb can devastate just as easily: ‘Ain’t it funny how a little thunder make a man start to wonder, ‘Should I swim or just go under?'”

[READ: January 15, 2017] “The Sad Fact”

This is an excerpt from Cusk’s novel Transit.

This story begins in a very modern way: “an astrologer emailed me to say she had important news concerning events in my immediate future.”

The spam message went on to say that the information was causing her great excitement and for a small fee, she would share this with her. But “the sad fact was that in this era of science and unbelief we had lost the sense of our own significance.”  The narrator knows it is spam: “it seemed possible that the same computer algorithms that had generated this email had generated the astrologer herself:  she was too obviously based on a human type to be human herself.”  And yet…

A friend of hers has said that so much of our language has been culled by computers that faux humans often feel more substantial than the original. (more…)

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croninSOUNDTRACK: THE OKEE DOKEE BROTHERS-“Can You Canoe?” (2012).

okeecanoe I found out about The Okee Dokee Brothers from Kids Corner.  They are two guys (one on guitar one on banjo) who sing folk songs about going outside, “with a goal to inspire children and their parents to get outside and experience nature. They believe this can motivate kids to gain a greater respect for the natural world, their communities and themselves” (from their website).

This is a fun folk song–easy to sing along to and very catchy.  It reminds me in spirit (but not voice) of John Denver–the guys have very good harmonies as well.

And since spring time may (finally, maybe) be coming, we should be busting out our canoe soon as well.  Perhaps we’ll sing along to this

Can you canoe on a little boat built for two?
Can you canoe? I’ll be your captain and your crew
Can you canoe if there’s nothing better to do?
I wanna float down a river with you.

In addition to the catchy chorus, there are some great lines in the song, too.  Like:

“We don’t need no outlets, we don’t need no wires
Primetime entertainment will be lightnin’ bugs and fires”

and

“I’ll take the bow brother, you can take the stern
I’ll move us forward, while you choose when to turn”

and

“Sound waves on the water don’t need to be amplified.”

I have become a quick convert to this band whom I’d not heard of until very recently.  I’m looking forward to my kids hearing this (and watching the videos too).

Here’s the video:

[READ: April 15, 2014] The Chicken Squad (1)

I grabbed this book for the kids because it looked like a lot of fun.  And indeed it was.  I didn’t realize that Cronin was the author of such fun kids books as Click, Clack, Moo and Diary of a Worm (and other insects).  This book is quite different from those picture books in that this tells a (admittedly short) longer story.  And it has chapters!

The story is told by the family dog, J.J. Tully, a retired search and rescue dog.  J.J. Tully is in charge of the yard and that includes watching out for the chickens.  He introduces us to the four chicks who live in the yard: Dirt (speciality: foreign languages, math, colors, computer codes), Sweetie [who has glasses] (speciality: breaking and entering, interrupting), Poppy (speciality watching the shoe [which is where they live]) an Sugar [has a triangle head–which comes in for a very funny joke later] (specialty: None that i can see).

The plot begins when a squirrel named Tail comes running into the coop.  He is in a panic shouting, “It’s after me.”  When the chicks question him, he can only get out variations of: “Its big and scary!!.” “It’s BIG and it’s SCARY!!”  And while he is panicking, trying to get out the details of what it looks like: (Big), J.J. comes in to see what the ruckus in.  And Tail faints dead away. (more…)

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