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Today on my mind is balance. It's something I very strongly believe in, and something I am shitty at practicing. Work/play, political engagement/creating and cultivating beauty, pride/shame, spending/saving... I tend to live in extremes, and based upon my observations, I do not think I am necessarily unique in that regard. To those on the front line of the resistance, my wish and hope for you is to find balance. To those consumed with fear and vitriol, my wish for you is to experience the beauty and wonder that is around us and to find love and compassion within that wonder and beauty. To myself, my wish is to figure all of this out - even if it is just for a moment.
Whenever I allow myself to think about these things, I wonder if my diverse taste in music is off-putting to some people. I know, in the end, it really doesn't matter, but I do think about it. Fact is, as much as I love certain styles/genres of music, the thought of limiting myself to a single style/genre is wholly unimaginable.
Wild Wednesday shuffles often showcase the diversity of my musical interests, and today is actually a pretty decent example of that. The good thing about this format is that it is relatively easy to move past what doesn't interest you. My challenge, though, is to step outside of your comfort zone - even if just for a second and give something radically different a try. This is something I have been trying to do myself - because in spite of my diverse taste in music, I am aware that I have blind spots and long-held biases around certain artists and genres. But, if I give something a legitimate shot - at worst the nature of my bias will be confirmed, and at best, I may expand my tastes into a whole new arena.
"Whateva Will Be" by A Tribe Called Quest
We begin a track from the sixth studio album by influential hip hop band A Tribe Called Quest. We Got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service was released in November of 2016. The album partially completed when founding member Phife Dawg passed away, and it was completed by the remaining members. A really great way to start my day.
"A-11" by Buck Owens
Okay, seriously, I really do use the shuffle function, and somethings songs just happen to come up at opportune times. "A-11" is a Hank Cochran song that was recorded by Buck Owens on his 1964 album Together Again/My Heart Skips a Beat. It is also a staple of the ultimate Buck Owens tribute band, Buck N Stuff who have a show tonight at The 5 Spot. The line-up includes Adrian + Meredith and gets underway around 9:00. Listen to the original and then come see who Buck n Stuff do it."Going to Chicago" by Count Basie
When you start with A Tribe Called Quest and then move on to Buck Owens... where else can you go but to Count Basie.(That is a rhetorical question). Jazz and big band composer, band leader, pianist and organist - William James "Count" Basie was a towering figure in 20th Century music."Child of God" by Tom House
Nashville's own Tom House is a rare and unique singer-songwriter. His vocals call to find old-time Appalachian music, his outlook and songs are thought-provoking and some times striking. By the way, this song is from his album Jesus Doesn't Live Here Any More which was released in 2010. A later album, Winding Down the Road was produced by Brock Zeman - who also produced David Olney's latest album. Zeman will in Nashville beginning this weekend - Saturday to open for Olney's CD Release Show at The 5 Spot. They will also be appearing with Tom House next Tuesday at Dee's.
"Granpa Was a Carpenter" by John Prine
A live version from a 1986 Asheville show that was released on Noisetrade last year (I think). The song was originally released on Prine's third album Sweet Revenge. This song was the inspiration for Kris Kristofferson's "Jesus was a Capricorn".
"He's Up for It" by Smokey the Firebear
Keeping up our "wild" shuffle - we move from John Prine to 18 year old Smokey the Firebear from his EP Miro Leo Sun which is no longer available. He does have a new release called Windbreaker which came out in February. This is experimental, dreamy instrumental music.
"Rock and Roll Again" by Blackberry Smoke
And then, in yet another whiplash inducing musical shift - the shuffle continues with a track from the 2015 album Holding all the Roses by Atlanta-based Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke. This track came to me via a Rounder Records sampler again via Noisetrade.
"Need You Tonight" by INXS
From the southern part of the United States to the Southern Hemisphere. Next up, is the biggest hit single from Australian band INXS. It was on their 1987 album Kick. It came to me through The Best of INXS compilation which I found on CD at a local thrift store.
"War-Weary World" by The Call
Next up is a song from the 1982 debut album of this California new wave/rock band. I got it off a 1991 compilation, The Walls Came Down: The Best of the Mercury Year. The band's leader Michael Been passed away in 2010 while working as a sound engineer for his son's band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
"She is Falling" by Insane Jane
And we close out this "wild shuffle" with a track from the second Atlanta band in the shuffle (but radically dissimilar to Blackberry Smoke). From the album A Green Little Pill. A friend turned me onto this band in the early 90s. I keep revisiting this album - great songs and an amazing vocalist.
(Click the link above to view the Video Playlist)
(Click the link above to view the Video Playlist)