Thursday, April 13, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - What about the Minutemen? Mix

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Here we go... I'm gonna let my Topical Thursday Shuffle do the talking for me today.

Last night, I made it out to The Basement for an early show featuring three incredible songwriters.  Jeremy Ivey opened the night.  Although I had seen him before (at a couple of different shows at Dee's - I think.  On the prior occasions, I had not been able to really concentrate on his songs. Last night was more of a "listening room" environment, and I have to say, I was blown away. Really strong songs that were moving - at times gently humorous.  Count me as a new fan.

Up next was David Dondero. NPR called him one of our greatest living songwriters, and it was easy to see why.  I was introduced to his music a couple of years ago by Darrin Bradbury - who considers Dondero one of his biggest influences. It was clear that his songs were next level good. Again there was humor. To me it was like really good poetry accompanied by a guitar.

The aforementioned Darrin Bradbury closed this early show.  As long time readers may recall, there was a time a couple of years ago when I was seeing Darrin play at least two or three times every week.  Of late, Darrin has been killing it on road - with some high profile opening gigs for Ray Wylie Hubbard, Elizabeth Cook, Wanda Jackson, and Drivin' N' Cryin' to name a few. So, it had been a while since I have had the chance to see Darrin play.  He took advantage of this intimate setting to try out some new and newish songs - along with favorites like Elmwood Park and Myrtle Beach. The new songs sounded great, and I was reminded again why I consider Darrin Bradbury one of the best pure songwriters working today.

In other news, the details of the last two weeks of the E2TG Residency are coming together nicely, and I plan to finalize those announcements over the long holiday weekend (I am off work tomorrow).

Okay, as I mentioned, it is Topical Thursday.  As I say every week, the songs (more or less) fit my undisclosed "topic" but their connection to the topic is mainly all in my head.  Any viewpoint you may infer from this list is mine alone and may not reflect the viewpoint of the artists or their respective songs.

A really long song and a kind of long song mean we only have six songs in today's shuffle.

Let's shuffle!

"What the Hell is Goin' On?" by Paul Thorn

We begin with the title track from the 2012 album by Paul Thorn - who was born in Wisconsin but raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. Roots, blues, country - to me this is the epitome of (and a positive example of Americana).  

"I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" by X

From More Fun in the New World. This album came out in 1983 about the time I was coming of age musically speaking.  The part of this song where X name checks some great American bands helped introduce me to several great bands. "What about the Minutemen, Flesheaters, DOA,  Big Boys, and the Black Flag..."  Also, a perfect song for this shuffle.  X are embarking on their 40th Anniversary Tour. 

"Warpainter (Smashing Worlds with Your Forearms)" by Smokey the Firebear

Next up the first of two instrumental tracks.  This one from Connecticut experiemental artists Smokey the Firebear.   It's from his Ohm Atlanta, Meditative Works Vol. 1.  

"The Fear is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer" by Red Sparowes

Next up is another instrumental track from L.A. post-rock band Red Sparowes which I got off a Sargent House Records sampler back in 2009.  The song shares a title with the band's 2010 album, but the song was actually on a 2008 digital-only EP called Aphorisms. 

"Protector" by Strange Majik

We continue our survey of Strange Majik's timely new EP Soul Crisis.  This is one of my favorite releases of the year so far. 

"Colfax/Step in Time" by Kevin Gordon

And we close with a 10+ minute treatise on life in the post-civil rights era South.  From the groundbreaking Gloryland album.  This is an example of a long song and justifies it's length by filling the space with poetic and evocative words and expansive and powerful music. Taking place deeper in the South then where I grew up, I can nonetheless recognize some of the characters and situations from my own past.  If you are not familiar with the work of Kevin Gordon, I strongly recommend that you remedy that situation immediately. 

(click above link to view the video playlist)

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