Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, May 10, 2003 ]


Went to see A MIGHTY WIND last night with a whole bunch of the crew (Mr. C, KMC, ESL, and El Jacapista, plus we ran into Matthew from The Junkers). Fantastic; maybe not as riotously hilarious as GUFFMAN or BEST IN SHOW, but great nonetheless. It's also amazing to hear the quality of the music put forth throughout the film; much like Spinal Tap, it's not that the joke is that these guys can't play, but rather that their taste is questionable. Besides which, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard and Jennifer Coolidge come up with three of the funniest and most out-there characters in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Reminder: The first episode of RACE: THE POWER OF AN ILLUSION airs tomorrow night on PBS. Absolutely check it out if you possibly can.

Working on finals/papers all weekend. More when I bring my head up out of water...

On the box right now: Alejandro Escovedo, GRAVITY...finished Dan Bern, FLEETING DAYS, as I was writing this.


Dove With Claws [9:49 AM]

[ Thursday, May 08, 2003 ]


Finally got a chance to listen to the new John Hiatt album, BENEATH THIS GRUFF EXTERIOR. It's very good; rockin' and loose, it sounds like it was recorded pretty much live-in-the-studio. Hiatt always comes up with a batch of good songs (although the ones here aren't anywhere near his best; check out BRING THE FAMILY, WALK ON and CROSSING MUDDY WATERS for examples of said best), his voice - although it's starting to sound a little worn - is a great, soulful country howl, and the guitar player in his on-and-off band The Goners (who back him up on this album) is the amazing Sonny Landreth, who plays slide guitar with grace, soul and unassuming brilliance. For anyone who likes Southern-fried rock-and-soul, this is definitely one to check out.

I'm off in a couple hours to see the Neville Brothers. I'm looking forward to it; never seen them live, and I've heard some amazing reports of their performances. It'll be nice to spend an evening down in the groove, especially when considering that it's finals week and considering the general state of the world.

Speaking of which, did y'all hear about the all-white prom in Georgia? If not, you've probably not been paying much attention to the news (and who can blame you). I love how white folks jump all over the obvious cases of racism, yet pay absolutely no attention to the larger - and more important - problems, like housing politics and racism in the justice system. Of course, these problems are more complicated, and less likely to make white liberals feel good about themselves. I had a chance to view an advance copy of the upcoming PBS documentary series RACE: THE POWER OF AN ILLUSION, and it is fantastic. It addresses some of those complex problems deftly and in detail. It's running three consecutive Sundays this May (12th, 19th and 26th) and I recommend it most highly. (Of course, I could be wrong about those dates...check your local listings. I always wanted to say that.)

On the box right now: R.L. Burnside, COME ON IN


Dove With Claws [3:41 PM]

[ Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ]


Got to hang out a bit with Molly Ivins last night. Ms. Ivins is simply one of the best people in American politics, a brilliant, passionate journalist with a golden heart, razor wit and fully-operational bullshit detector. She fully understands the importance of keeping politics fun (last night, she described the two main ingredients of such an enterprise: imagination and beer. Amen.), but never loses sight of what made her care in the first place. Check out the link on the left to see her articles, and BUY HER BOOKS, either through this link or, preferably, at fine local booksellers everywhere. Believe me, they'll do you good.

Today was finally a music-release day I could get excited for, as albums by Richard Thompson and John Hiatt came out. They've long been two of my favorites, and they never seem to put out bad records, only varying degrees of good. Haven't hit Hiatt yet, but the Thompson (THE OLD KIT BAG) is a solid piece of work, with some very cool songs. "I'll Tag Along," a weird combination of Byrds guitars, Beatle melodies and Lou Reed lyrics is my favorite at the moment.

I also was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of The Junkers' upcoming album, LIVE CHARACTERS NIGHTLY, in order to review it. It's fantastic, a definite improvement on their debut album, HUNKER DOWN, which is still one of my favorites. The songs are great, the performances are consistently strong, and the mix is richer and thicker this time out.

On the box right now: Chris Thomas King, DIRTY SOUTH HIP-HOP BLUES.


Dove With Claws [2:16 PM]

[ Sunday, May 04, 2003 ]


I was listening to the new Vince Gill album (NEXT BIG THING). There are a couple tracks on the record co-written by Al Anderson, current Nashville hitmaker (but don't old that against him) and former member of NRBQ. I love the tracks, and they served as today's reminder of how great NRBQ was/is. Anderson is an incredible songwriter and guitar player (and not a bad singer), and he's been replaced by Johnny Spampinato, who's a great guitar player and good singer, even though (sorry Johnny) he's nowhere near the songwriter Anderson is.

In any case, NRBQ is flat-out one of the best rock and roll bands in the world. Their records are great, filled with fiery rockers, beautiful pop melodies and a healthy dose of insanity. Their live show is simply unbelievable; if a Madison venue were to book them every week, I would go every week. No question. So check them out.

On the box right now: Arrested Development. (I didn't end up going last night, so I'm listening today to make up for it.)

Dove With Claws [12:50 PM]