TweedyYesterday, we traveled to and from the recording studio listening to Tweedy’s new record. Guess what? “Dad Rock” is really cool! Love “Sukierae.” It’s a knockout. The Dad and The Kid bring it!

Turns out “Dad rock,” which has been sort of tossed around as an insult, is actually, super-cool. Jeff Tweedy and his son have made a really excellent record. It’s a double-album overstuffed with subtle, layered, perfectly realized music. I recommend you actually buy a CD. Check out the cool pictures and the lyric sheet. It’s a personal, family-affair record.

Jeff Tweedy sometimes sounds like John Lennon to me. Which is just the highest compliment I can imagine. He’s a great singer/songwriter, and underrated guitar player. Jeff just has a way about him. He comes across to me as a very committed, working artist. No bullshit. Just the good work.

I especially love some of the stripped down songs. There are one or two songs that sound like they could be outtakes from other Wilco records – but hell, the two bands share the lead singer, the lead songwriter, and the driving force. Still “Sukierae,” this band, this approach, it holds it’s own.  Superb on all levels! Highly recommended!

By the way, while we were in the studio, we sat in the control room, and listened to the Lovely Carla’s song “Hand of Grace” emerge into the light. Starts with a gospel-ish piano flourish from the great Bob Long. That was cool and unexpected! – Jammer

will phalenSo yes, instead of listening to U2’s new free download, we’ve been listening to these fine CD’s (Shelled out cold hard cash for the tangible thing!) played on a really excellent, high-end, stereo system… all highly recommended…

1. Sun Kil Moon – “Benji” – extraordinary…made me cry and laugh… powerful art and a nylon string guitar – I think it’s probably one of the greatest records I’ve ever heard. Really!

2. Mavis Staples – “One True Vine” – produced by Jeff Tweedy… beautiful, soulful… hushed, just great!

3. Chrissie Hynde – “Stockholm” – thanks to Terry Flamm for the recommendation! Neil Young sits in on a song with his great Les Paul guitar!

4. Jim James – “Regions of Light and Sound of God” – so good, weird, and cool, love the saxophone!

5. Jenny Lewis – “The Voyager” – Ryan Adams and Beck contribute… the record builds and the title track is my favorite song of the moment!

6.  Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – “100 Days, 100 Nights” – killer soul, great voice, great band!

7. Will Phalen – “The Dirt, the Air and the Grass”  – beautifully realized. Will does it all, love that Rickenbacker guitar… he’s a really cool guy too… and excellent band! Ringing guitars and haunting lyrics.

8. Nate Currin – “You and I Are Ghosts”  – A great singer-songwriter, writes extraordinary songs, excellent production… I close my eyes and am reminded of the best of Ryan Adams… but Nate has his own voice… on a national tour in a motorhome… we were on a bill with him at Uncommon Ground.  He just knocked us out…a cool guy too.

9. Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal” – Noisy, funny, raucous. You just know these guys love Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, and Television and Dylan too.  Two voices, classic garage band vibe.  But these guys are super-smart and articulate… funny, did I say funny? Love it.

10. The Handsome Family – “Singing Bones” – It was “True Detective” that compelled us to buy this one.  The title song of the great HBO series is “Far from Any Road.”  Beautiful and haunting. Brett Sparks owns the low tones. Gothic Country? Rennie Sparks writes beautiful lyrics… love this record! Dark. In a good way.

11. The Beatles – “Please Please Me,” – OK it was “Tune In” that made me purchase a copy of the Beatles first record.  Recorded in about 16 hours. The Beatles are raw and exuberant. There are some great originals but it’s the cover songs that really knocked me out this time.  I think I overlooked this one for years, thinking it was their later work that was the best. This is the Beatles as a really tight, joyous, raucous r&r band. All the elements of their later success are here. Fresh!

12. Fairport Convention – “Liege & Lief” and “What We Did On Our Holidays” – lots of people who have come out to see our band whitewolfsonicprincess have compared us to Fairport Convention. Which is just the greatest compliment! I went back to these early records. They are just amazing. Sandy Denny’s voice is one of the great instruments, and Richard Thompson is an extraordinary guitarist.  We do some originals using non-standard tunings, with some Celtic, Gypsy type vibe, and I think it’s these tunes that conjure up the Fairport Convention mojo.  So glad I traveled back to discover and enjoy these early discs… totally inspiring!

Jammer

 

“Bill Fay is one of the greats — this is a beautiful album.” – Nick Cave

The powers of persuasion + I love Nick Cave = I will love “Life is People.”

The CD arrives in time for a long drive out to visit my mother. I am aligned with the universe or at least the universe of Amazon.com.

Side A
Once, some time ago, Jammer and I were walking and this older women says to us “you’re not regular citizens, are you?” we laughed, what a funny thing to say, but there is some truth there, because we have both always kinda felt like mis-fits, painted birds, or broken-winged beasts.

I would say I am a spiritual person, both Jammer and I are really, and we have always aproached the creative process from this perspective. A journey. Collective energy moving outward. Little dialogues with a thing that is both “inside” and “outside”of us. Bill Fay’s CD got me to thinking about the spiritual world and about how you can hear or see things new again. Fresh again. You can actually shake up a sleeping dead thing, and have a new experience, a new dance, in a new way.

Side B
There’s this bucking bronco swirling round inside me, it’s a whirling dervish, it questions authority, ideaology and all these human-made belief systems. This universe, this planet is a confusing and mysterious place, (ESPECIALLY when I am driving out to visit my mother,) why, with the fractals and superstring theories, black holes, red giants, blue giants, darkness and light, not to mention all the wild things going on here on “big blue”, well it’s hard to believe we could possibly have answers to any thing, it’s hard to believe we can get the shoes laced and put one foot in front of the other, unless maybe, yes, the answers just keep moving toward new questions and new answers and it’s all way, way faster now that we have discovered dark matter, and for the love of Mary!! How does this help ease up the reins on that crazy wild mare inside me…

I’m driving along with the human struggle, through the monotonous grey tone of the suburban streets, navigating the sad barren landscape of boarded strip malls, and the tears start flowing. ……then…. just when you least expect it, something simple appears, it rises up and claims you like the brilliant red orange colors of a sunset. Like the continuous motion of a caressing shore line or like a little flower bloom in an over-grown garden. A beautiful little piece of poetry. As I drive along I discover I am singing, singing along to this CD that I have never heard before…… “Don’t cry, you can rely on me honey, you can come by any time you want, I’ll be around, your were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun,” and then……. one line bursts out, with such power, such force…… “Our love is all of God’s money.”

Wait! What was that? What a glorious line! How do I know this song? At the stoplight I scramble for the credits. Woah, it’s a Wilco song (Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett) Ahhhh, there it is! One line to re-thread the needle of grace. A new way in. Then it’s….. rest a bit now honey….. ease your mind and soul sweetie…… hands to the wheel now baby……. ten o’clock, two o’clock….. pay attention to the ride. The songs on this cd are wonderful, it is a lovely, beautiful piece of work. Many thanks to both Nick Cave & Bill Fay. – Carla