There is a lot of bad music out there. And there is a lot of bad country music. One of the ways I try to find good music is by association with other good music. Case in point, a friend of mine at work told me about Colter Wall so I checked out his music and really liked it. One of his songs is a cover of the old song Fraulein. On that song is a second singer and looking him up it turned out to be Tyler Childers. So I checked out his music and really liked it. Looking over Childer’s album Purgatory I noticed it was produced by Sturgill Simpson. Now I knew of Simpson. I had his “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music” album and there was one song on that album called Panbowl that was extremely good but overall I was undecided if I was a fan. But now I decided to take another look at Sturgill’s catalog. I listened to his latest album, “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,” and didn’t really care for it. Then I went back to his first album, “High Top Mountain,” and really liked it a lot. I’ll listen to a lot of it for the next few days and then I’ll finish up this review. But I can say already it’s a solid country album and Simpson is a good singer songwriter. The fact that I didn’t care for his later stuff as much might mean High Top Mountain is more or less all of his stuff I’ll like. That’s okay. Even finding a whole album you like is a feat worth noting. This album is definitely a win.
There hasn’t been frost in almost a week and the grass is growing, flowers are blooming bees are buzzing, spring, renewal, all that crap. Always loved Debbie Reynold’s voice on this song. Very pretty.
Its Christmas time again
The snows of winter slowly melt
The days grow short and then
He turns the seasons around
And so she changes her gown
Mother Earth and Father Time
How very special are we
For just a moment to be
Part of life’s….eternal….rhyme
Yeah, more Paul Simon. What? So sue me!
I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance for a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises, all lies and jest,
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest, hmmm
In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him
‘Til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.
The Boxer by Paul Simon
Early to mid-career Jethro Tull was a musical favorite of mine. But in 1979 I listened to Stormwatch and declared the end of my interest in their music.
The leaded window opened
to move the dancing candle flame.
And the first moths of summer
to join in the worship
of the light that never dies
in a moment’s reflection
of two moths spinning in her eyes.
Moths (from the album Heavy Horses)
Jethro Tull (Ian Anderson)
The premiere 70’s band of mental illness. I only quote from the best.
So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
A slightly later fragment from Paul Simon.
Paul Simon – The Boy In The Bubble –
It’s a turn-around jump shot
It’s everybody jump start
It’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts
Medicine is magical and magical is art
The boy in the bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart
And I believe
These are the days of lasers in the jungle
Lasers in the jungle somewhere
Staccato signals of constant information
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires and baby
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all, oh yeah
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry, don’t cry
Now, Paul Simon is a commie and a friend of Woodie Allen but that commie can really write a good lyric.
“And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”
Excerpt from “The Sounds of Silence” by Paul Simon
“Well the raven is a wicked bird
His wings are black as sin
And he floats outside my prison window
Mocking those within
And he sings to me real low
It’s hell to where you go
For you did murder Kate McCannon”
(Kate McCannon, Colter Wall, 2017)
When we got to the Visitor’s Center at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon this fellow was giving me the evil eye from a low hanging perch on a nearby tree. He was croaking some kind of a challenge at me. He probably wanted me to acknowledge his suzerainty over the whole South Rim of the Grand Canyon. These ravens are enormous and don’t caw like crows. They croak and bellow. And anything you leave loose in your campsite is fair game. They’ll steal anything smaller than a duffel bag that’s interesting looking, especially anything shiny or edible. And just about anything is one or the other from their point of view. One sat in a tree above our campsite and serenaded us with abuse at sunset and again at sunrise. All in all, a very impressive creature. Almost thirty years ago I read a book called “Ravens in Winter” by a guy named Bernd Heinrich. He was studying ravens in Maine. He described how intelligent and social the birds were. I’ve always wanted to see them up close. Now I’m jealous of those living in the west where they are very common.
Will you pray for me
When the roots of the oak
And my ribcage are braidin’
Catholic girl, pray for me
You’re my only hope for Heaven
by Tyler Childers from his song Purgatory (2017)
I like the imagery of oak roots braiding with a ribcage. I think Shakespeare would approve.