Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Dallas ghost signs
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Neneh, meet Townes
Not that it really means much, but I found it interesting that cd's featuring two vastly different styles of music would have such similar covers. Even more interesting, each cd contains one of my favorite slow-tempo, reflective, somber songs -- soft, soothing, contemplative, and ideal for relaxation, especially on the heels of a tough day.
Featured in the Wim Wenders film "Until the End of the World" (and on its soundtrack), Neneh Cherry's "Move with Me" features a striking blend of an apocalyptic, sorrowful melody and passionate, soulful vocals uttering haunting lines like, "I'm just a grain of sand walking in a sea of people, I look around me and my name is just 'someone'". It was easily one of my favorite tunes of the 1990s; the movie that featured it wasn't bad, either.
I used to love to listen to this song while driving across the west Texas desert, watching the scenery roll past my windows -- yuccas and ocotillos dotting endless prairies of yellow grass, with rugged gray mountains on the distant horizon -- a perfect visual background for such an amazing song. A phrase I've used to describe most of Mazzy Star's catalog (also entirely appropriate for west Texas) comes to mind -- lonely and beautiful music for a lonely and beautiful place.
The simpler of the two songs, Townes Van Zandt's "the Catfish Song"features Van Zandt's forlorn and rugged voice singing a poetic, metaphoric tale of dying love. Employing a "less is more" approach, the only instrumental background is provided by a simple piano and just a touch of violin. "I'll kindle my fires with the words I can't send you and the roads I can't follow and the songs I can't sing, I'll wander alone on the sleighbells of winter with the stars for a diamond and the world for a ring." Verses like these are textbook examples of the kind of work that has helped build Townes' reputation as one of the most talented lyricists of our time. Wasn't it Steve Earle who said, "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that"?
It doesn't really matter if the cover art causes me to get these cd's mixed up; I could listen to either -- or both -- of these songs all day long. As a matter of fact, I just might...
np: Johnny Bush - "Blaines"
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Deep Ellum murals & street scenes
Save Deep Ellum
B Cool Gallery
Friday, January 18, 2008
Deep Ellum blues - 2
Santa Fe Paint
Suits AND guns available under one roof!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Deep Ellum blues - 1
Those repeated boom-and-bust cycles of economic activity have helped make Deep Ellum an especially rich target for photography. Plenty of remnants of the neighborhood's industrial and pre-industrial past still exist; along with the occasional rusty smokestack, you'll find brick store fronts whose decades-old fading letters still advertise "Machine Shop", "Paint Co.", "Suits", or "Guns". The more recent exodus of bars, shops, and galleries has left a new generation of ghost signs -- that is, the ones that the landlords didn't paint over or take down when the tenants left. Last Thursday, my friend Brian joined me for a brief walking tour of the area, documenting ghost signs, fading ads, and other topics of interest.
Bell Paint Co.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Wayne the Train in Denton
Last Friday after work, I caught another Wayne Hancock show at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton. Wayne put on a great show, as usual, belting out original numbers like "Flatland Boogie", "Big City Good Time Gal", "Highway 54", and covers like Hank Williams' "Long Gone Lonesome Blues", Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues", and of course the immortal "Route 66". (That's "route" -- rhymes with "out" -- not "root".)
God bless WBAP's Hal Jay for putting things in proper perspective yesterday morning following the Cowboys' playoff loss to the Giants.
"Is this worse than Vietnam?"
"Would you rather wake up in the morning with Jessica Simpson lying next to you, or win the Super Bowl?"
And my favorite: "Do y'all think this is worse than Britney Spears' parenting abilities"?
The playoff loss was a bitter pill to swallow, but that doesn't change the fact that this year's team gave us a great regular season (well, the first 12 games, anyway) of entertaining football. Their 13-3 record exceeded my expectations for the season by 3 or 4 wins, and they were a fun team to watch. At this point, the phrase "wait til next year" sounds like little more than a stomach-turning, half-assed attempt at an optimistic outlook, but really... what else are we to do, other than try to keep things in their proper perspective?
np: Townes Van Zandt - "The Catfish Song"
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Scratching the itch
"Ewok" is commonly seen on covered hoppers.
Whiskey's concert calendar
Friday, Jan 11 - Wayne Hancock in Denton (Dan's)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
December leftovers - 2
L.L. Herring Tavern - Fort Worth Stockyards