Thursday, July 19, 2007


1995 was a year of many changes for me, mainly because, for the first time in many years, I found myself living alone.
One result was that I spent a lot of time not only listening to music, but seriously exploring music and artists I wasn't previously aware of.
I'm posting songs by three of those artists here:
Grant McLennan, who passed away last year, was one of the co-leaders of the great Australian band the Go-Betweens. Horsebreaker, A True Star was his third solo album. The songs are jangly 12-string pop, very Byrds-like, but with offbeat melodies and lyrics that are either brilliantly surreal or really dumb.Rickard Buckner was (and is) a singer/songwriter from Phoenix, AZ. I first got interested in him because that summer, coinciding with the release of his first album, Bloomed, he was performing a lot at a club on East 9th Street called, Sine, and I would stick my head in the door on the way home from work. Even though I never stayed for a whole set (it was too hard to find a place to sit) I was mesmerized by his high lonesome voice and disjointed melodies. His songs remind me of a romanticized version of Denis Johnson's book, Jesus' Son. Like, maybe the songs Fuckhead would write after he got out of rehab.The reason I was living alone in 1995 was because in January of that year, my wife and I separated. I moved into a furnished studio in the East 40's. On the weekends I would drive out to Amagansett on the East End of Long Island, to stay at the house we had rented a few months earlier, when we first started having problems, in the hope that getting out of the city would help us patch things up. It didn't, we separated, and my wife wanted nothing to do with the house. So every weekend I would pick up the car we still shared and make the three and a half hour drive out to the Hamptons.
My soundtrack for many of those trips was Robert Earl Keene's Gringo Honeymoon. Even though the lyrics didn't necessarily speak to my particular situation, the sense of sweet melancholy in the songs, particularly the title song, refracted through the cocoon of darkness in which I was enveloped the minute I hit the highway, was a perfect mirror for my feelings and provided me with hours of comfort on those long drives.

Grant McLennan -Ice in Heaven
Richard Buckner - Gauzy Dress in the Sun
Robert Earl Keen - Gringo Honeymoon

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