Thursday, May 21, 2009

Drive Around the World Mix

There's not much to say about this mix. It's a bunch of songs that seem to go together well. It includes a new song by the Bowerbirds and an old song by the Critters. It includes "Put the Message In the Box," by World Party, which I dismissed when it came out in 1990, but which I now love. It also includes "Una Domenica Italiana," by Cecile and the guitarist Dennis Coffey, about which I know nothing but which I find wonderfully addictive. And finally, it ends with "Violets of Dawn," a '60's folk anthem by the underrated Eric Andersen.
Treehouse - Keen
Part of the Plan - Dan Fogelberg
Like Home - Musee Mechanique
Settler - Balmorhea
Put the Message In the Box - World Party
Una Domenica Italiana - Cecile featuring Dennis Coffey
Ray Gun - Bird and the Bee
Mr. Dieingly Sad - The Critters
Northern Lights - The Bowerbirds
Violets of Dawn - Eric Andersen

The mix:
Drive Around the World Mix

Monday, May 11, 2009

Echo Lake Mix

This short mix was inspired by the song "Echo Lake," by the lo-fi folk band, Woods. Growing up in Warrensburg, NY, Echo Lake (really more of a pond than a lake) was the local swimming hole. During summer vacations, from the time I was eight until I was 14, my friends and I would ride our bikes there and depending on how old we were, swim, clown around or flirt with girls. (The last time I was there was was just after school let out when I was 14, and my friend Mickey Leonard and I went there to drink warm Budweiser we had stolen from either his parents or mine and buried in the sand. )
There are, I'm sure, a lot of Echo Lakes in America. The one in the Woods song is probably not mine. But ultimately it's not about geography as much as it is about experience, and I suspect that ours were similar. (The lake in the picture accompanying this post is the Echo Lake of my childhood.)
Here is the track list:
1. Echo Lake - Woods (Songs of Shame)
2. Melodia (1) - Johann Johannsson (Fordlandia)
3. Sneak a Picture - Junior Boys (Begone Dull Pain)
4. I Feel Space - Lindstrom (It's a Feedelity Affair)
5. Yellow River - Christie (Christie)
6. Mr. Lucky - Anita Kerr (We Dig Mancini)
7. Some Constellation - Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin (Pershing)
8. Albina - Horse Feathers (House with No Home)
9. Bulbs - Van Morrison (Veedon Fleece)
10. Written on Sky - Max Richter (The Blue Notebooks)
Here is the mix:
Echo Lake Mix

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Stephen Bruton 1948-2009 RIP

Stephen Bruton was one of the first people to welcome me to Austin in the Fall of 1996. I was in awe of him because of his musical skills and resume, but those things were more important to me than to him. From his point of view, I was a newcomer, a guest, and he was a host and guide, and he wanted to make sure I was at ease.
There was no doubt that Bruton was, first and foremost, a musician. He breathed music, he bled music. One of the stories I had heard about him was that, as a teenager, he had hitch hiked to Woodstock to hang out with the Band, and ended up as their roadie. And of course, he had been Kris Kristofferson's guitar player since the early 1970's. (You can see him backing up Kristofferson's character in A Star Is Born.) I have a Monument Records sampler that credits him with playing guitar on several Billie Joe Shaver songs from 1970 or 1971. Bruton was making records at an age I was studying for high school midterms.
But, like other musicians who had spent a lot of time on the road, and had lived with the ups and downs of success, and had wrestled demons of one sort or another to a stand-still, Bruton had a wry sense of humor about the whole thing, and I think that colored his outlook on life. He could be passionate about the things he cared about, he could even be hard-assed. But I got the sense he knew it was all one day at a time, and that someone was in charge but it wasn't him.
I moved to Los Angeles in the Spring of 1997. Not only did Stephen loan me his apartment in Santa Monica for a month while I looked for a place to live, but he made sure to introduce me to a bunch of his LA friends, and every time he passed through town he would stop by and say hello. He was a Texas gentleman in the best sense of the word, loyal to his friends and honorable in every way.
Here is a version of Stephen Bruton's "Getting Over You," sung by Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt, from Nelson's album, Across the Borderline.
Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt - Getting Over You