Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ode to Fandom: Of Trashcans, Traditions, & The Delta Spirit

The Delta Spirit share stories; but most of all, they share themselves. Gritty and generous, the young California-based band have crisscrossed the continent playing shows for any who’ll hear them, carving an adventurous mythology that matches the more epic aspects of their viral melodies and visionary messages.
Referencing Americana and soul in a denim-pants-and-checkered-shirts package that is undeniably rock and roll, this five-piece breathe a fiery altar call to the sodden glories of the road. From cop troubles to car troubles to stolen laptops, this band has seen it all. Rather than hated as hardship, such travails teach the lessons of a life as lyrical as the band’s poetry. While tales of busking and dumpster-diving make good copy for the awed critics or the awful cynics, with these guys, the legends lack pretense; they’re just part of the daily program. The stuff is so real—too real with spiritual echoes of Springsteen and Steinbeck, made for dirt roads and dive bars. The timeless truths that populate the songs drink from the tap of a pure source.
While some of our favorite bands rarely if ever make it to Nashville, Delta Spirit have given us plenty of their time and have built up a fanbase in the process. Windy, wet, and cold, we welcomed winter much too early to Tennessee this year. Weather or not, we packed ourselves into the car with a special gift for the band, a trashcan lid. Heading to the show, we felt like the lyrics to “Trashcan”: “My love is coming I can barely hardly wait.” During that track, singer Matt Vasquez says he’s found the cure for his own cancer. That Wednesday night, we knew he’d certainly cure our hunger for more great music.
The Mercy Lounge filled up slowly at first, but by the time the second of two opening bands was onstage, the crowd was solid. Nashville’s Canon Blue tore it up with a highly original and percussive blend—brimming with tribal references to new wave, psychedelia, and experimental. By 11pm on a weeknight, we were ready for Delta Spirit to hitch a ride on the train driving directly into our fanboy and fangirl brains.
With “Strange Vine,” they tell the story of planting their own garden—which really defines the entire earthy ethos of the band. Infected with irresistible rhythms and real prayers for freedom, “Streetwalker” solidifies as one of the already timeless classics in the band’s repertoire. As up-front and heart-tugging as each song is on the album Ode To Sunshine, once translated for the urban temples of clubs and bars, the tracks attack the spirit and stick to the gut. Whether he’s smiling or growling, wailing a line or nailing a riff, there’s simply no denying the magic charisma of Matt Vasquez and has compañeros.
From its opening harmonica howl to each and every word Matt emotes, “People, Turn Around” proves itself simply as one of best songs we’ve ever heard. Its intoxicated and churchy qualities inspire fans to wave their arms and raise their beers and sing along really loudly. Its universal message inspires Matt to tell us he’s never meant anything more than he means this song right now, and he doesn’t care how cheesy that sounds. The fans, we believe it. We believe in the images of guns and grades, of needles and snow, of light and love, of blood and a beard, of angels and bones. We believe it so much that we keep singing long after the show is over. We believe it so much, that we’re still singing it now.
Delta Spirit’s debut album Ode to Sunshine was (re)released this year on Rounder Records. Delta Spirit appear to always be on tour. Please visit:

Monday, December 8, 2008

TOTR 42: Teacher On The Radio & Friends Annual All-Nighter!

The best of 2008 and much, much more with many, many guest hosts including WTTU's own Kassi Thomas!!!

Andy's main playlists for tonight and the morning. Many more ideas planned.

Set one 8pm
MGMT - Weekend Wars
Black Mountain - Queens Will Play
Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
Vampire Weekend - Campus
Bon Iver - Skinny Love
Bon Iver - For Emma
The Raconteurs - You Dont Understand Me
R.E.M. - Until The Day Is Done
Plants and Animals - New Kind Of Love
Elbow - One Day Like This
Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains
Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer
My Morning Jacket - Librarian
My Morning Jacket - Smokin from Shootin
Billy Bragg - O Freedom
Tea Leaf Green - Dont Curse at the Night
Dr. Dog - The Rabbit, The Bat The Reindeer
Frightened Rabbit - Good Arms vs. Bad Arms
Frightened Rabbit - Old Old Fashioned
Tom Gäbel - Conceptual Paths
Tom Gäbel - Random Hearts
Okkervil River - Singer Songwriter
The Gaslight Anthem - Miles Davis The Cool
Kings of Leon - Revelry
TV on the Radio - Halfway Home
Michael Franti & Spearhead - Hey World (Dont Give Up Version)

Set two 11pm
The Doors - Break on Through (To the Other Side)
The Doors - Light My Fire
The Doors - Hello, I Love You
The Doors - Not to Touch the Earth
The Doors - Five to One
The Doors - Roadhouse Blues
The Doors - Peace Frog
U2 - Help
U2 - Instant Karma
John Lennon- God
John Lennon - Watching the Wheels
John Lennon - Imagine
John Lennon - Power to the People
John Lennon - Give Peace a Chance
John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Set three 2am
Peter Gabriel - Down to Earth
Kanye West - Love Lockdown
Flobots - We Are Winning
Tom Gäbel - Cowards Sing At Night
Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride
Wye Oak - I Don't Feel Young
Annuals - Hardwood Floor
Grand Archives - Sleepdriving
Goldfrapp - Monster Love
Margot and The Nuclear So & Sos - Cold, Kind, and Lemon Eyes
Mercury Rev - Senses On Fire
Headlights - So Much For The Afternoon
Pete and the Pirates - Song For Today
Marah - Jesus In The Temple
Old Crow Medicine Show - Motel In Memphis
Ani DiFranco - Present Infant
Bob Mould - Walls In Time
Ruby Suns - Morning Sun
The Raveonettes - Hallucinations
Ryan Adams - Cobwebs
Keane - Love Is The End
Snow Patrol - Lifeboats
Tony Allen - Where The Streets Have No Name
STS9 - Late For Work
TV on the Radio - Family Tree
TV on the Radio - Shout Me Out

Monday, December 1, 2008

Little Joy, Born Into A Light: TOTR 41

Little Joy - Brand New Start
Little Joy - Unattainable
Little Joy - How To Hang A Warhol
Little Joy - Dont Watch Me Dancing
Gentleman Jesse - If I Can See You (Youre Too Close To Me)
Gentleman Jesse - Put Your Hands Together
Annuals - Hot Night Hounds
The Fireman - Dance Til Were High
Hot Chip - One Pure Thought
Deerhunter - Never Stops
Los Campesinos! - Youll Need Those Fingers For Crossing
The Killers - Glamorous Indie Rock and Roll
The Killers - Andy, You're a Star
The Killers - Read My Mind
The Killers - Joy Ride
The Killers - Romeo And Juliet
Snow Patrol - Lifeboats
Snow Patrol - The Planets Bend Between Us\
Snow Patrol - Make This Go on Forever
Snow Patrol - Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking
Ryan Adams - Born Into A Light
Ryan Adams - Cobwebs
Ryan Adams - Let Us Down Easy
Ryan Adams - Easy Plateau
Ryan Adams - I Taught Myself How To Grow Old
The Tallest Man On Earth - The sparrow and the medicine
the Old Believers - Thats All

Monday, November 24, 2008

TOTR 40: Over the hills & through the woods

Poi dog pondering - Living with the Dreaming Body
Poi dog pondering - Circle around the sun
Band of Horses - Is There A Ghost
Band of Horses - Ode to LRC
R.E.M - Swan Swan H
Casey Neill - Okanogan County
Casey Neill Trio - Hallowed Be Thy Ground
Michelle Shocked - Anchorage
John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads
Bonnie Raitt And John Prine - Angel From Montgomery
John Prine - In Spite Of Ourselves
John Prine - Paradise
Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi
Sarah McLachlan - River
10,000 Maniacs - Cant Ignore The Train
10,000 Maniacs - Back O The Moon
10,000 Maniacs - Daktari
Lone Justice - Soap, Soup And Salvation
Lone Justice - You Are the Light
pistol pete & popgun paul - Thanksgiving Day
pistol pete & popgun paul - evolution of love
Casey Neill Trio - Araby
Dead Can Dance - American Dreaming
Cocteau Twins - Donimo
The Killers - A Dustland Fairytale
The Killers - Goodnight, Travel Well

"... the more you become a connoisseur of gratitude, the less you are a victim of resentment, depression, and despair. Gratitude will act as an elixir that will gradually dissolve the hard shell of your ego -- your need to possess and control -- and transform you into a generous being. The sense of gratitude produces true spiritual alchemy, makes us magnanimous -- large souled. "
~ Sam Keen

Monday, November 17, 2008

TOTR 39: A weekly show for a week of shows

What a great week for music this is in Tennessee!

From Knoxville to our east and Nashville to our west, shows abound. I preview my picks!

the everybodyfields - Good to Be Home
the everybodyfields - I Can't Sleep
the everybodyfields - Dont Tern Around
the everybodyfields - Tuesday
Umphrey's McGee - In the Kitchen
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People\09 - Late Nineties Bedroom Rock For The Missionaries
We Are Scientists - After Hours (Colin Murray Radio 1 Session)
We Are Scientists - Dance Off
The Whigs - Sleep Sunshine
The Whigs - Right Hand On My Heart
Kings of Leon - Fans
Kings of Leon - Closer
Kings of Leon - Revelry
Kings of Leon - Be Somebody
Blitzen Trapper - Country Caravan
Blitzen Trapper - Badgers Black Brigade
Blitzen Trapper - Furr
Blitzen Trapper - Lady On the Water
Iron & Wine - Woman King
Iron & Wine - Jezebel
Iron & Wine - Naked As We Came
Iron & Wine - Love And Some Verses
Iron & Wine - Sodom, South Georgia
Iron & Wine - Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
Iron & Wine - Boy With a Coin
Iron & Wine - Peace Beneath the City
Iron & Wine - Resurrection Fern

Monday, November 10, 2008

TOTR 38: Utopia, Dystopia, and the Troubled Economy

Rather than get stuck in the massive moment that was last week, we are moving on. Tonight, we are going to the Big Rock Candy Mountain and beyond. We offer a special nod to Sound Tribe Sector 9 (photo above by Landin E. King) since we saw them last week at an amazing Thursday night show in Nashville (review here). This week, we are talking about utopia, dystopia, and so much more. The troubled economy is a dystopia--or is it?

Assassins - Unworthy of Your Love
Zero Cult - Utopia Train
Bill Laswell - Dystopia
Bassnectar - Heads Up
Femi Kuti - Eh Oh
STS9 - Regeneration
STS9 - Beyond Right Now
STS9 - Empires
STS9 - The New Soma
STS9 - Late For Work
The Smiths - Work Is A Four Letter Word
The Layabouts - Work to be Done
The Layabouts - Ballad of Donna Lewis
The Layabouts - Don't Talk
Julie Delaney - Big Rock Candy Mountain
Demolition Doll Rods - Big Rock Candy Mountain
Infernal Noise Brigade - goat eyes
Infernal Noise Brigade - psa no. 11
Infernal Noise Brigade - uskudar
The Clash - Career Opportunities
The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death
Neil Young - Welfare Mothers
The Highwaymen - Welfare Line
John Lee Hooker - Welfare Blues
Yo-Yo Ma - Simple Gifts

Monday, November 3, 2008

TOTR 37: Mixing The Historical Moment: Election Eve 2008

Voices of the Civil Rights Movement - Woke Up This Morning with My Mind on Freedom

Classic African American Gospel from Smithsonian Folkways - Go Tell It on the Mountain

Sam Cooke - A Change Is Gonna Come

Curtis Mayfield - We're A Winner
Eddie Harris & Les McCann - Compared to What
Charles Wright - Express Yourself
The Staple Singers - Respect Yourself

The Staple Singers - For What It's Worth

The Staple Singers - I'll Take You There

Laura Nyro - Save The Country

Leonard Cohen - Democracy

Stevie Wonder - Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours

John Mayer - Waiting On The World To Change

Dave Stewart & Friends - American Prayer

Malik Yusef w/ Kanye West & Friends - Promised Land
Ozomatli - Love And Hope

Sheryl Crow - Out Of Our Heads

Buddy Miller - Wide River

Ben Harper - Better Way

Bright Eyes - Arc of Time

Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
Arcade Fire - Wake Up

U2 - City of Blinding Lights

John Legend - Pride In The Name Of Love

John Legend - If You're Out There

Teacher On The Radio with Billy Bragg & The Watson Twins in Asheville

Monday, October 27, 2008

TOTR 36: Hope, hype, horror!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Science Fiction/Double Feature
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Over At The Frankenstein Place
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Time Warp
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Sweet Transvestite
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Hot Patootie - Bless My Soul
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - I Can Make You A Man
The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Medley Rose Tint My World Dont Dream It Wild
Assassins - The Ballad of Booth
James C. Batchelor - John Hinkley Blues
Hair - Don't Put It Down
Hair - Where Do I Go
Hair - Frank Mills
Hair - Three-Five-Zero-Zero
Hair - What a Piece of Work Is Man
Hair - Good Morning Starshine
Hair - The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)
MC5 - Ramblin Rose
Chumbawamba - Anarchist
Chumbawamba - Homophobia
Chumbawamba - Mr. Hesseltine Meets His Public
Chumbawamba - The Candidates Find Common Ground
Chumbawamba - Here's the Rest of Your Life
Billy Bragg - O Freedom
Billy Bragg - From Red to Blue

Monday, October 20, 2008

TOTR 35: Research is a Mixtape, part one

As professors, we spend too much time in the iTunes of ideas. For us, a bibliography is just a playlist of philosophy. When I go scavenging in the aesthetic ether for new tunes to share on this show, it's not unlike spending time in the library stacks or on the search engines scholary-ness.

This week, I share the results of having a week off the program last week: extensive digging to distill the sounds of now. All new music to this season--and some of it from bands that are enitrely new to me as well as from the popular ones or old faves with recent releases.

Amanda Palmer - Strength Through Music

The Gaslight Anthem - Old White Lincoln

The Gaslight Anthem - Miles Davis The Cool

The Gaslight Anthem - Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
The Gaslight Anthem - Meet Me By The Rivers Edge

Rise Against - Hero Of War

Dead Confederate - Start Me Laughing
Cold War Kids - Every Valley Is Not A Lake

TV on the Radio - DLZ

Beck - Walls

Of Montreal - Id Engager

The Killers - Human
Keane - Playing Along

James - 72

Mercury Rev - Senses On Fire
Mercury Rev - October Sunshine
Mercury Rev - Faraway From Cars

Brightblack Morning Light - Oppressions Each

Parenthetical Girls - Windmills Of Your Mind

Megapuss - To The Love Within

Megapuss - Another Mother

Blitzen Trapper - Furr

Blitzen Trapper - Saturday Nite

Blitzen Trapper - Stolen Shoes a Rifle

Blitzen Trapper - Lady On the Water

Backyard Tire Fire - Everybodys Down

Backyard Tire Fire - Time With You

Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman - Gone Like Rain

Ray LaMontagne - Henry Nearly Killed Me (Its A Shame)

The Pretenders - You Didnt Have To
Lucinda Williams - If Wishes Were Horses

Monday, October 6, 2008

Libras Rock!!!

Please check out the sites that I consulted to help me compose this playlist:

Rock Birthdays for September

Rock Birthdays for October

The Fugees - Ready Or Not
Ziggy Marley - Love Is My Religion
Peter Tosh - Here Comes the Sun
Chuck Berry - You Never Can Tell
Fleetwood Mac - Dont Stop
Queen - Bicycle Race
10,000 Maniacs -Planned Obsolescence
Sting - Love Is The Seventh Wave
The Human League - (Keep Feeling) Fascination
The Boomtown Rats - I Dont Like Mondays
The Velvet Underground - All Tomorrow's Parties
PJ Harvey - Beautiful Feeling
Julie Andrews - My Favorite Things
John Prine - The Hobo Song
John Wesley Harding - Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, David Blue an
Bruce Springsteen - Froggie Went a Courtin
The Pogues - A Pair Of Brown Eyes
Thom Yorke - Atoms for Peace
Ani DiFranco - Atom
Ani DiFranco - Amazing Grace
John Mellencamp - Dont Need This Body
Jackson Browne - The Drums Of War
Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth
Sean Lennon - Spectacle
John Lennon - God
Art Garfunkel - The Sound of Silence

Monday, September 29, 2008

TOTR 33: My New Fall Faves

"Jenny Lewis" by Landin E. King

Other than tonight's opening track, every song is a recent release, some from late summer but many from last week!

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - The Big Guns
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Jenny Lewis - The Next Messiah
Joan Baez - Mary
Joan Baez - Jericho Road
Old Crow Medicine Show - Motel In Memphis
Old Crow Medicine Show - Tennessee Pusher
Okkervil River - Singer Songwriter
Okkervil River - Blue Tulip
Okkervil River - Calling And Not Calling My Ex
Kings of Leon - Closer
Kings of Leon - Crawl
Kings of Leon - Revelry
Kings of Leon - Be Somebody
Thievery Corporation - Hare Krisna
Thievery Corporation - El Pueblo Unido
TV on the Radio - Halfway Home
TV on the Radio - Crying
TV on the Radio - Stork Owl
TV on the Radio - Family Tree
TV on the Radio - Lovers Day
Michael Franti Spearhead - Hey World (Remote Control Version)
Michael Franti Spearhead - I Got Love For You
Michael Franti Spearhead - Hey World (Dont Give Up Version)

Monday, September 22, 2008

TOTR 32: Hey Jack Kerouac 2008

Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Charles Mingus - Hot House

Jack Kerouac - History Of Bop

Charlie Parker - Nows The Time

Jack Kerouac - San Francisco Scene

Jack Kerouac - Medley San Francisco Blues

10,000 Maniacs -Hey Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac - The Subterraneans

Morphine - Kerouac

Jack Kerouac - Visions Of Neal

Maggie Estep - Skid Row Wine

Juliana Hatfield - Silly Goofball Poems

Jack Kerouac - On The Road (jazz Of The Beat Generation)

Chet Baker - I Married An Angel

Jack Kerouac - On The Road

Thelonius Monk Quartet - I mean you

Monday, September 15, 2008

TOTR 31: Reality Sandwiches at Uncle Ginsy's Audio Cafe

All tracks by Allen Ginsberg!

For poems included in the Portable Beat Reader, I have included page numbers.

Walking at Night in Key West
A Supermarket in California (p. 71)
Sunflower Sutra (p. 72)

First Party at Ken Kesey's (p. 543)

Pacific High Studio Mantras (Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum)

Wichita Vortex Sutra, Pt. 3 (p. 544)
4 A.M. Blues New York Blues New York Youth Call Annunciation
Capitol Air

CIA Dope Calypso

Vomit Express [Alternate Mix]

Prayer Blues

Father Death Blues
Do the Meditation Rock

Monday, September 8, 2008

TOTR 30! Songs for Late Summer

Delta Spirit - People Cmon

Delta Spirit - Strange Vine
Delta Spirit - Ode To Sunshine

Dr. Dog - The Breeze

Dr. Dog - The Old Days

Dr. Dog - The Beach

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - Rise Up with Fists

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins - You Are What You Love
Conor Oberst - Lenders In The Temple

Conor Oberst - Moab

Cold War Kids - Something Is Not Right With Me
Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire

TV on the Radio - Golden Age
Spiritualized - Soul On Fire
Fleet Foxes - Sun it Rises
Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains
My Morning Jacket - Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 1

My Morning Jacket - Smokin from Shootin

My Morning Jacket - Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt. 2

Bruce Springsteen - Youngstown
Bruce Springsteen - Murder Incorporated

Bruce Springsteen - Girls In Their Summer Clothes

John Mellencamp - Jena

John Mellencamp - For The Children

Peter Gabriel - Down to Earth

Monday, September 1, 2008

TOTR 29: The Rothbury Report featuring Tea Leaf Green

Lotus - Greet The Mind
Eoto - graved
Tea Leaf Green - Let Us Go
Tea Leaf Green - Borrowed Time
Tea Leaf Green - One Reason
Tea Leaf Green - Jezebel
Tea Leaf Green - Dont Curse at the Night
Tea Leaf Green - Earth and Sky
Iron Wine - Resurrection Fern
Yonder Mountain String Band - Kentucky Mandolin
Sage Francis - Black Out On White Night
Of Montreal - The Past Is A Grotesque Animal
Widespread Panic - Second Skin
The Dresden Dolls - Coin-Operated Boy
Michael Franti - Yell Fire
Slightly Stoopid - Leaving On A Jet Plane
STS9 - Peaceblaster 68
STS9 - Peaceblaster 08

Monday, August 25, 2008

TOTR 28: Bonnarecap

We are back!!!

MGMT - Weekend Wars

MGMT – Kids

Vampire Weekend - Blakes Got A New Face)

Vampire Weekend - I Stand Corrected

The Grateful Dead - Tennessee Jed

The Raconteurs - Top Yourself

The Raconteurs - Blue Veins

Rilo Kiley - Silver Lining

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

My Morning Jacket - Highly Suspicious

Sly & the Family Stone Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime

My Morning Jacket - Easy Morning Rebel

Against Me! – Up the Cuts

Ozomatli - City Of Angels

Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet – Captain

Iron Wine - Boy With a Coin

Iron Wine - Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car

Pearl Jam - W.M.A

Eddie Vedder And Ben Harper - No More

Kanye West - Jesus Walks

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Rich Woman

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Fortune Teller

Alison Krauss - Down to the River to Pray

Led Zeppelin - The Battle of Evermore

Monday, April 21, 2008

TOTR 27: Spring Fever

Lou Reed - Doin The Things That We Want To

Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not The Man I Used To Be

Hothouse Flowers - I Can See Clearly Now

Ella Fitzgerald - I Got The Spring Fever Blues

Tony Allen - Where The Streets Have No Name

Soweto Gospel Choir - Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Moby - Sweet Apocalypse

Dengue Fever - Seeing Hands

Black Angels - Mission District

Foals - Big Big Love (Fig. 2)

Nick Cave - Jesus Of The Moon

The Duke Spirit - Dog Roses

Wye Oak - A Lawn To Mow

Fire on Fire – Hangman

Antsy Pants - Tree Hugger

Defiance, Ohio - Expect_The_Worst

Billy Bragg - The World Turned Upside Down

Casey Neill - Mayday

The Layabouts - Ballad of Donna Lewis

Hakim Bey – Chaos (edited)

Crow Women - Song of Beltane

Jaiya - Beltane Night

Loreena McKennitt - Huron Beltane Fire Dance

Ashley Ironwood – Forever Wild

Indigo Girls - Southland In The Springtime

Doug Burr - Slow Southern Home

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Homeland Angelogy

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Monday, April 14, 2008

TOTR 26: Write On

Chapter One: “Step Right Up” (Co-host Tony Baker)

Tom Waits - I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You

Tom Waits - Filipino Box Spring Hog

Tom Waits - Mr. Siegal

Tom Waits - Step Right Up

Chapter Two: “there's always another point of view”

The Breeders – Overglazed

The Raconteurs – Hands

The Raconteurs - You Don’t Understand Me

The White Stripes - My Doorbell

The Greenhornes – I’ve Been Down

Chapter Three: “In For the Duration” (Co-host Zach Ludwig)

Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)

U2 - Bullet the Blue Sky

Bob Dylan - License To Kill

Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives

Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms

Supertramp - The Logical Song

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

Monday, April 7, 2008

TOTR 25: "I REMember This . . ."

Ruby Suns - Morning Sun

Miracle Fortress - Have You Seen In Your Dreams

Miracle Fortress - Next Train

Miracle Fortress - Hold Your Secrets To Your Heart

Miracle Fortress – Blasphemy

Throw Me the Statue - Conquering Kids

Emily Haines - Nothing & Nowhere

St. Vincent - Jesus Saves, I Spend

Nellie McKay – Testify

Bon Iver - Skinny Love

The Black Keys – Lies

The Black Keys - Same Old Thing

R.E.M - Moral Kiosk

R.E.M – Harborcoat

R.E.M – Can’t Get There from Here

R.E.M - I Believe

R.E.M - Finest Worksong

R.E.M - I Remember California

R.E.M – Belong

R.E.M - Find the River

R.E.M – Everybody Hurts

R.E.M – What's the Frequency Kenneth?

R.E.M - Man-Sized Wreath

R.E.M - Hollow Man

R.E.M - Until The Day Is Done

Anna Nalick - Shine

REM Scrapbook from December 1985

These are from a road trip to Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana in December 1985 to see REM with the Minutemen opening.

Yes, I skipped school to go (I was a senior at the time). Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, and me!

Monday, March 31, 2008

TOTR 24: The Fool Eclectic

The everybodyfields – The Red Rose

(2004) Halfway There: Electricity and the South

Ramblin Jack Elliott – Don’t Think Twice, Its All Right

Doug Burr - Always Travel Light

(2007) On Promenade

Whiskeytown - Sit & Listen To The Rain

(2001) Pneumonia

Levon Helm – Calvary

(2007) Dirt Farmer

The Middle Class – Bills

(2008) Deep in Debt

The Black Crowes - Locust Street

(2008) Warpaint

The Raconteurs - Old Enough

The Raconteurs - The Switch And The Spur

The Raconteurs - Pull This Blanket Off

The Raconteurs - These Stones Will Shout

The Raconteurs - Carolina Drama

(2008)Consolers of the Lonely

The Raveonettes - Dead Sound

The Raveonettes – Blitzed

The Raveonettes - My Heartbeats Dying

(2008) Lust, Lust, Lust

Thurston Moore - The Shape Is In A Trance

(2007) Trees Outside The Academy

Bob Mould - Again and Again

Bob Mould - Old Highs, New Lows

(2008) District Line

Vampire Weekend – Campus

Vampire Weekend - One (Blakes Got A New Face)

Vampire Weekend - I Stand Corrected

Vampire Weekend - The Kids Dont Stand A Chance

(2008) Vampire Weekend

The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again

(1971) Who’s Next

The Rolling Stones - Fool To Cry

(1976) Black and Blue

Dave Matthews Band - Fool To Think

(2001) Everyday

The Impressions - Fool For You


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out on the Highway (pictures)

My Pang for Twang

My Pang for Twang: Reflections & Ruminations on America’s Beautiful Contradictions from an Alt-country Fan

By Andrew William Smith

prepared for a talk at “Out on the Highway: An Evening of Americana”

Backdoor Playouse, Tennessee Tech, Cookeville, TN

27 March 2008

The theme of tonight’s event “Out on the Highway” is taken from the everybodyfields song that closes the absolutely amazing Nothing is Okay; the lyrics to this song, printed on the back of your program, could easily stand in for this music critic’s chatter as poetic definition of Americana.

(I am wearing many hats tonight—fan, scholar, writer, speaker. But a warning and disclaimer about us music critics—beware. Be forever suspicious of the music critic because we are pencial and typewriter and word-processing prose people, penning essays about something we love but do not practice.)

My appreciation for Americana is less about American myth in the baseball and apple pie sense and more about an American mythopoetics, a conscious construction of new stories to shed new light on old topics. (The term mythopoetics has its etymology grounded in Tolkien, who coined the term in his poem “mythopoeia,” which he wrote to CS Lewis—then an atheist—in 1931).

“Out on the Highway,” then, fits our definition of American mythopoetics and touches on a larger metaphor of mystery and magic: the American road. As Sam sings, “the smell of liquor and gasoline.” Think about the stories of Jack Kerouac o r the songs of Ramblin’ Jack Eliot. Conjure images from movies like Easy Rider, Thelma and Louise, or Into the Wild. Imagine truck drivers watching the sunrise from the roadside to members of the RV set setting out for Florida or a national forest. Or even consider the unwashed masses, from hitchhiking hobos to hippies on summer tour. Whatever picture we paint to accompany this sound, roots music is often rooted in the rootless seduction of the road.

More than 100 years ago, poet Walt Whitman wrote

O highway I travel, do you say to me, Do not leave me?

Do you say, Venture not—if you leave me you are lost?

Do you say, I am already prepared, I am well-beaten and undenied, adhere to me?

O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you, yet I love you,

You express me better than I can express myself,

You shall be more to me than my poem. (112)

While I wish to speak about the musical genre on which this evening’s festivities are focused, I cannot do that in any traditionally textbook sense. Rather, I approach Americana inspired by the great American rock writer and cultural historian Greil Marcus and his approach to rock and roll in Mystery Train and punk rock in Lipstick Traces. This work, as Marcus suggests in Mystery Train, is to “broaden the context in which music is heard” (4).

In this sense, we face genre as an impossible and necessary beast—building boundaries around that which cannot be bound.

The hosts of an Americana radio program on the Rice University station in Houston, Texas grapple with this thorny dilemma directly and eloquently. They write, “To define Americana music as a genre is to take a very narrow view.” This evasive but impressive stance guards against the nitpicking, hairsplitting, and internet turf wars that serious music fans too often get trapped in.

The webzine Americana Homeplace recognizes that “there is really no consistent use of the term,” but writers there take an admirable stab at carving out a definition of the musical genre.

This interpretation of “What is Americana” offers the following helpful markers (and these are quotes):

· traditional American music styles such as traditional folk music and bluegrass

· bluegrass, folk music, blues, zydeco, country rock, and alternative country

· Another common characteristic of Americana is its rural roots. Most Americana styles originated or developed in rural America. Whether it was the Appalachian home of bluegrass, the Mississippi home of the delta blues, or the Louisiana bayou home of cajun and zydeco, all of these styles share a common rural ancestry.

· First, all of these styles exist to some extent outside of the commercial mainstream of popular music. In fact, to many fans, Americana is synonymous with "non-commercial."

Scott Greenberg, host of the “Debts No Honest Man Can Pay” program on WGWG in North Carolina takes some exception to the non-commercial position, claiming, “Americana is a marketing term that kinda bugs me...I prefer to refer to it as roots music.”

Apparently, there may be some basis to this assertion if we were to look at the website of the “professional trade organization” known as the Americana Music Association. In the video presentation “how to deliver new dollars and demos,” we see the marketing mix in its most stripped down and shameless form; according to the sales-pitch, Americana fans are predominately white, male, upper-middle-class, college-educated, and more affluent as a group than any other mainstream music fan base. “Whatever,” I thought, as I heard that.

Like the deejays at the Texas radio station, I am more sympathetic to umbrella definitions of “American cultural music” and “American popular culture”—as imprecise as these may be.

Within the “alt-country” camp of this cultural music, Americana emerged as a reaction against mainstream country—or as a friend recently described it to me, it is country music “if country music were what it meant to be.”

Americana is like America. America boasts beautiful and scary contradictions. Is alternative country perhaps more inclined than mainstream country to embrace the contradictions rather than erase the contradictions?

In The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice, Marcus expounds: “America is a place and a story, made up of exuberance and suspicion, crime and liberation, lynch mobs and escapes; its greatest testaments are made of portents and warnings, biblical allusions that lose all certainty in the American air.”

In Mystery Train, Marcus describes popular music as a “democratic art” and continued to break it down this way: “[O]ur democracy is nothing if not a contradiction: the creed of every man and woman for themselves, and thus the loneliness of separation, and thus the yearning for harmony, and for community.”

Speaking of contradictions, my arrival to Americana and alt-country fandom is an awkward tale at best—because, “Mr. Andy, yer not from around here are you?” A Yankabilly with urban, rust-belt roots, I’ve resided in the hills of Tennessee for more than a decade. Just as some locals had their own stereotypical impressions of a book-smart, lacking-in-horse-sense, fast-talking Midwesterner like me, I had to reassure my friends back home that I had not moved to a foreign country called Redneckistan.

No, I felt about my new neighbors in the backwoods the way writer Henry Miller did when he visited Tennessee in the 1940s and wrote this of the people working the land in The Air-Conditioned Nightmare: “I saw the shacks they live in and wondered if it were possible to put together anything more primitive. But I can’t say that I felt sorry for them. No, they are not the sort of people to inspire pity. On the contrary, one has to admire them. If they represent the ‘backward’ people of America then we need more backward people” (34).

The early years of transition were hard, and falling in love with our regional musical traditions eased the bumpier parts of the ride.

Hearing the echoes of the past in this present, perhaps “old really is the new new.” I know that I have always loved music that predates not only the iPod but the phonograph, and this is music that will outlast all flavors of potential and predicted catastrophe. As much as I appreciate experimental electronic dance music composed on a laptop, it frankly lacks the elegance and endurance of banjo, fiddle, and guitar.

For me, getting this music is like getting religion, getting the holy spirit with some occasional help from the home-made spirits, like the moonshine mentioned in the lyric to “Out on the Highway.” However we name it, this music makes meaningful modern myths about our home (and has made me feel more at home in my adopted home).

Our pang for twang is in our bodies as it is in our spirits as it is in the ground, in the sleepy hollows and Dixie dirt. This is a different kind of American pride, described by the late great maverick nature writer Edward Abbey as “immense and inordinate with a profound and swelling love of the physical land, of the towns and farms, of the many folks I know” (11). The groups playing tonight offer a vast emotional vocabulary of a similar swelling and intoxicating immensity. And I know you really came to hear Jill, Sam, Josh, and Tom, so I will leave the stage for them.

Works Consulted

Abbey, Edward. Confessions of a Barbarian: Selections from the Journals of Edward

Abbey, 1951-1989. Boston: Back Bay, 1994.

Greenburg, Scott. Facebook message. 23 March 1998.

Marcus, Greil. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music. 1975. 4th rev.

ed. New York: Plume, 1997.

——. The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice. New York,

Picador, 2006.

Miller, Henry. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. New York: New Directions, 1945.

“What is ‘Americana’ music?” KTRU Americana Show. 2006. 26 March 2008.

“What Is Americana Music?” Americana Homeplace. 2008. 26 March 2008.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. The Deathbed Edition. 1892. New York: Book of the

Month Club, 1992.