another alphabet post…C me, feel me, touch me, heal me.
The third installment of what may go on for twenty-six ,or could peter out at any moment. The letter C today for your enjoyment. It’s just some stuff I like.
In my continuing quest to fall in love with the music of every female folksinger from Western Massachusetts, you can add Chris Pureka to that list. I’ve had her 2006 title Dryland for a couple of years and she has a new one that released a few weeks ago. And she is crossing the country now in support of it which makes me think I need to drive north or south to see her. Here’s one of those utterly silly critic quotes from NY Times person John Pareles: “…Her tunes have the grave Appalachian flavor of Neil Young and Gillian Welch; her guitar playing is subdued but quietly virtuosic. And her voice can be a desolate whisper or a bitter accusation. There’s no comfort, for her, in the clarity of her observations.” For me, I just like her guitar picking, the songs and the voice. By the way…she’s got two websites..a .net and a .com. The .net is abandoned.
I lost track of Carey Ott after his Dualtone release Lucid Dream. That was one of the great lost albums of the decade in my opinion and it’s nice to see he’s still out there making music. Looks like he’s going the “pledge money” route in trying to record his latest. Lots of artists are doing that lately and it remains to be seen if it’ll work.
Clogs is on their fifth album and I don’t see that ND ever covered them. With their strange mix of chamber music, folk, indie rock and a touch of Americana, their sound is extremely lush and unique. While most of their earlier work is instrumental, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton features vocals with a little operatic touch. Sufjan Stevens guests here.
Caitlin Cary has formed Small Ponds with Proclivities’ lead singer Matt Douglas. They have a lo-tech website that streams three tracks so far, and ditto on My Space. “Bleeding Heart” is the one for me. Seem to be playing in their hometown a bit and I think there may be a video there from the Pour House on You Tube.
Sometimes throwing a label on something helps others quickly associate it with something they already know. And other times that label drives people away because they either are afraid, don’t understand or just don’t like it. I think such is the case with Catie Curtis, who has released at least ten albums and is often tagged as a “lesbian folk singer”. I first heard her music in the mid-nineties and although I liked it enough, it wasn’t in my listening sphere at the time. Last year’s Hello Stranger is a great entry point for those in this community because it reworks some past tunes and fan favorites with a fine line up of acoustic Nashville players and a duet with Mary Gauthier.
My friend Lisa told me about Chad VanGaalen after hearing it on her teenage daughter’s iPod. A Canadian singer-songwriter who has a few albums out and is a Juno award winner, he is not folk, not Americana, not acoustic and not what you might be used to listening to. If I have to, I’d say that he reminds me of Elliot Smith sometimes, and other times not. I don’t love all of his songs, but most of them. If you can navigate to the right website, he’s got an EP download for the taking.
A couple of years ago a Tacoma-based band called Chymes of Freedom released an album called Waiting for The Mystery Train. Because they feature a twelve-string Rickenbacker and their songs have a sixties-style vibe, they are said to sound like artists such as the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. They don’t. However, on five tracks Moby Grape guitarist Jerry Miller plays smoking hot riffs as if it was still the summer of love and its worth the price of admission for that alone.
Want to spend a year in the life of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen? Star-Making Machinery: Inside the Business of Rock and Roll by Geoffrey Stokes was a great book that followed the band as they made that self-titled album back in the seventies. It’s sort of like that Wilco movie where the band goes through a lot of pressure and angst. This one is..I think…out of print but I see Amazon has a couple used ones listed for sale. Thirty-three years old but not too dated because greed is still greed.
Surfing through the Hawaiian music section of a record store is a daunting challenge because it’s like throwing together the Lettermen, Alice Cooper, Benny Goodman and Steve Earle and saying it’s all the same because it comes from the mainland. It’s not. I’m a slack key guitar fan and occasional sort of-player and if you’re looking to test the waters, Cyril Pahinui is a good place to begin. The title Four Hands Sweet and Hot with steel guitarist Bob Brozman is the one.
This morning NPR did a story on cyber storage for entertainment media. Focusing on the rapidly declining sales of DVD’s for the past three years, it tracked a couple of collectors who just can’t seem to fathom the loss of physical goods in the not to distant future. Same as with record and book collectors. I’m not a kid and didn’t grow up with computers and the internet, but I don’t fear not having CDs sitting on the shelf, or replacing the last of my vinyl collection with digital files. For me, it actually seems liberating these days to not have to acquire objects that take up space in my home. We’re not there yet, but it’s coming.