Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blame It All On My Roots

Self awareness can be crippling.  It’s a little late in the game to be discovering myself.  Only now am I beginning to comprehend that there’s no hiding the ancestral dirt under my fingernails.

I eagerly cued up Benjamin Clementine’s At Least For Now after it won the Mercury Prize last week.  I found his art-rock so irksome that I was compelled to retreat to the latest albums from Toby Keith and George Strait. 

By most critical measures neither 35 MPH Town nor Cold Beer Conversation are superior to At Least For Now.  Yet the conventional country albums are part of my musical DNA.

I sometimes envy the rarefied people who were raised on Kurt Weill and the Brandenburg Concertos even though growing up on Waylon Jennings and Stevie Wonder probably better prepared me for the world.  While my passion for forms like free jazz is genuine, it’s self-taught.

Keith and Strait, consequently, sound like my home turf while Clementine strikes me as a pretentious twit.  It can’t be helped. 

Jason Isbell seems to be singing to me on the opening track of Something More Than Free:  “I got too far from my raisin’, I forgot where I come from.”

I reviewed Jackson Browne’s concert at the Music Hall.

I reviewed Diana Krall’s return to the Midland theater.

I wrote an essay about Adele and Allen Stone for Ink magazine.

P.F. Sloan has died.

Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba's Ba Power is wondrous.  RIYL: Malian music, Ali Farke Touré, life.

The bland pop of Julieta Venegas’ Algo Sucede saddens me.  Here’s the title track.

The trailer for the new documentary “Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story” is promising.

Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle is RIYL: Michelle Shocked’s The Texas Campfire Tapes, tears, Joni Mitchell’s Blue.

The Matthew Shipp Trio plays it straight on The Conduct of Jazz.  RIYL: Thelonious Monk, a semblance of structure, Cecil Taylor.

Stop the presses- Con Funk Shun has released a new album!  The video for ”More Than Love” is… something.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

1 comment:

bgo said...

Speaking of musical DNA, Sly & The Family Stone were a huge part of mine. Please give a shout out about the passing of Cynthia Robinson (she's still on the throne in my mind).

Toby Keith is a good man and a stand-up fellow. His PR gal is a good Facebook friend who keeps us informed about his good deeds. And yes, I like most of his music too.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.