Header Image - Getting the words out by any means possible.

How We Arrive in the Present

by Jonathan 0 Comments

We’ve all ridden to the present in our own homemade jalopies bristling and clanking and whistling with every bit of where we’ve been, what we see, who we’ve met, what we’ve done, why and how we’ve done it . The road ain’t always pretty or easy to travel. Sometimes it’s full of potholes, sometimes it’s no road at all, just trackless wilderness. Pieces fall away and new ones get scabbed in their place. And sometimes, if we’re lucky and we’ve endured, we come out on the other side with something to give.

Like these guys.

If you think this just applies to artists, your road’s been a tunnel or you slapped blinders on yourself somewhere along the way.  If we can climb out of our own cavernous holes long enough to look around and survey the landscape, we can find it everywhere we look. And we should.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

by Jonathan 1 Comment

I heard the news that Gil Scott-Heron died last night and thought, “that’s a bummer.” Rarely have I heard anyone’s anger come through so clearly in their music.

It’s not my nature to get political here. That said, maybe it’s time. I’m not black. I don’t live in the ghetto. I’m the man, a middle-aged (can that be true?) white guy. I haven’t been oppressed. I don’t pretend to feel Scott-Heron’s righteous anger.

But I was talking with my brother today and he said, “Gil Scott-Heron died.”
“I heard,” I said.
“The revolution will not be televised,” he said. “No truer words have ever been spoken.”

We talked more about the disintegration of personal rights, of how our government serves the people of the U.S. less everyday and the corporate interests more and more. As always, the conversation went on and I became overwhelmed and angry and depressed at how helpless I feel. I have no doubt that’s the plan.

Listening to this–

— I am struck by how universal these words are in 2011. We are all under siege and I wonder what final thievery will be the last. What will be too much for the people to bear at the hands of those who, when they walk on the streets of the towns and cities, see only voters and labor, tools to fill their pockets? What will it take for us as a nation to pour out our 32 oz. Cokes and turn off New Jersey Housewives and put down our copy of People long enough to notice our own complicity in the snow job the people in power are perpetrating upon us?

I don’t know the answer, but you can be damn sure the revolution will not be televised.

Buried

by Jonathan 1 Comment

I currently reside under an avalanche of travel, sickness and work. And it’s all good. For this lovely Sunday, I thought I’d share my writing playlist, a list I’ve cultivated and refined over the last two years. Here goes:

Tom Waits – Orphans, Real Gone, Frank’s Wild Years, Alice, Mule Variations and Bone Machine

Bonnie Prince Billy – Master and Everyone

Hans Zimmer – Black Hawk Down, Gladiator and Inception soundtracks

Jeff Beal – Rome (HBO) Soundtrack

Howard Shore – The Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack

Mark Mothersbaugh – Rushmore

Ali Farka Toure – World

Ernest Ranglin – Below the Bassline

Ibrahim Ferrer – The Buena Vista Social Club Presents Ibrahim Ferrer

John Jorgenson – Franco-American Swing

 

Leo Kottke – 6- and 12-String Guitar

St. Germain – Tourist

Wes Montgomery – April 2, 1965-Vara Radio Studio 7-Hilversum, Holland

Los Super 7 – Canto

Marc Ribot and Los Cubanos Postizos – The Prosthetic Cubans

Ray LaMontagne – Till the Sun Turns Black

Bill Frisell – The Intercontinentals

Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli – Souvenirs

David Grisman and Tony Rice – Tone Poems

Chris Thile – Not All Who Wander Are Lost

I’ve got these spread over three or four playlists, using them depending on my mood and the mood of the scene I’m writing at the time.

Thank God for music.