Sunday, April 20, 2014

Albums for Easter listening:

Here are five restorative albums to spin today, while you’re making egg salad and breathing fresh spring air.  It’s a mix of folk, country, funk, and gospel, good for this or any Sunday morning coming down.

Johnny Cash, American 2: Unchained


The Mountain Goats, The Life of the World to Come


Sufjan Stevens, Seven Swans


The Blind Boys of Alabama, Spirit of the Century


Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash- Girl From the North Country

I’ve been in the shit for a few weeks now, and this song is what I come back to.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I thought today that I’d never really seen pictures of the young June Carter, just of later years, usually with Johnny Cash.  Also, my image of her was colored strongly by her famous portrayal by Reese Witherspoon (though I have yet to see the Jewel made-for-TV portrayal).

She’s quite a beautiful younger woman, in a Katherine Hepburn sort of way.  I’ve always hated that people feel obliged to refer to Kate Hepburn as “handsome”, rather than beautiful.  She was a beauty without question or qualification, and I’ve often thought that the “handsome” trend was born from intimidation.

Photos taken from Legacy Recordings.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Johnny Cash & Linda Ronstadt-  I Never Will Marry

Friday, May 24, 2013

Johnny Cash- Wichita Lineman

Some songs are so true that they’re beautiful, or so beautiful that they’re true.  For this one, take your pick.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Johnny Cash and Neil Young - Little Drummer Boy

So this duet really happened.  Kind of amazing that this exists.  I’m starting the Christmas barrage a day early just because this is kinda cool.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Johnny Cash- I Walk The Line (live on Tex Ritter)

Here’s 23-year-old JR playing live on television.  So strange to see him so young with that deep, soulful, world-weary voice.  But then you see the eyes, and it all comes together.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Johnny Cash- Tennessee Flat-Top Box

This has turned out being my favorite song for those random moments of downtime this summer.  It’s just too easy to pick up a guitar and rip into it.  Playing that little Luther Perkins solo is downright addictive.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Rosanne Cash and Johnny Cash- September When It Comes

I’ve always liked Rosanne Cash a lot.  She has so much soul, which is maybe the result of being the daughter of an icon, for better or for worse.

Monday, April 23, 2012 Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Johnny Cash- Tiger Whitehead  

It’s not the sort of thing I’d play at a party, but Johnny Cash’s Personal File recordings are a genuine treasure.  For one thing, it’s a chance to hear Cash play solo acoustic in the early 70’s, with his voice at its peak.  However, I’m most enamored with having a chance to hear this side of a legend, and to find that in his private moments, Cash was very much like the man who played in public: insightful, earnest, sympathetic, and a lover of music.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Johnny Cash- Ghost Riders in the Sky

Here’s a ghost story for Halloween, told by the baddest man of them all.

Fun tip:  try to sing your school’s alma mater to this tune.  It always works.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Johnny Cash- Hard Times

This is one of my mini-rants.  Be forewarned.

I’m not really much of a dreamer, which is downright deadly if you’re in my profession and situation.  But flights of fancy are not my thing; on those occasions when I’ve deceived myself, the deception has been an honest mistake.

Therefore, I’m not sitting here pretending that the world (read: economy, politics, culture) is in a wonderful and beautiful place right now.  I am, however, sick to death of people obsessing over it, as if we, the human inhabitants of the Earth in the 21st century AD, somehow invented a new form of misery.

Yes, yes, I get it: the world is going to Hell, and it’s all because we’re lazy and greedy and socialists and uneducated and full of ourselves.  People can’t find jobs anymore, the Chinese are preparing to eat the West alive (perhaps literally), and (insert politician here) isn’t doing a damn thing about it.

I’m not the most stoic person you’ll probably never meet, but please, can we, as a species, get over this already?  Times like these come and go, and we keep going.  It’s happened before, and it will happen again. 

Exhibit number one, as heard above: Stephen Foster.  A lot is made of the bliss of simpler times, and of course it’s nonsense.  His songs tell about a country at once bound and torn apart by the extensive horizons within it.  People are always traveling great distances with optimism and regret in Foster’s music, and they both crave the future and fear the loss of the past.  And through it all, life’s small joys and daily hardships are wound into the narrative.

When you get rid of the obnoxious minstrel show sheen that was added to the songs, and strip them down to their core essence, you get the story of a place and a people forever distraught from the anxiety of changing times.  Even though it’s been a century and a half of changes since he wrote this song, that place and those people are still here, still living and dying as always, in a world that changes faster than we’d like.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Ray Charles- Ring of Fire

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This is killing me this morning.


Johnny Cash clip from hilarious and charming music doc Shakespeare Was a Big George Jones Fan: Cowboy Jack Clement’s Home Movies. Highly recommended.