Known Johnson

December 2, 2007

The news that’s fit to print

Filed under: In the ears, on my mind,Music — Tom @ 11:05 pm

I was pretty excited to find a $5.00 Borders Bucks thing in my email – I also had found a 30% off coupon. Paired together, that’s some serious savings, and I knew just what I wanted: David Byrne’s The Knee Plays, a newly expanded remaster of music he created for little segments in between larger movements in Robert Wilson’s opera, the CIVIL warS. Off to Borders I went, and $8 or so later, it was in my CD player, entertaining and amazing me. How had I ignored this? Easy – it had never been on CD before! I’ve ignored Byrne’s solo career far too long. Why, I’m not sure exactly – it’s complicated, but it involves having one vision of the band and then the solo music throws a whole new viewpoint on things before I’m quite ready for it. Now I’m ready.

Given the number of computer and hard drive issues I’ve been having this week, I’m just holding off ripping CDs. I’ve got a little stack sitting here, too, just itching to be ripped. I got my package of new stuff from Greenleaf Music (Dave Douglas’ label) so I have the new Drew Gress, The Irrational Numbers (a stunner!) to rip along with his earlier Spin & Drift (haven’t listened yet – don’t expect a let down, however,) both of which were bought with 7 Black Butterflies for a steal at $25. $8.33 each? Do it – while you can!

Not only that, I also have the new Joe Henry, Civilians, which features Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz on every song and appearances by Van Dyke Parks and Loudon Wainwright III. How have I been missing this guy? I only knew him as a producer, but when I saw this listed as one of the year’s best, I had to give it a listen. About 10 seconds into the first clip, I thought, “Hey, that sounds an awful lot like Bill Frisell.” I didn’t buy it for Frisell – I’m not that dedicated – but his contributions sure are nice. Joe Henry – wow. Really good, gritty, dark singer-songwriter stuff, exactly the way I like it. Despite my late exposure to it, it’s entirely possible this could sneak on my best o’ 2007 list . . .

If you’re looking for music geeks geeking out about music, you can’t really find a much better podcast than The B-Sides Concept Album – at least based on one airing so far. That one show was primarily on Springsteen, of whom I’m not particularly a fan (though I’ve issued the dare – convince me I’m wrong!) I found this show highly entertaining because host Josh (of official Friend of Lookout for Hope, Confessions of a Fanboy) just has that radio personality going – he hooks you and you have to listen to hear what he’s going to say next. Trust me, if I sat and listened to these guys talk about obscure Springsteen album tracks and b-sides for an hour, it has to be good. Give it a shot.

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