i read the news today, oh boy

I’ve been busy, dear reader, trying to meet deadlines. Hitting some of them, missing others. For example, I recently submitted an application for summer research money from a federal source; if I get it, I’ll let you know, but if you don’t hear anything, well… More applications will be submitted in the coming months. You can’t hit the ball if you don’t take a swing. And I’m going to swing a lot this year. I’m very caffeinated lately, which usually results in panic attacks but which is working fine this semester, so keep those Americano’s comin’!

It’s raining in Kansas City today, which I like. I used to be more of a sunshine guy, but it was very dry for a long time when we first moved here in 2002, and I missed living in Maryland where we were a 25-minute drive away from the Chesapeake Bay. So when it finally started raining, it felt really good. Now I welcome the rainy days.

Can anyone loan me $50,000? Scott suggested a tuning, and I’ve been trying it out. If Chris had posted about three hours earlier, I’d be on a different tack right now. As a musician, I have a tendency to stay in my comfort zone, and I’d like to set up guidelines that push myself outside of that zone. DADGGD tuning is pretty cool, and I’ve been doodling around with different sounds in that tuning.

I’ve been daydreaming about buying an small, vintage tube amp. Compared to the modern, solid-state stuff, the tube amps are supposed to sound warmer and have more character. Hunting around on eBay, I’ve seen a number of tempting little guys, amps from as long ago as 50 years for under $300. I’m not seriously in the market, yet, but maybe in the next year or so.

There’s a nice profile of musicians Gillian Welch and David Rawlings in the New Yorker. Their music is hypnotic and haunting. In a different region of the alt.country nation, Son Volt is getting back in the studio to record another album, which is welcome news. But the only original member of the band participating is Jay Farrar, and boy, are people on the message boards mad! Starting October 12, you can watch via webcam as the recording sessions take place.

And this brings me to yet another alt.country observation. Last night I was listening to Van Lear Rose, the recent Loretta Lynn album, produced by Jack White of the White Stripes. It’s a pretty good album, but not great. Compared to your average Son Volt album, the arrangements are just not very interesting. Jay Farrar (or maybe the now-non-Son-Volt Boquist brothers) should be working with Loretta Lynn, not Jack White. But ever since Uncle Tupelo broke up (resulting in the creation of two new bands), Farrar’s career has been pretty haphazard, unfortunately. Son Volt just flamed out after three albums, while Wilco has experienced a slow burn to their current prominent place of respectable sales and critical acclaim. Ah, the uncertainties of an artistic career.

Finally, what kind of country do we live in where someone can be in prison, serving a “sentence for having sex while HIV positive“? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: America has jumped the shark.

“I can’t stop thinking that it doesn’t have to be this way,” Jay Farrar

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3 thoughts on “i read the news today, oh boy

  1. I like Van Lear Rose, though. The spare arrangements help clear the way for Loretta’s voice, which is fun to listen to. And I imagine there’s only so far even Jay Farrar could have pushed her away from what she’s comfortable with.

  2. I’ve been playing in that tuning for years now, and I’ve gotten to the point where I can usually play whatever I need to play in it. I’ll be happy to share some tracks recorded in it with you, if you like. Just let me know.

  3. While I understand there was no mention of such in the article about the sentenced woman, I think it’s worth noting that there’s malicious intent in purposefully trying to infect an unknowing partner with HIV, which the language in this article doesn’t rule out. While I’m in no position to speak on whether or not it’s actually criminal, I can certainly understand if it was.

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