Imaginary Cities

No reason not to take a quick break from weightier matters to discuss something more pleasant. Chris Potter is part of Pat Metheny’s Unity Band. Imaginary Cities is a personal project of his. It’s recorded on ECM and if you are a fan of the label’s predisposition towards airy, abstract jazz recordings then you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great album to listen to when you’re trying to get some (mental) work done. More information here.

“I’ll Keep My Word And My Seat”

John Mayer’s four-song EP is out now. One of the songs is brilliant, two are forgettable, and one is a mashup of other great songs, consciously and ironically performed. I think this is the brilliant one. If you can’t think of at least one woman when you hear this song, you’re dead inside. Lyrics after the jump.

A great big bang and dinosaurs
Fiery rain and meteors
It all ends unfortunately
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
Just wait and see

Parts of me were made by you
And planets keep their distance too
The moon’s got a grip on the sea
And you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
It’s your destiny

Life is full of sweet mistakes
And love’s an honest one to make
Time leaves no fruit on the tree
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
It’s just meant to be

And when the pastor asks the pews
For reasons he can’t marry you
I’ll keep my word and my seat
But you’re gonna live forever in me, I guarantee
Just wait and see

In Which A Food Safety Issue Leads To A Tasty Deal On An Old Guitar

“The Subway that way,” Danger Girl said, pointing north from the entrance to our neighborhood, “is closed. I guess that means…”

“…we can go to the dirty Subway,” I replied. “Sure, what the hell.” Until recently, and from the time it had opened a decade or so ago, the Subway a mile or so south from our house had been owned by an old-school Columbus family. My mother used to babysit one of the children. The father was this tall, aristocratic type. He had a black 928GT five-speed twenty-five years ago, back when those cars cost twice what a 911 did. I don’t know how they fell into the Subway business but they did it as you’d expect; the owner’s name was on a plaque next to the cash register and at any time day or night you could have performed an open-heart surgery in the dining area without worrying about contamination.

I don’t know who bought it from them but about two weeks after the plaque with the owner’s name went down, the employee rotation underwent a complete change. The staff of sometimes dim-witted but always conscientious high-school students gave way to a group of short, sullen South Indians. Their English is, to be fair, better than my Telugu, but it rarely verges on the comprehensible. They’re all very nice people, and they are clearly trying very hard, but they don’t observe the same standards of hygiene that the old owners did. The tables are fuzzy, the floor is sticky. I stopped by over the summer and saw a small colony of ants working their way through the cookie rack. That was the end of my Subway cookie habit.

It’s the dirty Subway. But I still patronize the place, mostly out of stubbornness and a determination not to be all white-privilege about whether floors should be mopped. And now that the Subway to the north of us is closed, it’s the only one within a mile or so. So Danger Girl and I took a deep breath and she pulled out onto the main road, headed south for lunch.

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Wednesday Night Video RETURNS!

It’s been fourteen months since Patrick and I cranked out a video for our, um, fans. I want to very clearly put the blame on him; although I’ve been fairly busy with racing and writing and whatnot, Patrick has been in a stage production and like three different bands during that time. But we will let bygones be bygones. Tonight’s tune is off the first Izzy Stradlin record: “Shuffle It All”. As is always the case, we meet up around 9PM and do the video at 10PM and then we have a few drinks. Or vice versa. Anyway, here you go. My brother, were he to watch this, which he will not, would castigate me for having the lyrics on my Kindle Fire. What can I say. I could not remember them.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Leon

I would be remiss not to mention Leon Russell. He’s best known to most of us as the fellow who made Joe Cocker a star, however briefly, by putting together a rigorously-rehearsed, inhumanly competent touring band then putting Cocker up front to shake and rattle. Leon Russell was a great songwriter, hampered as a solo artist by his acquired-taste voice. But the thing I loved best about the man was a quote from an interview he did a few years ago. The writer was waiting for him in the dressing room before a show. Leon shuffled in — an old man, desperately tired and ill from numerous different chronic problems that would eventually kill him. He shook the writer’s hand. Then he said, “Give a minute to get into my Leon Russell outfit.” He came back in his late-trademark all-white suit, groomed and energetic, ready to do business.

Leon understood the idea that to perform is to step outside yourself. He never confused himself with Leon Russell. Any of us who perform music for an audience, or who write for one, should remember that same basic, humbling lesson.

‘Till You Come Back To Me

My brother likes to say that no song is a hit until a producer gets involved. What he means by that, I think, is that we don’t fall in love with a tune; we fall in love with a production. “Reelin’ In The Years”, “What You Won’t Do For Love”, “Blurred Lines”, or “Bust A Move”: these are all songs that depend on their production, and the input of the studio players, for their appeal. When I’m bored at my lunch gig, sometimes I’ll play a mash-up of “Royals” by Lorde, “More Than A Feelin'” by Boston, and “Sweet Home Alabama” by you better f**king know who did “Sweet Home Alabama”. They are all the same song. The same is true for “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles. Same song, two very different productions, two blockbuster hits.

Sometimes it’s not even the production as a whole that makes a song. Sometimes it’s one musician, paid by the hour to “punch it up” a bit. Click the jump, and I’ll show you how one of my all-time favorite tunes relies on a studio extra.

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Meetup Alert: Come Hang With Bark In Indianapolis This Weekend

barkandjeffjensen

The rumors are true—while cleaning out my bonus room I found my saxophone hidden under a pile of children’s toys. Figured I might as well use it. As a result, I’m playing with the Jeff Jensen Band this weekend at the Slippery Noodle on Friday and Saturday nights. We hit at 9:00 PM and go until 1:30 AM or so. The Noodle is the oldest bar in the great State of Indiana, and it’s located right in downtown Indianapolis on the corner of Meridian and Fourth Streets.

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Our Last Time, Except For One

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Long-time readers of this site will recall my ill-fated MelodyBurner project. We had a great product, great publicity, strong enthusiasm from the customer base, and the potential for some major-name celebrity endorsements. The only problem was this: my partner in the project, Chris, didn’t want to do it. So the MelodyBurner thing is done. If you have one of the guitars, you’re a lucky S.O.B.

Between December of 2011 and September of 2015, I commissioned six guitars from Chris in addition to the MelodyBurners. I sold two of them and retained two for my own collection. Those of you who are particularly adept at math will notice that two plus two does not equal six, and you’d be right. There were two guitars that I ordered back in August of 2012 that just never showed up. I let Chris slide on this because he was (supposed to be) busy with MelodyBurners. Once that project ended, I lost my patience and called in my marker.

This past weekend, my two guitars arrived. One of them is kind of a mess; it’s unfinished and will require some major re-work by another shop to make right. The other one is the guitar you see above. There’s kind of an interesting story behind it, which I’ll share after the jump.

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There Were Giants In Those Days

There’s just so much to like in this video. The introduction… full of yachts, B-body wagons, people having fun, pretty girls who are now in their late fifties and early sixties. Try not to think about that. Most of all, you have an absolutely crack band ripping shit up. Where’s my time machine when I need it?