Saturday, December 31, 2011


oddly enough, i'm feeling like i've gone down the rabbit hole but i only spent six months w/several brain-addled folks. alice or all her pills couldn't have helped much but we're hoping for a better new year.

i just chased this down after hearing about it. ms welch & mr rawlings(& if the sight on his ten gallon hat doesn't do it for you, someone needs to check your pulse) do it justice &, i think, improve on the original.

happy new year.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


"big bags of sand/ until they came/
the flattering end/
of the world/
the gulls were swooping and gulping and filling/
the bags/
as helpful creatures everywhere were helping/
to end/
the world/
so we could be together at last one by one

there were some powerful ladies painting in ny city right at the mid-point of the 20th century. joan mitchell, jane freilicher, elaine de kooning, lee krasner, helen frankenthaler. i was first made aware of them through o'hara's poems. the testosterone fueled abstract expressionists wouldn't have made it easy for them to be taken seriously but, as the following article mentions, the next group of men were heavily "influenced" by frankenthaler's technique(& colors, which always appealed to me). of course, the real story is that noland & louis simply copied her & took the credit(since she was having a hard time being "shown" around town).

"Helen Frankenthaler, the pioneering American abstractionist, whose preferred technique of staining thinned paints into unprimed canvas became the hallmark of Color Field painting, died today at her home in Darien, Conn. She was 83.

Born to wealthy New Yorkers, Frankenthaler attended high school at New York's Dalton School (1945) and college at Bennington in Vermont, studying with Paul Feeley and graduating in 1949. In 1950 she met Clement Greenberg, and a five-year-long relationship with the influential New York critic ensued. Equally significant for the young artist was her friendship with the New York School poet and curator Frank O'Hara, whom she met in 1951 and remained close to until his death in 1966. Frankenthaler and O'Hara were among the brilliant artists and poets associated with Tibor de Nagy Gallery, directed in the 1950s by John Bernard Myers; she had her first solo show there in 1951. She was friends with all the major Abstract Expressionist painters, and in 1958 married Robert Motherwell. They divorced in 1971.

In 1952, following a trip to Nova Scotia, Frankenthaler produced her transformative painting Mountains and Sea (currently on extended loan to the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.) by applying thinned, delicately pigmented oils to unprimed canvas attached to the floor. She was not the first to use what she called a "soak-stain" technique, but artists prior to her had stained their canvases only selectively. Here, in combination with charcoal drawing, Frankenthaler deployed staining as her primary technique on a scale (the painting was 7-1/2 by 9 feet) that rivaled "first-generation" Abstract Expressionist colossi.

She notably departed from her predecessors, favoring an unfinished look, refined palette and overtly lyrical quality, as well as a fairly explicit conjuring of landscape elements. Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland saw Mountains and Sea in Frankenthaler's studio in 1953, and her stained canvases influenced them and other Color Field painters.

Frankenthaler disliked being identified as a "lady painter" (unlike Joan Mitchell, who used the sobriquet defiantly), though she was one of just a few female Abstract Expressionists to be critically noted from the start. She was given a retrospective at the Jewish Museum early on, in 1960, when O'Hara was still a curator there, and in 1969 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. A large exhibition of works on paper was mounted at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1985, and in 1989 she had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

She was also an important printmaker, experimenting first in lithography at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) in 1961, but exploring all print mediums at one time or another. Her most significant contribution was in woodcut, in which she grew quite adventurous, particularly in her collaborations with master printer Ken Tyler, with whom she began working in 1976. Using porous handmade paper and numerous blocks, Frankenthaler conceived over a dozen large-scale woodcut projects in which a subtle, dreamy painterliness defies the inherently graphic nature of the medium. There was a traveling retrospective of her prints at the National Gallery of Art in 1993, and, in 2002, a survey of her 23 woodcut projects at the Yale University Art Gallery and Naples Museum of Art, in Florida.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


not really a song of joy & peace, more like those rueful end of the year reflections we're all prone to subjecting ourselves to, ms mitchell was writing some potent stuff way back when. lynn & i saw her in tuscaloosa a few years after blue was released. she did a ton of new material that night & most of it didn't show up on albums for several years after. the only other performer i've seen do that was leonard cohen in atlanta. he did half a dozen new songs over the two nights we saw him & it took nearly 10 years for those songs to show up on official album releases.

this is my melancholy c'mas offering.
happy holidays.


i can't think of anything that represented action in the late 20th century more than a car. judging by the many commercials for the damned things on tv, it seems like it still carries that meaning, now semiotically. mid-20th century american painting was dominated by the abstract expressionists, pollock & de kooning particularly. theirs was an art defined by action, by drips & swirls & slashing smears. chamberlain just took that idea & made it 3 dimensional. i say "just" but it involved a big jump for sculptural art at the time & it operated on many levels. there was the tangential reference to de kooning but there was the implicit critique of consumerism & the rejection of the minimalist "object." duchamp's ready-mades were lurking in the background & maybe even a critique of the museum.

i think he came to the color much later &, personally, i like it. that first piece looks like what frank stella was putting on walls just recently.

many of the new college sculpture students apprenticed w/chamberlain. his studio was somewhere on the purlieus of a bad neighborhood in sarasota as i recall. according to a few of the new college students, chamberlain had many bad habits. the common idea was that he wasn't going to last very long. that was back in the 80s. he lasted a long while past all predictions to the contrary & i think his art will pull him along for a longer while still.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


sitting here on c'mas eve, w/a bad year behind me, i still can't complain too much about anything. i have my health(kind of)& ann & our beautiful cats. i've got some friends & only a couple of enemies & that's not too bad considering the wayward course my life has taken. like mr johnson's cat, carlton, w/death & darkness all around, it is finally our resolve to act & then acting that saves the day. i feel too young to die.

Monday, December 19, 2011


with etta james near to shuffling off her mortal coil, this news was not necessarily surprising but still a little sad. i started listening to ms evora during the last year or so of the outrigger. this song was the first song on the first album i owned by her, miss perfumado(1992). her music was beautifully intoxicating, delicate but alive w/an insistent rhythm. the band here does a fine job & her voice is a treasure to behold & savor.
i guess that annual rush of end of the year deaths has begun.

Friday, December 16, 2011


the reports sound bad. her condition is "terminal." apparently, there are some issues about her care(her two sons want her in the hospital, while it seems like she's in hospice care)but when she goes, she leaves chuck berry as the last living chess artist. if you think those chess recordings of hers were the last time she rocked or was relevant, check out her newest album, the dreamer, released just last month. christ, she moved me w/her version of a guns & roses' song. THAT is an artist.

this song was & still is electrifying. those horns just propel the song but it's her voice that closes the deal. the full range of her vocal textures reveal themselves as she importunes her way-ward lover to relieve himself of his burdens & offers to take them on herself. how could anyone resist?

i heard this song for the first time done by marcia ball at the maple leaf bar in new orleans eons ago. i remember being utterly floored by the simple but stunningly radical admission the singer makes. now THAT is love!, i thought to myself. i stuck w/marcia's version for a long time, mainly because of the fond memories of the maple leaf, nan, steph & joe & how astonished i was by the desperate kind of love the song invokes. ms. ball would be the first to acknowledge the superiority of ms. james' version.


by Richard Hoffman

What I have given to sorrow,
though I have poured out
all I am again and again,
does not amount to much.

One winter’s snows.
Two loves I could not welcome.
A year of mostly silence.
Another man I might have been

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Not Beyond All Conjecture

December 10th, 2011
John Ashbery

Oblivion scattereth her poppy, and besides
it’s time to go inside now,
feed the aggressive pets, forgive our trespasses
for trespassing against us.

Other times
monotony is like a cave, the air is fresh,
tedium tonic.

We lie in a museum of helpful objects,
leaning toward the accomplishment of a small,
complicated task, like sailors in rigging.
Something no American has yet achieved

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


philip used to sit in stair-wells & practice his guitar. of course, it was a way for him to meet tourist girls out on p'beach but i will say he always sounded good w/that echo amplifying his voice & finger-picking.

these girls sound pretty good too. neko posted: "wow! that just made me bawl my eyes out. what beautiful singers! i'm not worthy...holy god! they broke the shit out of my heart!" i remember watching neko cry when jesse winchester sang "sham-a-ling-dong-ding' on elvis costello's show. seeing beauty weep because of beauty is quite a sight to behold.

these are canadian school kids & this song really speaks to that experience in a lovely way. their school in peterborough ontario is being closed & this is a kind of protest.

here's where you can get that story:


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


their new album el camino is on my top albums list of 2011. they keep finding & exploring variations to their fundamental equation which adds depth & range while staying true to the original project. their unwavering devotion to that project is the first step on the visionary journey they began back in akron, ohio in 2001.


Monday, November 28, 2011


my last time in the city of my dreams i sat w/mr robicheaux in molly's. we took turns buying each other shots of tequila for several hours. he talked about fess & booker & earl king & cosimo. he invited me to lunch(someone else was buying)but i declined, knowing that i was headed for a tequila-induced nap.

sitting there w/mr wu the cat as our only audience & the decatur st morning slowly unfolding outside the large open street window of molly's, i simply listened to coco spin out a non-stop monologue about everything i love.

what a gift.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


there's not much out there of mickey video-wise & i just stumbled onto this gorgeous piece at the no depression website. it covers all of the bases, as far as his appeal to me goes: voice, lyrics, & emotive delivery w/quiet grace & power. o, & he's doing it live too.


Thursday, November 17, 2011


this is black dub.
that's daniel lanois, brady blade, & daryl johnson laying down an incredible groove for trixie whitley to slip & slide along w/jaw-dropping intensity. there's quite a story behind these folks working together(it has a lot to do w/ms. whitley's father, the late, much & deservedly lamented, chris whitley). i'm just going to let this beauty speak for itself.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


At North Farm
Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?

Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings?

John Ashbery
born july 28 1927

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


i think it may be impossible to understand what visual artists were faced w/at the end of the 20th century after pollock & warhol had answered picasso & duchamp. i'm not even sure a lot of them knew that pollock & warhol had answered the old man & the scamp. pollock's solutions seemed more of a cul de sac, while warhol seemed to open a lot of possibilites while closing off where & what an "artist" might do to "create art". the bone had really been gnawed nearly bare.

i think ellsworth kelly & cy twombly had some answers that kept them operating in an area that pushed irony away & still embraced art & the project of the artist. tracking the evolution of "olympia" from manet through dubuffet to twombly is a way of getting a sense of how visual artists approach the issue of tradition, innovation, & how working both produces a real & true advance.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


it does not seem a distant memory seeing carrie dancing to the dirty dozen brass band down in sarasota at the ringling art museum & thinking that this music would lift new orleans & it's incredible music scene up into the big time. at the time, james booker was still alive & katrina existed only as an abstact possibility in a world of seemingly deeper & clearer certitude.

booker died soon after & the dozen never exploded onto the music scene the way that anyone & everyone just knew they would if only anyone & everyone could see them perform live. we also know now that possibilites spin through the certain world in endless combinations but every so often they manifest in astonishing ways both good & bad.

before all that, right about the time carrie was dancing away, a group of young black kids started playing together in the treme neighborhood. they would take the lessons of the dirty dozen & move them further into contemporary music & on into the 21st century. the marching brass bands of new orleans would begin to incorporate funk & modern jazz & hip-hop while working within the brass band tradition. following the great modern dictum, they were making their tradition new. in fact, they were making "it out of a mouthful of air."

just last year, nan & i got to see the rebirth at the ogden museum of art in new orleans. to say that they rocked the joint is indulging in understatement. what struck me most about their nearly flamable performance was the mix of the crowd. high school kids, tulane preppies, businessmen & the blue bloods of new orleans high society were not just tolerating the rebirth while sipping cocktails; they were dancing their asses off.

i suppose i could write more here about the need to see new orleans music live but i'll save that for another time. right now, i just want to salute the rebirth on their 28th birthday. most marriages don't last that long nowadays.

we're hoping to see them in a second-line next year during mardi gras.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


apparently, this dish is all the rage at the moment. making it in the tight confines of our ridiculous apartment kitchen made it a little harder to knock out than usual, i suppose, but i'm still not following why it's considered such a daunting task.

i brined the pork belly, cooked it slow & low, & then, let it sit in the refrigerator weighted down over-night. the next day, i wrapped the pork loin in the pork belly &, once again, cooked it low & slow. when done, the pork got to spend another night in the fridge, this time unweighted. this made it easy to slice into perfect serving pieces that i crisped in a skillet. i guess that's a lot of time consumed(though most of it didn't require me to be engaged at all)but the end result is worth it.

this was ann's dinner just prior to the chaos that opened up to swallow us both alive. there were other variations on this theme & then there were the porchetta sandwiches which she took on the plane back to north carolina. so a little work went a long long way, both literally & figuratively.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011



"More than thirty years ago, when a world now most often spoken of as an error of history was taking shape and form--and when far older worlds were reappearing like ghosts that had yet to make up their minds, cruel and paradisiac worlds that in 1965 felt at once present and impossibly distant--Bob Dylan seemed less to occupy a turning point in cultural space and time than to be that turning point. As if culture would turn according to his wishes or even his whim; the fact was, for a long moment it did." GREIL MARCUS

Sunday, May 8, 2011


"Gilded Splinters" by the Glen David Andrews Band featuring Paul Sanchez from Come See About Me on Vimeo.

obviously, nola is on my mind. i'll be there in a week.

last time we were there, we caught glen david andrews at dba. mr andrew is a member of another astonishing new orleans musical families. there's got to be something in the water there. glen david caught sight of ann & spent the rest of his set "boning" her. you figure it out.

this is the old mac rebennack song from his long ago gris-gris album. it simply roars here. this is the kind of thing you can easily just stumble upon in various venues around the city.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Not Dying Mark Strand
These wrinkles are nothing,
These gray hairs are nothing.
This stomach which sags
with old food, these bruised
and swollen ankles,
my darkening brain,
They are nothing.
I am the same boy
my mother used to kiss.


Friday, April 1, 2011


i remember an old review of a gordon lightfoot album that started by saying how lucky we are that lightfoot hadn't just ended up being the guy that pulls out a guitar at the neighborhood bbq. i never really bought that kind of thinking about lightfoot. he was way too handsome & talented to be consigned to being a nobody &, of course, there was that voice.

on the other hand, malcolm holcombe IS someone that description fits to a tee. he's flown under most everyone's radar & if it hadn't been for a no depression article on him a few years back, i'd have missed out too. i was fortunate enough to actually catch holcombe at a tiny charlotte venue, the evening muse. he's suited to smaller audiences, his between song stories ramble but the intensity of his music radiates perfectly in a small packed room. there are times when his lyric syntax mirrors david milch's odd shakespearian constructions in deadwood but his guitar playing recalls lightin' hopkins run through richard thompson.

his new album, to drink the rain, is one of his best. it's got at least five of his strongest songs to date & no throwaways at all.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


if any of you were like me last year, watching in slack-jawed disbelief as the sf giants made their improbable run through much better teams to win the world series, you soothed yourself w/that old maxim: "any team can beat any other team on any given day." it was impossible not to think immediately after, "yeah maybe but not the giants." i'm not here to dwell on the past or try to take anything away from the giants. unlike mike, who still has bile rise into his mouth everytime someone mentions the twins unlikely win in '87(or '91, i forget), i just shook my head & started thinking about next season, which is now this season beginning today.

since i've always believed thomas boswell's assertion that "baseball gives us more pleasure, more gentle unobtrusive sustenance, away from the park than it does inside it," i'm here to offer up my 2011 baseball predictions that i've come up w/during these days of sickness, craziness, & dark thoughts about death.

A.L. EAST: i have boston beating out the yankees. in fact, i'm not sure that the yankees will even make the playoffs as the wildcard this year. my oddball pick here is that the baltimore orioles will finish higher than last place.

A.L. CENTRAL: i have the tigers & twins battling it out, w/the winner being whoever's pitching staff holds up. i think ozzie's shtick has jumped the shark & i wouldn't be surprised to see him given his walking papers during the season.

A.L WEST: this one is a tough one. texas didn't need cliff lee to win the division outright last year(tho they needed him during the playoffs)but oakland's manager is too much like bruce bochy across the bay: he manages to try not to lose as opposed to managing to win. i also have a lot of faith in mike scosia's angelic ways. i think this will be texas again, w/the angels coming up behind them. despite it's terrific pitching staff, oakland's offense is still too weak to play w/the big boys & geren too passive to go up against a high-roller like ron washington.

N.L. EAST: c'mon, really? of course i'm picking the phillies here. atlanta will be the wild card again this year, though my oddball pick here is that the marlins play hard all season & threaten the braves for the wildcard.

N.L. CENTRAL: reds again. i like dusty too much maybe. my oddball pick here is that milwaukee will threaten the reds & finish just behind them. the cardinals can't do it w/o wainwright & the cubs are, well, the cubs. sorry. i still wear my cubbie tee-shirt proudly but it ain't happening this year.

N.L. WEST: yes, the giants have that pitching. who can deny that after seeing them rise to the occasion last year? still, they are managed by bochy & are relying on pat burrell, mark derosa, & aaron rowand for offense. that's not going to happen, though what will happen is that a lot of the breaks they caught last year won't be coming their way a second time around. they're fortunate to be in the weakest & most unstable division in baseball but i still think the rockies will come through in the end & unseat them atop the division. i'm not sure the wildcard will come out of this division, leaving the giants at home come late october.

i'll return to these picks at the all-star break & see just how wrong i am. i'm hoping to be back in the bay area by the time things start shaking out in the first half of the season.

"Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." TOM BOSWELL

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


another unsung honky tonk hero bites the dust. this guy's influence is wide & undeniable.

"Ralph Mooney’s strings ring eternal with the most infinite beauty, his life’s work reverberates in our souls with zero diminish till kingdom come. When our society downfalls from selfishness, over-consumptive hedonism, and a wanton unappreciation of art, and the archeologists of the future sift through our ashes to find something, anything worth preserving and paying forward, they will find the sound of Ralph Mooney’s steel guitar, and make sure it is heard by the future to stir the souls of mankind forever." TRIGGERMAN from SAVINGCOUNTRYMUSIC.COM

"To me, the most unique thing about country music is the pedal steel guitar. All kinds of instruments have been used, but, the ringing tone of a pedal steel defines what country music is.

You hear it, and you know what you’re listening to. It’s rarely used in any other style of music, and if it is, it’s only on a song or two on an album that the artist wanted to show their country influence on. Fiddle is kinda the same way, but, it also runs through bluegrass. Pedal steel is country music and country music alone.

So, to have such a defining instrument run throughout the genre, to be given the title of “The Best There Ever Was” defines that person as one of the most important people in country music ever. That man was Ralph Mooney

Friday, March 18, 2011


On the twentyseventh May eleven hundred
and seventyseven, eight p.m., fire broke out
at the corner of Tomi and Higuchi streets.
In a night
palace, ministries, university, parliament
were destroyed. As the wind veered
flames spread out in the shape of an open fan.
Tongues torn by gusts stretched and leapt.
In the sky clouds of cinders lit red with the blaze.
Some choked, some burned, some barely escaped.
Sixteen great officials lost houses and
very many poor. A third of the city burned;
several thousands died; and of beasts,
limitless numbers.

Men are fools to invest in real estate.

Basil Bunting from Chomei at Toyama first published in Poetry, September 1933

Thursday, March 17, 2011


i saw foucault at berkeley's little gem of a venue, freight & salvage, over 3 years ago. i'm not sure how i stumbled onto his work, probably just dumb luck. i was immediately drawn to that voice(almost as alluring as jay farrar's), then, the songs themselves. at that time, he'd put out 3 albums & he announced that night that his new album was due out shortly. it would be an entire album of john prine songs. i remember my brain's reaction to that annoucement: "i'll just stick w/prine, thank you." foucault's original material was pretty damned strong & he put on a fine show. i'm glad mr. marcus drew my attention back to him. he's put out two strong albums since the prine covers. it's always gratifying to find yourself on the same page as greil marcus.

(1) Jeffrey Foucault, Cold Satellite (" A collaboration with the poet Lisa Olstein, who wrote the words for Foucault’s drawl—a drawl that sometimes grows a tail so long it curls around itself, with a country feel that puts the people who live in the Nashville charts to shame. Then a deep-ditch electric guitar takes a country song into the blues, and lets it go back where it came from. Nothing is pressed, to the point that sometimes the way the voice pulls away from a word or a guitar from a phrase is its own kind of preciousness—but not in “Twice I Left Her,” which shifts the music into a more resolute kind of quiet, a bigger emptiness in a single room. An acoustic guitar figure comes up against drums buried far away, like a memory. The story creeps out, and stops well short of its end, though you can glimpse it. Foucault drifts over the words so lightly that they seem to fade as they’re sung, and you might stop trying to hear them as words, let them come as sounds." GREIL MARCUS REAL LIFE ROCK TOP TEN FEB 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Write this. We have burned all their villages

Write this. We have burned all the villages and the people in them

Write this. We have adopted their customs and their manner of dress

Write this. A word may be shaped like a bed, a basket of tears or an X

In the notebook it says, It is the time of mutations, laughter at jokes, secrets beyond the boundaries of speech

Say this. I was born on an island among the dead. I learned language on this island but did not speak on this island. I am writing to you from this island. I am writing to the dancers from this island. The writers do not dance on this island

Say this. There is a sentence in my mouth, there is a chariot in my mouth. There is a ladder. There is a lamp whose light fills empty space and a space which swallows light

from SUN michael palmer

Monday, March 14, 2011


As long as you have not grasped that you have to die to grow, you are a troubled guest on the dark earth MIRCEA ELIADE also born today MARCH 14TH

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



if there's any doubt that the white boys who comprise galactic haven't absorbed the new orleans groove, i adduce this stunning piece of funk as evidence to the contrary. furthermore, if there's any doubt that irma thomas can still reach way down & give up everything to a song, just sit back & listen.

this is off galactic's ya-ka-may from last year.

Friday, March 4, 2011


i suppose the audience wag who yelled "traitor" at sam beam was just shivering at how clever AND ironic he was being in front of all those people. of course he didn't mean it. we've come a long way from having a folksinger cause any kind of commotion at all. nowadays, that sort of thing comes from the ladies & kanye.

there are enough excellent songs on iron & wine's new album, kiss each other clean, to give beam the benefit of the doubt about the other "experiments." his lyricism is still very much intact & most of the melodies support the extra instrumentation. the duds are really where he clutters things up just a bit too much or where he revisits a scene he's already explored on other albums.

dylan warmed up w/bringing it all back home & highway 61 revisited & then he dropped blonde on blonde. i'm not suggesting that beam is one of the many "new dylans" who come along every so often. i'm saying that the move from delicate quirky melodist to full-blown band leader is a tricky one & it usually involves some growing pains. this isn't new coke. it's a strong progression that depends on where he's been & what he's done but points towards new concerns & approaches.

i'll take what's good here & wait for his next move.

kiss each other clean iron & wine

Thursday, February 17, 2011


sounding very much like a bored waitress at the local woolworth's lunch counter on palafox in pensacola, ms mayfield delivers a dark & deep album filled w/shame & anger & the occasional glimpse of some kind of solace, which is about all the redemption she's willing to offer. i hear flannery o'connor here; the pre-lupus flannery who went to new york pursuing the idealized literary life, breaking hearts & having hers broken by boys of callow youth. flannery's early work had pain & shame & anger in it too. it was only when the disease drove her back to the "christ haunted" south that she was able to see a way out of quotidian suffering. of course, her way out wasn't easy & ms mayfield seems to pretty much agree.

i think of bob mould's line, "i always find the broken ones, what does that say about me." this album rises out of the debris of a damaged life & insists on finding beauty & redemption whereever it can.

tell me jessica lea mayfield

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


he played a big part in popularizing surfing along the gulf. there were others like brad english, glenn curle, bezar turner, ken roose. back then, the "real" surfers were the ones who surfed in the winter. the lousy wetsuits, the lack of surf leashes, the cold cold winters thinned the surf crowd to maybe several dozen. i remember brad english(my idol)beating yancy in the first actual surf contest on p'beach. it was sponsored by coca-cola, mainly due to george pryor(his father was president of the local bottling plant in p'cola). yancy had the sense to make a decent living off surfing(before the big bucks arrived)&, after his re-birth as a christian, the lack of bad habits to continue on into the new millenium.

he died doing the thing he loved for so many years. trust me, most of us won't be so lucky.

Friday, February 11, 2011


"Of course political power is meant to protect social life, even to the extent of challenging and altering its inherited arrangements. But that’s the point. Power is in place to enable societized human beings to work out their own goals for themselves, goals over which power as such is powerless: the endless ends of meaning (les fins sans fin du sens), of meanings, of forms, of intensities of desire. The power drive outstrips or surpasses power, while at the same time seeking power for its own sake. The surpassing of power is the very principle of democracy—but as its truth and grandeur (indeed its majesty), not as its annihilation."


Thursday, February 10, 2011


i remember running into pat rosenthal at machine gun kelly's when we were just out of high school. he was w/a well-dressed clubby group. the ladies were attractive so i thought, "what the hell?" & joined them on the periphery. i couldn't really tell what was wrong w/the picture until i realized they were all affecting british accents. "if everyone is doing it," pat explained later, " it's not weird."

years later, dona introduced me to one of her ex-boyfriends who was in a band. onstage, he sang w/a british accent. why's he doing that, i wondered out loud to her. "that's the way the music sounds on the records," was her answer.

i hadn't cared for this band, despite all the hype. the songwriter couldn't seem to decide if he wanted to be a bad poet or a decent songwriter(& yes, there is a big difference). they were all very young & very very serious. he affected a british accent when he sang, even though he hailed from oregon(by way of montana).

thankfully, they've abandoned most of the affectation. the lyrics still snag on a few overly poetic words & phrases but, for the most part, this is straight ahead alt americana done well. they are not breaking new ground(hello, mr buck)but i defy you not to like this. i just don't think you can.

for one album anyway, they've hit the nail on the head.
the decemberists the king is dead

Monday, February 7, 2011


during all my years of surfing i think i paddled out for one night surf session. philip & todd were probably involved. i can guarantee that the surf was no more than a few feet in height. for me, it was less a concern for actually seeing what needed to be seen & more a real fear of sharks who feel that the night time is the right time for feeding.

what this guy is doing is beyond my capacity to really understand, though i can somewhat imagine the exhilarated feelings coursing through every fiber of his being. this is truly a monumental visual thrill.

Monday, January 31, 2011


" And so, I dare suggest that the composer would do himself and his music an immediate and eventual service by total, resolute, and voluntary withdrawal from this public world to one of private performance and electronic media, with its very real possibility of complete elimination of the public and social aspects of musical composition. By so doing, the separation between the domains would be defined beyond any possibility of confusion of categories, and the composer would be free to pursue a private life of professional achievement, as opposed to a public life of unprofessional compromise and exhibitionism "

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


"We won all the awards gospel music had to offer, but in those days the gospel people didn’t like us because we played stringed instruments. They thought of us as a carnival act. The country folks didn’t dig us that much because we would quiet an audience, actually make them feel guilty that they were out instead of in church"

i started playing he & his brother's music when emmylou harris released her first album, pieces of the sky, which had "if i could only win your love" on it. their vocal harmonies have that uncanny resonance so many sibling duets evince. check out their astonishing "satan is real." i'm pretty sure the spirit will move you.


"I think we Southerners have talked a fair amount of malarkey about the mystique of being Southern."