Monday, February 28, 2011

...Soil & The Sun...

This is a band that I came across a while ago and really enjoy. Doug may remember this song from the "Summer Camp" mix I made last June. This past week, I met a great guy, Ted, that is in town interning for a few months and lives in community with some of these guys when he's back in Michigan. He sent me this video, and I thought that I would share it with you guys. I hope to have them out our way to play a show, sometime in the future. Please, check out their bandcamp site to stream their albums and purchase their music at a very reasonable price.

Soil and the Sun: Raised in Glory from Audiotree Live on Vimeo.

Rumor has it that they're going to be opening up for Portugal the Man. If you've only got a few minutes, check out the video above which is an excerpt from a live studio interview. If you've got some time to spare, make sure to check out the session in its fulness at Audiotree Live.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


How often,
Do I become
With realizations

About my actions...

And yet remain
By them-
Within the proud thought
Of the epiphany
Person". (?)

...Steve Young, Little Wings, The Stepkids...

In this post, I'm going to give you a little bit of everything- something old, something new, and a taste of something that's not even released yet.

First of all, something old...
These songs are off Rock Salt And Nails, an album by Steve Young -no, not the San Fran 49ers quarterback- rather, a country singer from the 60s and 70s. Although, not as widely known as some of his peers, his songs were covered by Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., and the Eagles. This album, from 1969, has a diversity of styles on it, but the stand out tracks, in my opinion, are the ones that take mellow country songs and infuse them with a bit of soul.
"Steve Young: That's How Strong My Love Is"

"Steve Young: Love In My Time"

Next, something new...

I've been a big fan of Little Wings, and Kyle Fields in general, for quite a few years, so I was super excited to hear that Marriage Records was releasing his new album, Black Grass, this month. The last Little Wings album, Soft Pow'r, was released way back in 2007, so there definitely had been some anticipation building inside of me. Well, the record is here, and I am not disappointed. Mr. Fields remains consistent- mellow vibes, off kilter vocals, and easy grooves...the steady beats give it a little more of a band feel, but they don't sacrifice the intimacy that I have grown to expect from Kyle. Get a feel for it below.

"Little Wings: Little Bit"

"Little Wings: How Come"

Finally, something upcoming...

I just discovered these guys yesterday. I don't know much about them, but I'll share what I've got. First of all, they call themselves The Stepkids. They are putting out a 12" single entitled Shadows On Behalf/ La La in April, on Stones Throw Records and you can expect a full length from them sometime in the fall. I'm not sure what the entire album will sound like, but if the songs and video below are any indication, it's going to be BEAST!!!! Stones Throw and the soul revival strike again!!! Make sure to check out their live set and interview over at BTR.

"The Stepkids: Shadows On Behalf"

"The Stepkids: Legend In My Own Mind"

Friday, February 25, 2011

...Joel Alme...

Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong circles, but I'm kinda, sorta surprised that I haven't heard more about this guy.
Before I get too far into this post, I have to confess something- I have never really been able to get into Bruce Springsteen. Oh, I mean I've tried....ya him several chances......and then going back and listening to "the right stuff". For some reason I just don't feel it- even the "good" stuff.
So, I say all of this, because comparisons between Joel Alme and Springsteen will no doubt be made. Even I noticed the similarities. But, these are not the reasons why I enjoy Waiting For The Bells. Although it's a little under the surface, there are times when I hear a little bit of Dylan....and the "almost-Phil Spector-ish" beats and arrangements are really the hooks that keep me enjoying the Swedish singer. All this, along with the sweeping strings and a production that makes it sound like it was recorded 50 or 60 years ago, is enough for me to get over the similarities. In fact, it sort of reinvents Springsteen in my mind, and while I can't speak for his other record, this album (and the fact that tastes are supposed to change over time) makes me wonder if I should go back and give The Boss yet another chance.

"Joel Alme: When Old Love Keeps You"

"Joel Alme: The Way We Used To Beg"

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Giuseppi Logan Quartet

Almost always judge an album by it's slammin' good cover art. Definetly true in this case. Great cover art leads to great LP leads to great story. In fact, the intigue that lead me to this post has been more about the man than the music - but don't hear me wrong, the music is stellar! Here's the short skinny: Giuseppi Logan, a multi-instrumentalist from outside the scene emerges from the shadows into the New Thing/Avante Garde/Free Jazz movement that was thriving in New York City in the mid-sixties. With the help & musical assistance of Milford Graves (more on him in the coming weeks) he lays down his first ever recording session (as a leader nonetheless) along with Don Pullen & Eddie Gomez (this was the first recording session for all four players). From the many articles I've read, it seems that Logan was always perceived as his own man with his own approach to both people and his many instruments - unpredictable seems a good word. He lead two other sessions, one of which has never received a pressing, and sat in on a handful of others before disappearing back into the shadows in the early seventies. Gone. Decades without even a word. Incarcerated, homeless, locked away in mental institutions, thought dead, only to re-emerge from thin air in 2008 with a bushy white beard & a passion to get back on top in the world of Jazz music. Thus far he's released one live session with the same label he started with - ESP. Giuseppi Logan is very endearing & there's so much more to this story. If you're intrigued, please dig around. Signal To Noise put out a fantastic article in the Spring of 2009.

In terms of the album, if you're into the genre, I couldn't recommend it more. From 1964, it has an incredible rythme section & is very free. Track one, Tabla Suite is perhaps more outside than the other four tracks, it includes a Tabla, a Pakistani Oboe, and a strummed piano & is a highlight for me - it definetly speaks of things to come with Milford Graves. Dialogue is also highly recommended along with Bleeker Partita which you'll find below. The later is accessible while containing the fullness of diversity that you get from the other four numbers. Just below, please check out a bit from a short documentary on Logan from 1966 and be sure to check recent footage in the side panel of the youtube page.
Bleeker Partita - The Giuseppi Logan Quartet

...Cotton Jones Basket Ride...

I'm not quite sure why it took me several listens to get into Cotton Jones, but it did. Just ask Doug. He had to encourage me to give them a chance, several times. Maybe it was the diversity in their songs.....or maybe it was the random electronics tossed into the dusty country sound that I needed to get used to. Whatever it was, I'm glad that my ear finally accepted what I was hearing.
It was through giving their recent LPs (Paranoid Cocoon and Tall Hours In The Glowstream) a chance, that I stumbled upon this album over at emusic. It's titled The River Strumming and it's their first full length record. Boy, do I like this stuff. It's much more lo-fi than their other recordings, and while some people may not like that fact, I feel like it really accentuates their "country, with a hint of soul" tinged music. The rougher recording quality, in my opinion, actually makes their experimentation with loops and/or electronic sounds more cohesive with the other elements of the songs. It's just all around interesting stuff, and because of this album, I enjoy the band's more current releases even more. Who knows, I may have not had such a difficult time getting into them if I had heard this album first.

"Cotton Jones Basket Ride: Midnight Monday, And A Telescope"

"Cotton Jones Basket Ride: To Death With You"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

...Vernon Wray...

While Vernon Wray may not be as familiar to you as his younger brother, Link Wray, you definitely should get hip to his tunes. This is some good stuff. His voice is so deep it will put a quiver in your liver... an added bonus is that Link plays guitar on this album. Check it.

"Vernon Wray: Facing All The Same Tomorrows"

"Vernon Wray: Prologue"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

...Ron Cornelius...

I keep coming back to these songs, and each time, I enjoy them more. They're featured on Ron Cornelius' solo album, Tin Luck. I'm not going to write much about Cornelius or the album, because there are many available articles- written by more informed people than I- that do a much better job than anything I could do here. For more information on him, you can check out this interview here. One thing that I feel is important to note is, that Ron was a session musician who played with the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Hopefully, this fact will validate him enough for you to give these two songs an ear. Something about the second song (Still Gone) makes me feel like Kurt Vile might have given this guy a listen.

"Ron Cornelius: I've Lost My Faith In Everything But You"

"Ron Cornelius: Still Gone"


Vinegaroons, also known as Whip Scorpions, are prevalent in the south-west and fairly easy to catch. This one was the biggest I had ever seen. As a defense they spray a vinegar like substance from the tip of their whip-like tails, hence their name.
Shortly after spotting this guy I got into a group called Calexico. They actually have a song called "Vinegaroon" that always reminds me of one of these little buggers crawling around. They are truly fascinating.
Calexico has definitely become a favorite of mine. Their album "Carried To Dust" is the first vinyl I ever bought. They are named after the small city that borders Mexico. The border actually runs through the city. On the California side it is called Calexico. On the Mexican side the city is called Mexicali. You guys may have heard of it. It's also in Ocean's Thirteen when Casey Affleck's character visits there to get the gambling ball rolling.
Calexico sounds just as blended as their name; an interesting fusion of country, spanish horns, whispy voices and an alternative rock edge splashed all over everything.
The Budos Band has a song called Scorpion. How many "critter tunes" can you guys come up with?

Monday, February 21, 2011

{cold horizons}-{eight}

along with the world
i watched the protestors in Tahrir Square on the television set
as they bravely huddled together like pigeons
and began to rage against their diminishing cages & coops
they looked so unlike a crowded people all mashed together there
faces as free as a migratory flock
with their unrelenting wings beating in unison
against the current of their cold horizons
i sat there in my looking silence
i watched them fly a great distance

Friday, February 18, 2011

...New Wonder...

Here's the video for a new song from Bonnie Prince Billy and The Cairo Gang. The song, "New Wonder" is actually the b-side from a 10" single titled Island Brothers. The single is being put out by Drag City and will benefit efforts by EDGE Outreach to provide clean water and education to people in Haiti. It's a killer tune.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

...{One-Way Trip}-{Jesus Music, Vol. 2}...

So, here it is....Jesus Music Volume 2. We came across so many interesting tracks in our preparation for volume 1 that there was no way we could fit them all into one mix....on the other hand, some of these songs were just too good to pass up. In fact, we still have a surplus of artists that need to see the light of day, so you can expect a third mix within the months to come. But for now, enjoy the mix, below, that we, (Josh & Doug), have worked cooperatively on. While the musical flavor is slightly different from the songs on the first mix, there are some really solid tunes included here. All the tracks are performed by artists involved in the Jesus People Movement of the 60's and 70's- this fact, is more apparent in some of the selections than in others. Either way, they're definitely some great, "little-known" songs that we think are fun to get down with. Get it here or go down a little further and listen to it track by track. Feel free to let us know if you can roll with it.

"01)The New Creation: Countdown To Revolution (excerpt)"
"02)Bob Desper: The World Is Crying For Love"
"03)Re-Creation: Music"
"04)Holy Ghost Reception Committee #9: There's A Voice Inside"
"05)Jim Valley: All Is Well"
"06)Barbara Sipple: Hold On"
"07)Rainbow Promise: Do You Hear"
"08)Bliss: Visions"
"09)Mind Garage: The Electric Liturgy- The Lord's Prayer"
"10)The Sheep: Changes"
"11)Lonesome Stone: Where Do We Go From Here?"
"12)Dave Bixby: Open Doors"
"13)Chuck Girard: Everybody Knows For Sure"

"14)Carpenter's Apprentice: Someone"
"15)Harlan, John, Todd: Keep Me Through The Weak Parts"
"16)Hidden Manna: Death In The City"
"17)All Things New: Ones, Twos, and Threes"
"18)Moonrakers: Together With Him"
"19)White Light: Now I Realize"
"20)Marj Snyder: High On The Love Of Jesus"
"21)David Horn and Rodney Alexander: Walk
These Streets

"22)Living Stones: Disallusion"
"23)The Joyful Noise: Amazing Grace (House of the Rising Sun version)"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


traversing the black forest,
nevermind what's behind you…
...a high coo moon

Monday, February 14, 2011

...BlackForrestry: featured worker of craft- HERIZON...

Since this blog's goal is to inspire each other and grow by critiquing and encouraging one another, I thought that I would try something a little different that may help facilitate this vision. I am going to occasionally share about artists, ie. "workers of craft", that inspire me. Preferrably, these will be people that I'm in personal contact with. In this way, I can share the creative things that are going on in my life, as well as give you a peek at the creative things that are going on in the lives of the people in my life.
What better artist to start things off with than HERIZON aka Tim Condon? I first met Tim through our shared appreciation of music, and it didn't take too many times of us hanging out and listening to records, to figure out that he is an incredibly talented/creative guy. I remember realizing this fact as we sat in his central Virginia home, listening to the demos of his new recordings. I was impressed with his ability to create beautiful, broken songs in a simple/minimalistic way. Perfect...just enough to stick in your head and grab your emotions without going too far or over-doing it.
And, while Tim's music-making alone would sufficiently validate his artistic nature, I was impressed by yet another product of his creativity. As we began to swap mixtapes, I was immediately captivated by his collages that he used for the covers. I quickly began to view these pieces as another one of his creative outlets and more than just him "messing around". Since that time, Tim has used this outlet to create covers for several 7"s and split cassettes. Each time I see a new one of these creations, I am again fascinated. I love his eye for layout and composition. And, on a purely aesthetic level, I love the selections that he hunts down to incorporate in his work. It's stuff that I can really get down with. Scroll down for a few examples of his work. If you like what you see, feel free to head on over to The Harding Street Assembly Lab, where they have several Herizon items available for purchase. Make sure to not miss out on Herizon's Chesapeake Bay track and a live version of Home Again (featuring Tim's wife, Kim, on background vocals)- both available for listening below. To hear more tracks and for more info on Herizon and Tim's future endeavors check out the Herizon myspace page. As of late, Tim (and his brother Aaron) have just finished making a film which explores their journey within independent music. It's titled Anthems of the Underground. So, make sure to keep your eyes open for that. Thanks, Tim, for what you do.

Friday, February 11, 2011

...O.C. Smith...

I first took notice of O.C. Smith a few months back when I heard his version of Little Green Apples (a country song written by Bobby Russell) while listening to "Rockin' Remnants"- a great local radio show on WVBR. A couple of weeks later, I came across the record at our library book sale. What a wonderful find!!!! This is such a great album. The country-infused, low key, soul sound makes for excellent listening track after track. This one gets put on the turntable frequently. Here are a couple of the more sentimental songs for you to enjoy. These tracks make me think of my beautiful wife, Shanna, and my wonderful family.

"Little Green Apples"

"Honey (I Miss You)"

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I am currently making lighthouse illustrations for a teen group called The Beacon. The theme is "A Place of Light. A Place of Hope". If you guys would like to take a crack at that theme or just the symbolism that lighthouses bring to mind (or just the ocean or the wind or sea gulls or anything else that suits your inspired) I think it would be really cool. I plan on posting some anchors for hope and a lighthouse soon.

...Freddie Scott...

Here's an album that I've been enjoying the past few weeks. What keeps me coming back to these tunes from this Rhode Island soul singer, is not a unique "signature" sound or the dynamic hyped energy that many soul albums boast, but, rather, the mellow smoothness of nice tracks that happen to be soulful. These are great songs regardless of genre and yet they sound natural in their soulfulness. So natural, in fact, that at first, it's easy to write them off as just ordinary cuts from an ordinary soul record. With more listens, though, that thought can quickly transform into "this isn't a cliche soul album...this is what a soul album is SUPPOSED to sound like". There are so many perfect songs on here, including an excellent cover of the Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends. Below, check out the title track (a cover as well- this time a Bob Dylan tune) along with my personal favorite, I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow. Give them a few listens and let me know what you think. Enjoy.

"I Shall Be Released"

"I'll Be Leaving Her Tomorrow"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

{cold horizons}-{seven}

{utopia & visions} - {don cherry}


when you rise up, quietly sing the humming wordless song that lights you - strum strum for the dancing curtains of the wintry morning - for if we’re to live for all of eternity - wheels that keep turning - pulling us further & further until they’re worn into nothing but a vanishing memory of time - than we should say so

go out - walk the treeline - feel the sun - cast your shadows – mutter afresh the story and listen – for if this day you can walk as you do - flannel flag flying free in the pink edges of an orange sky that is pink edgedly orange in just this way, never to be repeated - then you should say so

and if i – today - can tow with ease this chain of glinting thoughts & sounds as they unravel from me endlessly in just this way - churning & bobbing within my dome only - here & gone as quick as they came – than i should say so

for if we are immortal as we sleep in our tangled dreams & cotton sheets - if we are fixed in the sky of God’s good pleasure - a fixture of His golden gaze - set free to shine in ceaseless stardusting reverie - if we are loved - not merely tolerated beneath a pact of unspeakable bloodshed (holy & worthy of perpetual praise) but actually & truly befriended – invited – pursued – embraced – wanted – then strum strum - ring the bells - and let us say so!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


i don't want to be You
i don't want to see
what You've seen

Ciudad Juarez
so many Mexican girls
so many lives ruined
(the web extends far, from east
out west, far above the horizon
farther over it)

the bodies pile
i try and stand beside You
"How can You watch this?"

i wince
my face reflects my heart
like the moon in creek water

"I should not have heard this.
Who else has heard of this?"

raped violently
skull crushed beneath
the tons of metal, steel, plastic, fiberglass
bum-rushing downward upon the front passenger side wheel

serial killers?
(one of them strangled a girl, raped her, placed her under the bed, slept on top,
then left in the morning)

organ fielding?

prizes for drug cartels?
(their very own flesh pots)

sexual violence tourism?
(souls leave, eyes close, jaws drop)

the artists are trying to tell us
the horrific tale
in paint, in medium, by name:

(age 14)

(the one European)

(such a magnificent portrait)

Melissa Gonzalez Luna
(ended under a common grace)

Alma Margarita
(yet His grace is uncommon)


Paluma Angelica
(bountiful lips and face)

"God, how can You watch this?"

Airis Estrella was only 7 years old
found in a tube of concrete

my eyes water
a trembling sea
cascades over, filmy, warm as sanguid rivers of blood
then cold as winter chill, breath on my cheek

i don't want to be You
i can't stand to look
400 Mexican women
the toll rises
factory workers
(four hundred and...405)
raped violently

at the dump
in plain view
in the trash
in a pile
in a heep

i don't want to see this anymore

i want to watch my son
give me high fives
for the first time

i want to hear him wake
point to the bears that sit
on the shelves across from his crib

i want to hear him put lips together
form an "O" and hoot
(he doesn't even know what an owl is)

i want to hold him and
watch him watch birds
as they fly overhead

"God, I can't take this. How
can You stand to watch this?"

i think of Joseph
he had to have known about the voices
in Ramah

"That could've been my boy. That could've been Jesus."

he watched Him make friends in Egypt
play in the street
he saw His mother smile

but in the back of his mind
he dreamt of Bethlehem
and all the boys slaughtered

of Herod the harbinger of dread
(what place will he have in the basements of hell?)

Joseph, how did you endure under
so great a grace?
did the nightmares come in unwanted, unchallenged?

(how do you prepare your heart?
when tragedy comes be ready
consider in the good times
how devastated some lives are)

i am Scrooge
i stand beside You as You show me
not my pasts, my presents and futures
You show me reality
the reality You see

You showed the prophets
You showed them Ramah
You let them hear the cries of mothers

"Your mom and I ask where you are. You cover your face
and engage in a game of peek-a-boo."

You saw Rwanda
(bodies piled high,
bodies on the road,
bodies floating down rivers,
bodies divided by the machete blade's edge)

You hear Darfur

You are paying attention to Haiti
(even when every cough and cold of celebrity life is printed in our news)

You highlight the low lives

i don't want to be You

scientists claim to know as You know
(we cannot fathom it)

foolish minds hunger for power
(with the wand comes the weary heart)

we cannot love as You love
(without You lodging within)

i want to share a laugh with my wife

i am broken with Your sorrow
put the smile back on my face
may Your joy be my strength
as i attempt to part lips
and pray
for all the justice
we need
so badly

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Terminal Viscosity

"Terminal Viscosity"
Went on a shootin' spree yesterday. A lot came of it, but this ended up being my favorite shot. It was a technical feat for me. Minimal editing. I used reflections and shadows to achieve the vignette effect around the power-line. Was looking into a power transfer station, the dots of light below are part of an old switchboard from the 1950's when the town of Keene switched energy sources.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

<{cold horizons}-{six}>


for the solitary cloud
of the crystal morning

wayfaring pilgrim - ola belle reed

...Record Club...

Over the years, I have gained an increasing amount of respect for Beck Hansen. Not simply for his music, but more importantly, for the man himself. Whether you feel his records indicate it or not, he is a well-informed individual and the influences he has chosen reveal excellent taste. The thing that impresses me the most about Beck, though, is his powerhouse network of friends and collaborators. It's in the spirit of that collaboration that I share this post.

Beck has created a fun project called the Record Club, in which an ever changing line up of his friends (including, but not limited to, Thurston Moore, Jeff Tweedy, Niles Godrich, and Devendra Banhart) join him in the studio and cover a chosen record in one practice or rehearsals. The video footage, below, is from two separate occasions. In one session, the group covers War In Peace taken from Skip Spence's Oar album, while the second is from their take on The Velvet Underground & Nico. It's inspiring to watch these people have fun and record these nice sounding interpretations of great tunes. It makes me want to get together with somebody and make something.

Record Club: Skip Spence "War In Peace" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico 'Sunday Morning' from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.