Posted by Campbell at Friday, May 21, 2010
I started this blog on November 21, 2005 with a post about the impact of Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run on my life. As any friend, family member or work pal knows, I can talk about music and public policy ad nauseum. I attribute both passions to my early childhood. I mean, I wasn't deeply immersed in Watergate at age one, but life happenings and such just implanted music and policy/politics/justice into me, and I doubt I'll ever shake free.
With five years approaching, there was one simple part of this blog that I didn't like: the name. I always wanted just Bandwagon, but the owner of said domain wanted $10,000. That price tag was sent my way four years ago. That URL remains dormant.
Like many fans of music and books and stuff, I do enjoy words. And about a week ago, while writing for my memoir that may or may not ever be completed (now at about 275 pages), I was about to title a particular chapter Autumn Souvenir in reference to a memory from Yankee Stadium. I liked those words together. While walking up the stairs yesterday with N, I realized that those two words would serve as my new blog title.
I am still working on the layout and such, but as of this posting Bandwagon will now be Autumn Souvenir. Nothing is changing aside from the name. Everything from Bandwagon has been ported over and all posts going forward will be on Autumn Souvenir.
Thanks for reading over the years. And Mom, N, Bennett and Barack: Please update your bookmarks.
Posted by Campbell at Thursday, May 20, 2010
Mark Oliver Everett's creative streak is bordering on some sort of record or something. Although they haven't toured since 2005's fantastic double-album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, he's taken that time off the road to pen a beautiful memoir, and followed that up with the release of two solid records separated by only six months, Hombre Lobo & End Times. Now comes news of what will be the third Eels record in 14 months, Tomorrow Morning, due on August 24th.
But the big news of the day is a massive world tour, one that will have Everett and band on tour for almost all of August, September and October.
See you at The Fillmore.
Posted by Campbell at Saturday, May 15, 2010Mark Olson's a darn busy man. Following his departure from The Jayhawks in 1995, he's released a slew of records under the name The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers, all of which are quite good, the best being 2000s My Own Joe Ellen. In 2007, he released The Salvation Blues, the best record by any member of The Jayhawks outside of The Jayhawks. Just a year later he hopped back into the studio with Jayhawks co-founder Gary Louris for Ready For the Flood, but it's really The Salvation Blues that's proven to be Olson's best work in 15 years.
In addition to a new Olson record on the way, The Jayhawks will be playing three shows in Minneapolis this summer. Word of a new record remains up in the air and additional tour dates are unknown, but news of Olson's follow-up to the fantastic The Salvation Blues is great news for fans of any of Olson's projects.
Posted by Campbell at Friday, May 14, 2010Freedy Johnston is sort of indirectly responsible for the 13+ years I spent working either directly or tangentially in the music business. I'd get into that story here, but it's reserved for my second memoir, to be published in 2014 by Simon & Garfunkel.
I'd gather that I probably saw Freedy Johnston about ten times in the 90s. From First Avenue in Minneapolis to stops all over the East Coast, he was one of my favorites of that time. I was hooked on Can You Fly (1992), This Perfect World (1994) and Never Home (1997). And I still play those records regularly. Add in the grossly under-appreciated Right Between the Promises (2001) (which was my favorite record of that year) and this year's Rain on the City, and Freedy has amassed an enormous library of great songs. As far as straightforward singer-songwriters go, he truly is one of the best of the past two decades.
In the past decade, I've only seen Freedy maybe once or twice prior to tonight. If you take a look at his discography, that should come as little surprise. It's been nine years since Freedy has released a record of new material. It's been a quiet decade, to put it mildly. Knowing this, I wasn't sure what to expect tonight. I've been loving his new record, but man, he's been away for a while.
When he took the stage just after 730, he actually looked slightly nervous. After a few quick quips, he started into not only one of my favorite Freedy songs, but one of my favorite songs, "The Lucky One." It was perfect. And the night took off from there. The room began to fill as he moved through his first few songs and the crowd was incredibly appreciative. Requests abound, loud applause and back-and-forth banter that had the whole room in a pretty joyous mood. Freedy's expressions made it pretty clear that this show was somewhat special. And boy did he deliver. He has such a mountain of great songs that it would have been impossible to please everyone, but what a set he gave us: "Evie's Tears," "Don't Fall In Love With a Lonely Girl," "Responsible," "This Perfect World," "California Thing," Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman," "The Mortician's Daughter," "Dolores," "Bad Reputation," a gorgeous take on the new record's title track to close the show, and a few I'm missing. I can't remember the last time I saw a merch table at Cafe du Nord so jammed after a set.
N and I left the joint feeling pretty damn good. I didn't get my favorite Freedy song, "I Can Hear the Laughs," but if tonight's any indication, it can't be long before I get another chance.
Is Exile on Main Street the greatest record ever? It just might be. I'm not sure I can think of a record in my collection that so masterfully mixes rock, soul, blues and just about every passion and emotion that encompasses what makes music drive us. When considering the records that traditionally fall into the "greatest ever" camp, there's The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, The Beatles' Revolver, The Clash's London Calling, Springsteen's Born To Run, Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited and a bunch of others (Marquee Moon).
If I attempt to remain as objective as possible, which clearly is impossible for me to do, for straight-ahead rock. and. roll. I would likely go with Exile. Blasting out of the gates with "Rocks Off," the full, in-your-face sound is simply astounding. I can't count the number of times I've been in the car screaming, "The sunshine bores the daylights outta me. Chasing shadows, moonlight mystery" as the horns, piano, guitar, drums and bass explode from behind. And then comes "Rip This Joint." Man. The surge of emotion can be felt from head-to-toe. "Tumbling Dice," "Sweet Virginia," "Loving Cup," "Happy," "Let It Loose," "All Down the Line" and the rest.
Next week Exile on Main Street will be re-issued in about 29 different versions (remastered / remastered box set / vinyl / with posters / with a lips t-shirt / covered in a bandana), and although I won't be picking one up (I have three vinyl copies and the CD), I will be listening all week. Unbelievably, this record, which sounds as fresh as ever, was released when I was -1.5 years old. That is simply incomprehensible. Ahead of their time? Ahead of any time.