Mix Tape Saturday

Mother - John Lennon
True Love Will Find You In the End - Daniel Johnston
She Cracked - The Modern Lovers
Death To Everyone - Bonnie "Prince" Billy
Sleeping Bag - Beck
Thirteen - Big Star
Heard About Your Band - Brakes
Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues (Alt Version) - Bob Dylan
Fuck & Fight - Varnaline
Wild Billy's Circus Story - Bruce Springsteen
D. Boon - Uncle Tupelo
Fuel For Fire - M. Ward
History Lesson, Part II - Minutemen
Thirteen - Elliott Smith
Sing Me Back Home - The Flying Burrito Brothers
'39 - Queen
Don't Come Close - The Ramones
Song of 27 - Richard Buckner
Spaceball Ricochet - T. Rex
I Got What I Wanted - Ted Hawkins
Poor Places - Wilco

Bidding Farewell

How do we go about shedding a part of you that's been present for more than half of your life? Something that's brought on joy, memories, euphoria, while at the same time causing repeated harm? Whether it be a lover, another relationship, a depenency or something else that's gripped you for years, how do you say goodbye?

This morning I rose from bed and realized that it's time. It's been an ally and an enemy. It's been a calming stabilizer and a destructive force. I can't guarantee that this goodbye will be permanent, but the effort will be there. That dear old song and dance has been ever-present for too long. It'll be a new place without it. Hopefully a better place.

"There's a Guitar Leaning, On a Marshall Stack"

People who know me probably find it imcomprehensible that I've yet to post my thoughts about the new Wilco record. For those not familiar with my devotion to Jeff Tweedy's work, here's a little history.

It was the fall of 1993. I was in my sophomore year of college in Boston. I was sitting in a friend's apartment listening to Neil Young and talking music with a bunch of folks. That evening, the band Big Head Todd & The Monsters were playing on our campus. We were all preparing to go see Big Head Todd when an out-of-town visitor asked if I'd rather go see a show at The Paradise. Being that I didn't give a crap about Big Head Todd, I inquired. "Uncle Tupelo", he said. After considering it, I decided to remain with my friends and go see Big Head Todd. The following morning we all got together for breakfast. I asked the out-of-towner how the show was, to which he laconically replied, "Amazing". He then offered to head out to his car and grab their latest cd. I will never, and I mean NEVER, forget the moment that "New Madrid" came through the speakers. After a mere ten seconds, I looked over at my buddy Brian and we were both completely floored. We spent the rest of the day listening to "Anodyne" and within 24 hours I owned all four Uncle Tupelo records. And then it all changed. My interest in music became my passion, and at the risk of sounding absurdly hyperbolic, my life. I couldn't get enough. I sought out UT live shows, I joined mailing lists, I bought all the bands that sounded like UT. I traveled hundreds of miles to see shows. Hell, I even DROVE to their hometown of Belleville, Illinois just to try and absorb what inspired their writing.

It's now 14 years later and little has changed. Music still shapes and inspires nearly everything that I do. It's my career. It's what I do every spare second. I seek out vinyl. I read books about my favorite artists. I subscribe to multiple music magazines. I still travel all over the country to see shows.

As everyone knows, Uncle Tupelo disbanded in 1994 and thus formed Wilco and Son Volt. The latter released three fantastic records from 1995-1998 but have since put out fairly lackluster material. Wilco, on the other hand, have remained my favorite band for well over a decade. I can vividly remember the first time I heard ALL of their records. I listened to "AM" for the first time in Brian Negri's college room shortly after midnight madness. I listened to "Being There" on my turntable in Allendale, NJ two weeks before its release (a record store in Hoboken held an advance for me).

Then came the fantastic "Summerteeth", the two beautiful Billy Bragg collaborations, the hugely popular and somewhat groundbreaking "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and 2004's "A Ghost Is Born".

Just a few weeks back Wilco released "Sky Blue Sky" to critical apprehension. Unlike all of their previous records, this record was not met with wide acclaim. The songwriting sounded somewhat mundane, the instrumentation was considered a bit tepid. I listened four or five times and felt disappointed. Had Jeff Tweedy finally hit a creative wall? Now a month or so after absorbing the record, the answer is absolutely no. This may not be his best work, but it's an outstanding record. From "You Are My Face" to "Impossible Germany" and "Either Way" to "Side With the Seeds", Wilco have once again produced an astounding collection of songs. It's only June, but "Sky Blue Sky" will likely land as my #1 record of the year. Looking back, Wilco has held that honor for me in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002. "A Ghost Is Born" is the only Wilco record that hasn't landed atop my year end list.

When skimming over my music collection there are three artists that always stand above the rest: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Jeff Tweedy. But I've got Tweedy in his prime. And "Sky Blue Sky" is further proof that he's yet to descend from greatness.

"Nothing more important, than to know, someone's listening" --Jeff Tweedy

Sebastopol, CA

I took the 75 minute drive up to Sebastopol this afternoon and boy, what a town. I don't think I've met a nicer collection of people in my life. Whether it be at the diner, the bookstore, the record store or just wandering the streets, the folks in this town are incredibly peaceful and kind. In addition, on a sweltering Friday afternoon, there was a collection of about 20 folks peacefully protesting the War. There is such a harmony and sense of calm in this town that's impossible not to feel.

If you've never been, it's a simple 60 miles over the Bay Bride and up 101. This is small town America at its best.

The Dems in '08

Since I'm still pretty much undecided (unless Gore enters the race), it'll be interesting to see how my opinions change over the next year plus.

Here's how I'd rank the current candidates:

1. John Edwards: I'm still not 100% sold on Edwards, but as of today, he's my guy. There's something genuine about this guy that grabs me.

2. Joe Biden: If I had a political discussion with Biden, we'd probably agree on 99/100 issues. My only reservations with him center around his ability to be a hothead. When he's relaxed and focused, he's damn near perfect.

3. Barack Obama: He's yet to do much for me, but all of my damn friends are supporting him. And since I usually agree with them regading the Yankees, Bob Dylan's catalog and the merits of The Brooklyn Inn, I figure they've got to be onto something.

Hillary Clinton: Way too political for me. I loved Bill. I'm not a fan of Hillary. I suppose this could change.

Bill Richardson: I used to like this guy. I still respect him immensely, but he is ALL over the place as a candidate.

Again, if Gore throws his hat into the race, my candidate is selected. I will immediately contribute and volunteer.

If a republican wins, I finally get to move overseas.