Blog Moving Day

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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.



Eels : Tour / New Record

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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.

August 3, 2010 Santa Ana, California Galaxy Theater warm-up show
August 7, 2010 Tokyo, Japan Marine Stadium - Summersonic Festival
August 8, 2010 Osaka, Japan Maishima - Summersonic Festival
August 13, 2010 Brisbane, Australia The Tivoli
August 14, 2010 Sydney, Australia The Enmore Theater
August 15, 2010 Melbourne, Australia The Palace Theater
August 20, 2010 Hasselt, Belgium Pukkelpop Festival
August 21, 2010 Stafford, UK V Festival
August 22, 2010 Chelmsford, UK V Festival
August 24, 2010 Glasgow, UK Academy
August 26, 2010 Birmingham, UK Academy
August 28, 2010 Zurich, Switzerland Winterhur Festival
August 29, 2010 Paris, France Rock en Seine Festival
August 30, 2010 Amsterdam, Holland Paradiso
September 1, 2010 London, UK Brixton Academy
September 3, 2010 Dublin, Ireland Electric Picnic Festival
September 4, 2010 Manchester, UK Academy
September 5, 2010 Luxembourg, Luxembourg Den Atelier
September 6, 2010 Groningen, Holland Oosterpoort
September 7, 2010 Hamburg, Germany Grosse Freiheit
September 8, 2010 Copenhagen, Denmark Vega
September 10, 2010 Berlin, Germany Astra
September 11, 2010 Munich, Germany Theaterfabrik
September 12, 2010 Vienna, Austria Arena
September 13, 2010 Graz, Austria Orpheum
September 14, 2010 Hohenems, Austria Eventcenter
September 15, 2010 Milan, Italy Alcatraz
September 17, 2010 Barcelona, Spain Bikini
September 19, 2010 Lisbon, Portugal Coliseum
September 22, 2010 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live
September 23, 2010 Richmond, VA The National Theater
September 24, 2010 Boston, MA The Royal
September 25, 2010 New York, NY Terminal 5
September 26, 2010 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
September 28, 2010 Montreal, Canada Le National
September 29, 2010 Toronto, Canada The Mod
September 30, 2010 Detroit, MI The Crofoot
October 1, 2010 Chicago, IL The Metro
October 2, 2010 Milwaukee, WI The Pabst Theater
October 3, 2010 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
October 5, 2010 Denver, CO The Odgen Theater
October 6, 2010 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
October 8, 2010 Portland, OR Roseland
October 9, 2010 Seattle, WA TBA
October 11, 2010 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
October 12, 2010 Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theater

NP : Bill Fay "Down To the Bridge" (1971)

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New feature! Every so often (perhaps never again), I will post a song that I simply can't stop playing of late. NP is short for Now Playing, which is short for me being obsessed with a certain tune.



Mark Olson's "Many Colored Kite" Due July 27

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Mark 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.



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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.

Freedy Johnston @ Cafe du Nord, SF, 5.14.10

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Freedy 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.

I Now Think It Will Happen

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Exile on Main Street

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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.
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, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Kay Lane

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I was 27 when my grandmother passed away in 2001. Today would have marked her 97th birthday. The only time I've ever seen my mother cry was at her funeral. As we walked towards the church on that afternoon, I was holding my mom's arm as she remained her indomitable self. But as we made our way across the parking lot, she turned to see all of the cars arriving: sisters, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends, and suddenly, she broke down. My mother remains not only a remarkable mom, but quite possibly my best friend. And my mother's best friend was undoubtedly her mother, Kay Lane.

I have photos of my grandmother and grandfather all over my apartment, most courtesy of my incredibly thoughtful aunt, Barbara. My grandfather, who passed away in 1977, reminds me of Woody Guthrie. I'm not really sure why; something about his looks and his way about going through life. I wish I'd gotten to know them more. Despite the passage of time, I still think of them often.

Although he's still probably only about 11 months, after adopting Bennett, I decided to give him my grandmother's birthday. As he sits at my feet with Freedy Johnston's "The Lucky One" on in the background, it's time to round him up and head off to the park, where we'll chuck the ball and celebrate his first and grandma's 97th.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - The Demos

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Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is widely considered Wilco's masterstroke, and by many publications, one of the few classic records of the past decade. While I agree that it's a pretty remarkable artistic achievement (and this is definitely an "art" record of some sort), many of the best tracks from those sessions actually didn't make the final record. To my ears, it's "Heavy Metal Drummer" that keeps Foxtrot from being a perfect record. I know many like it, but I consider it one of Tweedy's weakest songs to date. Fun? Maybe. Suitable for this record? Not a shot.




"Laminated Cat"

Imagine if they'd scrapped "Drummer" and replaced it with say "Laminated Cat/Not For the Season," a song that oddly found its way onto Tweedy's collaborative effort with Jim O'Rourke, Loose Fur. This song is arguably one of the best songs Tweedy's ever written, and like many of Tweedy's great songs, it was dropped onto a side project. I have no problem with this, but man would that track have fit in nicely on Foxtrot. And if he wanted to keep that track for his O'Rourke sessions, how about a slew of other tracks from the sessions, including "Shakin' Sugar," "Nothing Up My Sleeve," "Magazine Called Sunset" and the simply outstanding "Cars Can't Escape," the last being one of the best Tweedy/Bennett pairings.


"Cars Can't Escape"

Lastly, there are a number of alternate takes that outdo the tracks that made the final cut. The
alternate version of "Ashes of American Flags" is stunning, and although the album version is a
beauty, the other take is far more sparse and somewhat pastoral. It just feels like the disappearing
America that seems to be painted in the song.

Why this post? Well, I suggest you head onto the internet and track down the YHF Demos. They
may be just as important as the final record.

Here's the track listing (I'm sure there are different versions):

"I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" (alt)
"Ashes of American Flags" (alt)
"I'm the Man Who Loves You" (alt)
"Magazine Called Sunset"
"Reservations" (alt)
"Kamera" (alt)
"Laminated Cat/Not For the Season"
"Shakin' Sugar"
"Nothing Up My Sleeve"
"Venus Stop the Train"
"Cars Can't Escape"
"Poor Places" (alt)
"Won't Let You Down"
"Heavy Metal Drummer" (alt)
"Instrumental #1"
"Instrumental #2"
"Instrumental #2 (take 2)"
"Kamera" (alt 2)


Thanks, Mom

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, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.

Reviews of Recent Netflix

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Flirting With Disaster (1996) : B, Pretty good comedy/drama.

Easier With Practice (2009) : B-, A peculiar topic delivered pretty well.

Deliver Us From Evil (2006) : A-, One of the more disturbing films I've watched in years.

Rear Window (1954) : B+, A classic that didn't quite meet "classic" expectations.

Hunger (2008) : A-, A wonderful documentary about a hunger-strike in Ireland.

American Heart (1993) : C+, Meh.

The Hurt Locker (2009) : B+, Quite good.

The Vicious Kind (2008) : D, Not good.

A Woman Under the Influence (1974) : B+, Quality Cassavetes.

I Love You, Man (2008) : D, Quite crappy.

Sugar (2008) : C+, Not nearly as good as the reviews suggest.

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2006) : B+, Love.

so as the past goes breaking by....

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This week certainly wouldn't make my Top Ten Weeks list. For the past 4-5 days I've been nauseous for a good part of each day, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not pregnant. And somehow, likely either in one of the dog parks or while shooting hoops, I seem to have screwed up my knee. I've never had a knee problem in my life, but something's going on. I tried to fire up some threes yesterday and just couldn't. The little pain in my left knee was resulting in freakin' brick after brick. I'm talking Louis Orr bombs that were drilling side backboard. I called it a day and took Bennett to the park.

To me, these are the times that I learn the most. The things that I love take on a deeper and more resonant meaning. For example, listening to the Jim James/Calexico cover of Dylan's "Goin' To Acapulco" sounded so sweet today. And the Thao song "Goodbye Good Luck" makes me very happy. And then I had lunch with a pal today and the conversation was long, deep, hilarious, insightful and just kinda moving. And I talked to N tonight and it felt really nice. And I'm about to start Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, which I'm quite excited about. And the Yanks seem to win every game, which despite my issues with MLB, is pretty fun to watch (I like Hughes and this Cervelli kid).

And then there was the discovery of Richard Buckner's performance on Daytrotter. My love of Buckner is no secret, and I've worried of late if he's done with music. He had that interview a few years ago where he kinda hinted that it's a wrap and it's been four years since Meadow. And last time I saw him live he looked pretty bad: bloated, voice suffering, the passion just not there. When I see those who mean the world to me in such shape, it's heartbreaking. I don't know Richard Buckner, but his music has played an enormous role in my understanding of things. I remember driving back from Central Pennsylvania one night and at around 3am, still a few hours from home, I listened to Devotion & Doubt. The highway was completely barren. I was alone with this music. The record is so deep and dives into our core that it was somewhat overwhelming. I felt lonely but was enjoying the loneliness because it felt like the words understood. Or maybe I was understanding Buckner. I felt some solace in that hour. When considering heroes and stuff like that, I've come to gain greater and greater respect for folks like Buckner. I mean, these folks make such unbelievably important art, it goes virtually unnoticed, yet they keep on, with little (if any?) monetary return. I hope folks like Buckner, Easton, Roby, Pernice, Farrar, Vlautin, Best, Johnson, Mann, Russell/Smith, Ryan, Robinson and the rest know how much their music means to me, and others. I couldn't imagine my life without them. When I heard Buckner's "Town" from Daytrotter, I almost lost it. I thought he was gone, but the emotion in this take is some of the best of Buckner. Just stunning. And I'm incredibly grateful to be given such a gift. We all should be. Artists, especially the great ones, deserve more.

That's my take on things now at 851pm on a Saturday night. Bennett's at my feet, Buckner's coming through the headphones and I'm going to spend this night listening to my heroes.

"Stones In Exile" DVD

Alamo Square Cafe, Volume Lots

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They asked. I deliver. (I believe it's Volume 9 or 10)

Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer : A.C. Newman
Help Me, Suzanne : Rhett Miller
Goin' to Acapulco : Jim James & Calexico
Goodbye Good Luck : Thao
Town : Richard Buckner (Daytrotter)
Scarecrow : Beck
Magazine Called Sunset : Wilco
2000 Man : The Rolling Stones
Livin' Too Close to the Rio Grande : Freedy Johnston
Thank You Friends : Big Star
Love of the Loveless : Eels
Lafayette : Lucinda Williams
Folk Bloodbath : Josh Ritter
Rhapsody : Alejandro Escovedo
Waiting for the Universe : Pernice Brothers
January 6 : The Gourds
Across the Great Divide : The Band

Richard Buckner

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Whenever I think of Richard Buckner's lack of recognition, I'm reminded of that Steve Earle line about Townes. You know, "I'd stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and declare that Townes Van Zandt is the greatest songwriter to have ever lived" or something like that. I'm not getting on anyone's coffee table, but I find it baffling that Buckner isn't mentioned among the greats. I guess it shouldn't come as a huge surprise, as many of my favorite songwriters still write (if they're still doing it) under the radar. Folks like Kenny Roby, Brent Best, Damien Jurado and Joe Pernice. I mean, these fellas can write songs right up there with Dylan, Springsteen, Woody and the rest.

Richard Buckner should be known. Widely. His debut, Bloomed (1994) is a masterpiece, while his follow-up, Devotion & Doubt (1997), is his masterstroke. That may be saying the same thing, but seriously, they're unbelievable records. Next came Since (1998) which rounded out a near-perfect trifecta, but it was The Hill (2000) that should have landed Buckner in the Rock & Roll and Country Hall of Fames on some sort of early ballot. Not because of The Hill itself necessarily, but the fact that the guy recorded four remarkable records to start his career. Yes, remarkable. And remarkable sounds like an understatement. Since its release, I've often cited Devotion & Doubt as my favorite record ever released. Ever. Yes, that includes Nebraska, Freewheelin' Bob, #1 Record and Still Feel Gone.

Let's just take a peek at Devotion & Doubt. On "Ed's Song" Buckner sings:

Tough is as she does
Won't you slump on over and stir my shuffle down
For once, devotion is enough
But the walk you whittle, another dream, another drink
Over in the basement, not an inch between
I'm yours and I have to leave

"Goodbye Rye" is that final drink with the lover you're leaving. Or maybe she's leaving you:

Once upon a blue thing or two
Eyes in sight, the moon confused
We heard the sparks fly and we watched our lies
Some died in retreat, some in jealousy

And then there's "Song of 27" which is quite simply one of the most beautiful songs ever written:

Though, I may be miles away from her
With years that pass without a word
I've never seen a moon so high
Her name hangs down from there tonight

So, put your little hand away
I've seen such needy days before
On nights like this, my hope returns
Though, I may be miles away from her

Okay, maybe I'm ready to stand on someone's coffee table. And those are just a few lines from a few songs. Buckner has about 100 incredible songs. His records post-2000 are a bit of a mixed bag, but heck, Nick Drake only released three (perfect) records before his early passing. Granted, Drake only started getting a little attention in the past decade or so, but it's time for people to discover Buckner. I rarely read Pitchfork anymore, but I'm going to go ahead and rank Buckner's records on their scale. And for the sake of someone's coffee table, please go buy his records.

Bloomed (1994) 9.6
Devotion & Doubt (1997) 10.0
Since (1998) 9.3
The Hill (2000) 9.8
Impasse (2002) 7.8
Dents and Shells (2004) 7.0
Meadow (2006) 8.0



In the Park

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The pup and I went on our few-times-a-week trip to Golden Gate Park this afternoon. We seem to have found our favorite spot out around 41st Avenue where there are less people, lots of trails, and huge open spaces. In usual fashion, once he tires out from me rifling the ball for about 30 minutes, I found time to toss on the iPod and rest in the park while he pummeled his ball.

My iPod was playing one gem after another. The biggest stunner was Neil Young's "Ohio," which came streaming through as I considered that today marks 40 years since the Kent State Massacres. This one gave me quite the chill. But it was Jay Bennett's "Survey the Damage" from The Magnificent Defeat that came on for the fourth day in a row. I've grown to love this song, and sitting there in one of my favorite pieces of land on Earth, I was thinking of Jay Bennett and his contributions to the world of music.

Jay Bennett Foundation

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Very happy to hear of this. What a beautiful album cover.

The Jay Bennett Foundation launches on May 24 on JayBennett.org. On that date, fans can support the JBF by downloading the album Jay was completing at the time of his death. The download of 'Kicking at the Perfumed Air' is free, but donations are accepted and will benefit the foundation or one of its partner charities. 'Kicking at the Perfumed Air' will also be available to purchase as a CD and LP via the site on July 10, with a percentage of the proceeds going to the Foundation.


Grab

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, originally uploaded by ccsbandwagon.