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Saturday, April 23, 2016


ROUTES & BRANCHES  
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
April 16, 2016
Scott Foley

I've mentioned frequently here how my musical attractions vastly overflow the parameters set by this program and its accompanying blog.  Matter of fact, if I had to appoint an artist who most effectively defined my musical life since Scott: The Early Days, I'd easily select Prince.  I'm confident that I've never played a second of Prince as a dj, and I've only peripherally paid attention to anything he's put out since the early 90s.  But my heart still stirs with the line "I guess I should have known / By the way you parked your car sideways / That it wouldn't last."  1984's Purple Rain was no cinematic achievement, but it was the 2nd R-rated movie I saw (after Conan), and The Kid was largely responsible for the subsequent long-bangs-n-mullet with eyeliner look that I favored during my first couple years in college.  On a deeper level, Prince was everything I looked for in music.  He was a performer and a musician who was driven by raw instinct, catching and riding waves of emotion that transcended era and genre, gender and taste.  His recorded output was hit or miss over the past decade or so, but every live cut that was accidentally, fleetingly allowed onto the web showed him to be as nasty and fiery as he was during his glory days.  Prince's 2007 Super Bowl halftime show, capped by a transcendent  "Purple Rain" (in the rain!), left me in a puddle.  People are damning 2016 for taking so many great artists from our midst, but I'm always of the mind that death is a requisite part of any life; it's the precondition for accepting the gift and responsibility and the burden of existence.  I'm not sad that Prince and Bowie are gone.  They had lived a variation on a long and successful life.  What gives me pause is the passing of my own youth, remembering leaving the theatre in Grants Pass, Oregon, awash in the revelation of "Darling Nikki" and "Let's Go Crazy" and Lake Minnetonka.  Playing pinochle with my brothers and my father as "When Doves Cry" debuted over the radio, realizing for the first time the brilliance and balls of producing a funk track with no bass, and my father confessing that I made him laugh.  It reminds me again that for me music is inseparable from deeply personal emotion.  What I play on R&B is good stuff, but I find it difficult to believe that somewhere it's changing the life of a boy playing cards with his father.

Back to my usual music reviews next week.  And enjoy Saturday's broadcast, featuring new stuff from Arliss Nancy, Austin Lucas, Bonnie Bishop and more.  And, god willing, something that might just move you to grow out your bangs ...

- James McMurtry, "Comfort's Just a Rifle Shot Away" Dreamer: Tribute to Kent Finlay  (Eight 30, 16)  D
- William  Elliott Whitmore, "Lee County Flood" Song of the Blackbird  (Southern Music, 06)
- Al Scorch, "Lost At Sea" Circle Round the Signs  (Bloodshot, 16)
- Jayhawks, "Lover Of the Sun" Paging Mr Proust  (Thirty Tigers, 16)
- Whiskeytown, "Faithless St" Faithless St  (Outpost, 96)
- Caleb Caudle, "Broken Hallelujah" Carolina Ghost  (TiAM, 16)
- Elizabeth Cook, "Methadone Blues" Exodus Of Venus  (Thirty Tigers, 16)  D
- Dave Insley, "Call Me If You Ever Change Your Mind" Just the Way That I Am  (Insley, 16)
- Town Mountain, "Southern Crescent" Southern Crescent  (LoHi, 16)  D
- Christopher Denny, "If the Roses Don't Kill Us" If the Roses Don't Kill Us  (Partisan, 14)
- Bo-Keys, "Cold Cold Heart" Heartaches By the Number  (Omnivore, 16)  D
- John Doe, "My Darling Blues Skies" Westerner  (Cool Rock, 16)
- Hard Working Americans, "It Runs Together" Rest In Chaos  (Melvin, 16)
- I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House, "King James" Mayberry  (Last Chance, 13)
- Margo Price, "Four Years Of Chances" Midwest Farmer's Daughter  (Third Man, 16)
- Sturgill Simpson, "Keep It Between the Lines" Sailor's Guide To Earth  (Atlantic, 16)
- Honeycutters, "Back Row" On the Ropes  (Organic, 16)
- Chuck Ragan, "What We Leave Behind" Flame In the Flood  (Ten Four, 16)
- Michaela Anne, "Luisa" Bright Lights and the Flame  (Kingswood, 16)  D
- Rodney Crowell, "Fate's Right Hand" Fate's Right Hand  (DMZ,  03)
- Trevor Sensor, "Pacing the Cage" Texas Girls & Jesus Christ  (Jagjaguwar, 16)
- Chris Pureka, "Betting On the Races" Back In the Ring  (Sad Rabbit, 16)
- Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop, "One Way To Pray" Love Letter For Fire  (Sub Pop, 16)
- Felice Brothers, "Aerosol Ball" Life In the Dark  (Yep Roc, 16)  D
- Avett Brothers, "Ain't No Man" True Sadness  (Republic, 16)  D
- Jolie Holland, "Buckskin Stallion Blues" Days Full Of Rain: Portland Tribute To Townes Van Zandt  (Woodphone, 16)  D
- Ryan Adams, "Locked Away (Outtake)" Heartbreaker (Deluxe Edition) (PaxAm, 16)  D
- Tim Barry, "Church Of Level Track" Rivanna Junction  (Suburban Home, 06)

ps.  Lest you question whether a bridge can be built between this kind of stuff and Prince's music, here's an excerpt from a piece Patterson Hood wrote about him for Paste magazine: 

His brain became a musical melting pot of different styles and varied influences, yet all of his songs were unmistakably Prince. The funk of James Brown and the rock of Jimi Hendrix mixed with Joni Mitchell’s wordplay and Curtis Mayfield’s social commentary. Influences as varied as The Beatles, The Stylistics, Funkadelic, Brill Building formulaic pop and ’70s art-rock all meshed together into an otherworldly musical stew. His mixing of gospel with carnal sexuality took what Ray Charles had done a quarter of a century earlier to some higher plane. In my favorite Prince song, 1983’s masterpiece single, “Little Red Corvette,” he took the tired old rock-’n’-roll-car-song cliché to such grand heights, it was the greatest single of the entire decade. Every note of the song, from its minimalist opening to its transcendent guitar solo was picture-perfect and has yet to be improved upon.

Guess good music is just good music ...

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