"If love be rough with you, then be rough with love!"
Thanks for the kind words, Grayson! Two minor corrections:
1. I attend NC Wesleyan, not Meredith.
2. The breakdown Friday night will be electric, then acoustic, then electric again.
Thanks again for the righteous piece! See you Friday night in the pit!
Oh and I'll just add that it's good to see I'm not the only one around here pushing the Bruce ("Two Hearts Are Better Than One"). Go Aimee go!
AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! I had no idea this was out. Where can I get it?! I NEEDS IT!!!!!
My band and I moved to Raleigh in '94, and I didn't make any friends outside the band until '96. My brother was following the alt.country thing here a lot closer than I was, but I read a review of Strangers Almanac when it came out (in Rolling Stone, for gosh sakes), and it sounded like it was up my alley, so I got it.
It was the first Whiskeytown I'd ever heard, and I liked it, even though it was a tad slicker than I'd expected. In '97 I was just starting to learn how to drink and be romantically irresponsible, and the album, for better or worse, seemed to soundtrack that pretty good. I still cover "Avenues" sometime when I busk with the accordion.
It was funny, though. Back then, I'd tell people, "hey, I bought that new Whiskeytown album," and I'd get some funny looks. Some story would usually follow, along the lines of
"That guy slept on my couch and drank my beer for a month"
"That kid stayed up all night and wrote an album the first time he heard Big Star"
"He made out with my girlfriend on the railroad tracks."
I never met Ryan. By the time I came up to any degree in Raleigh music he was long gone. But these little anecdotal tidbits only added to the mystique and endeared the album to me further. Again, for better or worse.
I've since grown to be friends with Caitlin, and gotten a little more perspective on it. (Her "Sorry" is sadder than any WT song, by the way.) They were young, younger than I was even, and it must've been pretty whirlwindy. I've never been in a band with someone as...challenging as Ryan and certainly never felt the pressure-cooker of major label attention. In a sense I'm just glad they all made it out alive.
And I've come to prefer the other two Whiskeytown full-lengths to this one, for what it's worth. Faithless Street's rough songs go down with more authentic force, and the ballads ("Black Arrow, Bleeding Heart" especially, my goodness) have a sawdusty heartbreak. Pnuemonia, though uneven, has a positive vibe and adventurous spirit that I found delightful. "Bar Lights," with it's scruffy charm, it's warm and sincere laughter, and it's "don't-get-the-girl-but-don't-care" ending, seemed a perfect stopping place for the band.
Everytime I hear the complaint about paltry local music coverage in the N+O, my first reaction is a mental cultural polarization. One one side you have your mainstreamers--folks whose main outlets for new music news include commerical radio, the lifestyle section of their MSN or Yahoo homepages, or the occasional Best Buy circular. They're curious about Grammy nominations, they watch American Idol. Their exposure to live music consists mainly of yearly treks to the Jimmy Buffet and/or 80s package show. David Menconi, by the definition of his job, HAS to cater primarily to these folks.
Then you have your music die-hards. They read and write year-end top tens, travel to the ends of the earth (or at least Slim's, BCHQ and Nightlight) to catch bands, check in on Pitchfork, and waste their lunch breaks on message boards (HA). Grayson Currin writes primarily for these folks.
Of course, such black-and-white thinking can be detrimental and sometimes flat-out false. Not every rock-club regular is passionate about music; some just like to drink Jack and see dudes in tight pants. And some mainstreamers are on the periphery--perfectly open to giving a shot to the occasional new sound. True, getting a Claymate or soccer mom down to a Double Negative show is about as likely as getting me over to RBC for Hannah Montana. But I really believe there are some more adventurous mainstreamers out there who, if only exposed to it, would find a lot to enjoy in local music (maybe only on their ipod and not in a club, but still). Can we honestly say, as a creative community, that we don't offer decent local alternatives for fans of, say, James Taylor? Or Kanye West? Or Green Day? Or Faith Hill? To deny it would be to accept the ghetto-ization of local independent music.
So I applaud Grayson's call for a better balance of national vs local in David's coverage. The snark factor might've been high (David's a nice guy, and I'm sure his hands are tied to a large degree), but that may prove most effective in a shake-em-up kinda way. Outreach to people off of our radar is healthy. So many of them are potential fans but don't know it yet.
Thanks to Grayson AND David for all they do. And here's to the notion that there's always room for improvement.
Yours in rock,
Goner/The Monologue Bombs
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation