Townes Van Zandt was, I suppose, a country-folk artist, but primarily he was a songwriter. I know more people who have passed on his music than got hooked because his songs seem ordinary and unremarkable. I felt the same way until I learned to play a few of his songs, and then they began to feel like my songs, like they were coming from me. I’ve spoken to musicians who have had similar experiences with Townes’s music. It takes a while to catch on to it, and then it subtly penetrates and resonates and takes over. “Highway Kind” was the first song that crept up on me like that.
“It’s a shame that it’s not enough. It’s shame that it is a shame.” I rarely listen to Townes Van Zandt these days because he’s unbearably sad most of the time, but I still appreciate him. He led me away from conventional white rock music and got me listening more to music that could be played by one person as opposed to produced in a studio. The calm, quiet water often runs the deepest. Or something like that.
Midnight in Paris was the most enjoyable movie I saw in the summer of 2011. A disaffected writer visiting Paris experiences something surreal during a midnight stroll that changes his outlook on life. The movie is funny, smart and full of subtle insights about life, the universe and everything. I can’t say any more without giving away the best parts.
The trailer is careful not reveal any of the key elements of the movie. The linked review is one of the few I’ve found online that discusses the relevant qualities of the movie without giving anything away.
Tom Waits is the love child of the Cookie Monster and Sonny Boy Williamson and I’d pay several hundred dollars to see him live and not even blink. He’s #1 on my Hope I See Him Before I Die list. I don’t know what to say about him because there’s too much say. I could pick 50 of his songs that grabbed hold of me an didn’t let go. Trying to select one that’s representative of his music can’t be done. “Walk Away” ain’t a bad little ditty though.
The last bit of inadvertent influence my father had on the music I listen to — and it’s a big one — is from Sonny Boy Williamson. My father happened to buy a Sonny Boy Williamson record. He didn’t listen to it. I did and my head nearly exploded. Most of my favourite artists are influenced by the blues. I hear the blues in everything. I still listen to and appreciate the music of plenty of great blues artists like B.B. King, Blind Willie McTell, Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton, Lightin’ Hopkins, Little Walter, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, Pinetop Perkins, Skip James, Son House, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. But if I have to pick the one blues artist who can’t do wrong, who I know, whatever track you pick, I’m going to love it, it’s Sonny Boy Williamson. In my book, he’s the embodiment of everything that is the blues.
If you don’t like Sonny Boy Williamson, get out of my house.