moments before the wind.

March 27, 2007

walk through the bottomland without no shoes

Filed under: architecture, authenticity, business, distribution, marketing, music — alimarcus @ 3:14 pm

A few posts back, I commented on an art show that displayed works which were not for sale, works that exist for artists in an acommercialized arena. It reminded me of Turtle Rock and where my own sympathies overlapped with those of the curator.

And then there was an article last week about the great abstract expressionist Clyfford Still. I did not know it but it seems that he spent a great deal of effort fighting against the commercialization of his art. He managed to posthumously succeed, if only in an incredibly egotistical way – his last will and testament decreed that his thousands of stored away works (only 150 were ever sold) may ever only be shown in an entire museum dedicated to him with no other artist’s work alongside. And now that a celebrity architect has signed on, Denver, CO will be the recipient of Still’s legacy. Egotism and intrigue aside, how fascinating. I mean really.

And then I found myself in a southern room at the Met the other day, a room full of Still’s paintings. It was breathtaking. Paul Klee, Arshile Gorky, and Mark Rothko often get the most praise for their distinctive color palettes, but never have I been this taken with the combinations. (The only exception, maybe, was a Dan Flavin show at the Smithsonian a few years ago, but that’s 3D and so entirely different.)

The colors are dark and brooding, full of movement and emotion. Like a plush velvet curtain and maroon walls. I don’t really know what it was that grabbed me the most, but it was certainly a memorable experience. I personally can’t wait for that Denver museum. Still may have had a high opinion of himself, but in the end I think there will be plenty of people who will find themselves in accord.

But what does any of this have to do with Turtle Rock and free music? Well, maybe an interesting lesson. Maybe you can sell a little bit in pursuit of something much bigger. Maybe you have to, even if you’re kicking and screaming.

March 14, 2007

eviscerate your memory

Filed under: authenticity, music, news, rock — alimarcus @ 2:59 pm

I just want to take a moment to say how proud I am of REM. The night they got nominated for the Hall of Fame I was in Concord, NH. After a some raucous games of foozball and a pitcher of beer that appeared out of nowhere, I popped $5 into the (digital!) jukebox and played as many REM songs as it covered. Boy that was great.

But they deserve this. There are a lot of REM haters out there, and there’s no need to really jump in and defend them because it’s just so obvious how great they are. I am an adoring fan, I admit it. I want to add that my appreciation for the band only grows with time. Grows and grows and grows. Patti Smith got all the attention, but I raise my glass (pitcher) to the weirdos in the corner, face paint and all.

Funny to see Patti Smith as a diva though, even if reluctantly. And the Phil Spector drama, gotta love the Phil Spector drama. Him and MJ will have some kind of showdown one day, but I’m not sure about what.

March 12, 2007

keep your silver shined

Filed under: authenticity, business, country, distribution, folk, indie, live shows, music, news, reviews, writing — alimarcus @ 12:14 pm

Times are slow on this here blog. It seems to be to inverse of reality, which actually probably explains the situation.

I went to see Deadwood Revival over the weekend, a folk/country duo from Port Angeles. Coupled with the recent Josh Ritter show that I saw the week before (see this review), I am full of inspiration. When I spoke to them, DR seemed a little out of their element in a quiet performance space, even though on stage you never would have known. I can understand that, because the general string band/old-time/folky crowd here in the Northwest is largely dance-based.

Now I don’t know what’s going on, because the traditional stereotype of Northwestern residents is that they don’t move at all – the rowdiest rock show will only produce a few head-bobbers and such. But it’s true, all the dancers come out with the banjos. I’ve seen it. What’s interesting is that where I come from back in Virginia, there’s plenty of the quiet listening shows for this kind of music. Deadwood Revival strongly reminds me of what I call Virginia Folk- namely Eddie from Ohio, the Nields, John McCutcheon. Music that I grew up with, from locally based artists who all now have these huge national audiences. But there is a sound about them that screams Virginia to me. Here’s what I wrote once on this here blog:

The “Virginia Folk” thing is a bright streak in my musical tastes, from stuff like EFO and the Nields to a few  select years of the Pat McGee Band, and of course the Dave Matthews Band. Living in Charlottesville as a college student put us in the path of many a frat party band aspiring to fame, including the early days of O.A.R., Virginia Coalition, Dispatch and Georgia Avenue…This is definitely not Virginia as in Carter Family, Galax and Appalachia and all that, though the ghosts are there, mainly in the acoustic guitar-ness of it all, the swingy country rhythms and the preponderance of tight harmonies.

DR is originally from Georgia, which could be part of the reason why there are so many similarities. And I am willing to bet that they are familiar with EFO- the Julie/Robbie dynamic runs very strong through Kim and Jason. I have been to literally countless shows for all of these bands, and they run the gamut of locales, but generally tend towards the “listening” rather than dancing situation. It depends on what you are out for. In general though, if I really want to pay attention, I am going to want some quiet. I know that as a performer these situations feel like you are being put on the spot, but that is sort of the point too. It’s a privilege to get people to shut up and listen – and it’s precisely the challenge to succeed that makes it fun.

But this is all my own opinion. The original point is that I just wanted to say that Deadwood Revival rocks. You can tell how on point they are, how well rehearsed, and how much detailed attention they pay to the arrangement and execution of their songs. They cover great songs (“Cold Rain and Snow,” “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,”) they write great songs, and they keep you interested all the way through. Listen to and buy there CD here.

And speaking of how important it is to buy independent music, have you bought my album yet? I am not sure if it fits into the “Virginia Folk” category, but then again I will never hear my own music the way that you would. You tell me.

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