December 09, 2005

jail time for publishing lyrics and tab

Great, here comes the next salvo in the music industry's continuing War on Customers. Sites that share unlicensed lyrics, scores and tabulature are robbing songwriters of their ability to make a living, and must be shut down.

The Beeb reports:

The music industry is to extend its copyright war by taking legal action against websites offering unlicensed song scores and lyrics. The Music Publishers' Association (MPA), which represents US sheet music companies, will launch its first campaign against such sites in 2006. MPA president Lauren Keiser said he wanted site owners to be jailed. He said unlicensed guitar tabs and song scores were widely available on the internet but were "completely illegal". Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".

I have two things to say about this, my apologies if they are as obvious to you as they seem to me.

One. Music fans obsess over lyrics, pick out songs on our guitars, and so forth, because we love the music, not because we want to steal from musicians or songwriters or even the industry suits. The more access we have to the songs and stories and ephemera that surround the music, the more loyal and devoted fans we become. Music is a joint creation between the artists who write and arrange and perform, and the fans who bring our hearts and emotions and create the context for the music to flow. Tightening the screws on copyright of lyrics and notes by threatening to send us to jail makes us angry and sad, and much less sympathetic to the business side of the industry.

Two. Most of the lyric and tab sites out there suck. Quality is a mixed bag, coverage of artists and songs is spotty, and the ever-increasing amount of spam, spyware and general pop-up ridiculousness is making things worse over time. Hello Music Publishers, there's a blue-light special opportunity for someone to make a really great service here, you think maybe? You've got the rights to so much great material, an enormous base of obsessed customers, and...oh, wait...look at this global distribution network Internet thingy that reaches hundreds of millions of people with credit cards. It just wouldn't be that hard to be the best service on the planet, and it would almost certainly expand your business opportunity by twice to tenfold.

So MPA, what's it going to be? I guess you've gotta ask yourself, "Why am I in this business?" If it's just for the money, then go ahead and betray your customers the way the RIAA and MPAA have done. But if it has anything to do with the love of music, then how about joining the clueful 21st century and keeping the faith with the rest of us fans?

Posted by Gene at 04:13 PM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2005

more good guitar code

Some tasty fingerstyle guitar songs, nicely tabbed/transcribed:


Postscript by Mark Hanson (at Acoustic Guitar), with audio.

Jack Tuttle's site, lots of transcriptions and some mp3s. Jack teaches at Gryphon too, although I've not tried his classes.

Posted by Gene at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2005

robot johnson


Finally got my Robot Johnson t-shirt over at Gryphon Tuesday night. Funny, I go in there every week but I never knew they sold t-shirts until I saw the boingboing post. I asked the guy whether they had sold a lot of them recently, and he said they had a big run on them about a month ago and had to order a bunch more, but he didn't have any idea why they were so popular. Heh, guess it was a physical world boingboinging ;-)

Posted by Gene at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

fretboard journal #1


Here's a juicy new magazine for fans of fretted instruments, musicians, and their music: The Fretboard Journal. Issue #1 has pieces on David Grisman, Rev. Gary Davis, and Santa Cruz Guitars, among others. Looks like a gotta-have-it subscription to me.

The Fretboard Journal is an archival-quality, quarterly publication celebrating the culture of fretted musical instruments. We chronicle the most innovative instruments (mandolins, banjos, ukuleles and—of course—guitars) and instrument makers of the last 150 or so years; the best players; and the most interesting tales from the world of music. In addition, each issue boasts stories from the working musician’s perspective and never-before-seen photography. Basically, we’re the nerds in the guitar store who love sharing a yarn with fellow players and this is our outlet.

[via the ever-scintillating boingboing]

Posted by Gene at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2005

the rolling freakin' stones


San Francisco, 15 Nov 2005


Posted by Gene at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005

have a green day


Having a Green Day at the Warfield in SF

This is a post I've been meaning to get up for awhile. Dominic, Brett, Kiri and I went to the GD Warfield show last week, it was pretty good. In fact, they were awesome. I'll point you to the SFist review if you want the details. I took some more Green Day pix, sorry they are mostly a bit out of focus but a few are pretty solid. As you can see, they brought most of their stadium special effects from the big SF show at PacBell into the little Warf theater. I guess the fire cannons were scaled down a bit, but you could still feel the blasts of heat all the way up in the balcony where we were. All in all, it was a very fun, generous, and high energy show in a great small venue.

Posted by Gene at 12:06 AM | Comments (5)

September 19, 2005

she was standing right beside you all the time

You gave yourself up to the mystery
And sailed the oceans looking for
The secret of the key
To unlock a truth that you may never find
For it was m a cup of kindness all the time

You feel the thirst
But none can make you drink
The answer's waiting for you here but
It's not what you think
It won't steal your soul or leave you blind
It was just a cup of kindness all the time

And when Mother Mary finally comes to call
She could pass right through your heart
And leave no trace at all
While you were reaching for
The sacred and divine
She was standing right beside you
All the time

And the emptiness
You can't seem to fill
Beauty fades and pleasures cannot
Take away the chill
And the glamour lures you down into a lie
O but the cup of kindness
Never will run dry

You hear the vandals
Howlin' down your walls
And arm yourself against the ones
Who want to see you fall
Till some Holy Grail reveals
The grand design
Well it was in a cup of kindness
All the time

And when Mother Mary finally comes to call
She could pass right through your heart
And leave no trace at all
While you were reaching for
The sacred and divine
She was standing right beside you
All the time

Posted by Gene at 12:14 AM | Comments (3)

September 08, 2005

get yer roots on

For your musical to do list, here's a solid stack of excellent roots country and blues, from the four superb artists that were our instructors at Fur Peace. I own all of these and recommend them highly. Fully compatible with the new ipod nano and Harry Potter iPod, too.

Jorma Kaukonen: Blue Country Heart

Steve James: Not for Highway Use and Boom Chang

Toby Walker: Little Toby Walker and Live at the Bottleneck

Paul Curreri: Songs for Devon Sproule

Posted by Gene at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2005

new new riders

Well this should be something, the seminal hippie country band New Riders of the Purple Sage is re-forming and going on tour! Original memebers David Nelson and Buddy Cage will be joined by Jerry Garcia Band alums Johnny Markowski and Ronnie Penque, and our old friend Michael Falzarano. How cool is that?

Much more on Falzarano's site (Sept 1 entry).

Posted by Gene at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2005

guitar heaven


Back home after a fantastic weekend at fur peace with Steve James, Toby Walker (pictured), Paul Curreri, and Jorma. Much to say about this and other topics, but for now, here's the photographic evidence. I'd also like to recommend to you some superb music made by our instructors.

Last year was my first time at FPR, there's a bunch of pictures from that trip too.

Anyone planning to go in 2006? I'm signed up for Jorma's class over the October 20-23 weekend. Maybe see you there.

Posted by Gene at 10:00 AM | Comments (4)

August 17, 2005

cowboy junkies



A sweet night out with the Timmins family, full of delicious sadness and heartache. New album out, with stunning covers of Dylan, U2, and Springsteen, for your to do list.

Posted by Gene at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2005

down in the flood

If I ever get some time to listen to podcasts, I'm going straight over to Down in the Flood for a dose of history and commentary on American roots music. It's the perfect complement to the guitar class I'm in, where we are doing lots of traditional country blues lately. In fact we just did a version of Stacker Lee (you're a bad man, cruel Stacker Lee), which is one of the subjects of Jason's latest episodes.

Eh, and I found this, oddly enough, in Scoble's Linkblog. What's up with that?

Posted by Gene at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

a fine night at the fillmore


It was a good night of Hot Tuna under the chandeliers at the good old Fillmore ballroom. One set acoustic, one set electric. Jorma was having fun and it showed in his playing, which was sparkling and occasionally incendiary. Jack was really getting into the electric tunes, and Barry Mitterhof lit up the mandolin on several noteworthy jams including a very hot Parchman Farm -> Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning combo. Their timing was a bit mushy in spots, not sure if they could hear each other well enough in the acoustic part, but nobody seemed to mind. Young gun Erik Diaz from Akron Ohio laid down a tight beat in the second set keeping the band a bit more in line, but he had to be the youngest on the stage by a factor of 3! I don't know if it was the crowd, the venue, or something else, but the music was *way* better last night than at Saratoga. Of course not having an 11pm curfew might have something to do with it (they played until 1am last night). Jorma's got some notes and the set list posted on his site as well.

First (acoustic) set: Hesitation Blues, Blue Railroad Train, Waiting For A Train, Parchman Farm -> Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning, I’ll Let You Know Before I Leave, How Long Blues, Genesis, Breadline Blues, Uncle Sam Blues, Embryonic Journey, Good Shepherd, A Life Well Lived, That’ll Never Happen No More

Second (electric) set: I Wish You Would, Living Just For You, Serpent Of Dreams, Talking ‘Bout You, Rock me Baby, Corners Without Exits, In The Kingdom, Can’t Get Satisfied, Day To Day Out The Window Blues, Bowlegged Woman, Been So Long, Water Song, Hit Single #1, Funky #7.

Encore: Come Back Baby

RC: thumbs up...Geno: thumbs up. Don't wait for the DVD, go see this show LIVE.

Posted by Gene at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2005

if you don't know jorma you don't know jack

Counterculture heroes Hot Tuna are coming to town June 3rd. Who's for a blogger meetup at the Fillmore?

Posted by Gene at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

planxty george brabazon


Started working on this piece tonight in Carol's guitar class. It seems a 'planxty' is Irish for something like a song written in honor of a person, in this case one George Brabazon. Imagine my surprise to find that wikipedia knows about these, and also about the songwriter Turlough O'Carolan. Is there nothing the Internets doesn't know?

Turlough O'Carolan (Gaelic: Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin, 1670 - March 25, 1738) was a blind, itinerant Irish harper and composer whose great fame is due to his gifts for composition and verse. He is considered by many to be Ireland's national composer and the last of the Irish bards.

Wow, gotta practice up to do this one justice.

Posted by Gene at 11:42 PM | Comments (1)

October 31, 2004

waking and dreaming

The band Orleans made a couple of albums that were prominent in the soundtrack of my high school daze, so it was jarring to hear "Still The One" blaring in the background of a CNN spot on a Bush campaign rally. Really pissed me off, actually. Apparently John Hall heard it too, and wasn't so happy since he's a Kerry supporter. Bush's handlers have said they will stop using it.

Good. Bushies, may I suggest War Pigs would be a suitably upbeat replacement?

Posted by Gene at 10:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 28, 2004


Amazing. Give a guy a little free speech, next thing you know he's a political force. I never allowed myself to like eminem, but that's over now. Even if you can't stand Marshall Mathers, or 'that shit these kids call music', or rap/hiphop culture at large -- no, especially if you can't stand those things -- you owe it to yourself to hear and see 'Mosh' by eminem. It brought danah to tears; me too. Anger comes of age, finds its rhetorical voice, demands to be heard.

Posted by Gene at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 27, 2004

got swing fever

A double macchiato and a big pot of tea
and I'm sittin' here buzzing like a cheap TV

-- Bill Kirchen

Posted by Gene at 11:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 22, 2004

fur peace fotos

Finally getting my act together on some trip photos, here's some pix from my guitar paradise weekend at Fur Peace Ranch. Thanks again to Vanessa, Ginger, John, Deb, and of course Jorma; what an amazing and excellent thing you have created! And of course, thank you Michael Falzarano, my fingers are *still* sore from that nine pound hammer ;-D

Hey look, Greg has some cool pix and stories from the Ranch. And so does Johnny Atomic. Outstanding, who else took pictures? How about mp3s?

[More Fur Peace Fotos from Sept 2005!]

Posted by Gene at 12:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

world on fire

For you Sarah fans out there, the brilliant new video for World On Fire.

Posted by Gene at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

too much fun

We had Too Much Fun Saturday night at Fur Peace Station, and Bill Kirchen, Johnny Castle and Jack O'Dell tore the roof off the place with incredible music and joyful personality. Some of the guys that were in Bill's workshop told me it was going to be a great show, but frankly I had no idea how great. I know you're familiar with Bill's guitar -- just think back to "Hot Rod Lincoln" by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. That speed-guitar riff? That's Bill. He still plays the same Telecaster, except that the finish is worn down to bare wood after 30 years. And he plays that Tele like an evil genius, alternately striking sparks of fire, coaxing out dreamlike waves of sound, and honking it like a diesel rig under full load. For the entire first set, all I could say was Oh. My. God. It was thunderously good.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go see this guy. For you local valley types, he's playing the Freight & Salvage in Berzerkeley on Nov 5th, and Sweetwater in Mill Valley the next night. Maybe see you there, eh?

Posted by Gene at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 10, 2004

the people's candidate


Well, at least the candidate for the people where I am right now. Jorma's not teaching this weekend, but he did drop by for the afternoon, riding his black Harley with this fine campaign logo. He looks and sounds great, radiant and centered. Vanessa said he was going home to clean out the gutters, Jorma added he was going to use a big steel leafblower to do it, heh!

Can I say that, at least for today, Meigs County, Ohio is paradise? Warm summer weather, rolling green hills, cicadas buzzsawing in the trees, guitar music in the air everywhere. Umm, so paradise is just a little intimidating with all of the good musicians here, but we newbies are just doing our best and trying to soak up some new concepts and new licks. I must have played for six hours today, my fingers are rather tenderized.

Did I mention that Michael Falzarano has the patience of a saint? To spend all that time with working with our group, it must be hard to stay focused and energized, but he's really been great. What a privilege we have been given.

Note to self: must learn some campfire songs.

Posted by Gene at 08:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 30, 2004

david byrne on fire

david byrne

Unexpectedly, David Byrne put on the best show of the summer. It was surprising and mesmerizing, in that quirky, jumpy, innocent, artful way that Byrne has made his oeuvre for, egads, 27 years or so. It was new work and old favorites, but the new things were so good I wasn't sure which I liked better. It was get on your feet and go wild dance music, and even the usually moribund Saratoga crowd was out of the chairs for much of the night. Some of us still had the legs for a bit of pogo... I tried to remember the setlist below, and I think I got most of the songs, but I guarantee it is in no real order of performance. Except the opening piece that is; what can you say about a band that starts with a song they had never played publicly before, and it turns out to be One Rainy Wish?

David Byrne & Tosca Strings, Saratoga CA 8/24/04

One Rainy Wish (Hendrix)
Glass, Concrete and Stone
I Zimbra
Nothing But Flowers
UB Jesus
The Great Intoxication
Like Humans Do
Psycho Killer
Un de Felice, Eterea (Giuseppe Verdi)
Life During Wartime
Road To Nowhere
Once In A Lifetime
What A Day That Was (from The Catherine Wheel)
This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)
Finite = alright
Everyone's In Love With You

If anyone has a more definitive list for this show, do enlighten me please!

Thanks Francey for this Useful Reference:

Thanks RC for superior accompaniment ;-D

Posted by Gene at 11:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 16, 2004

let me touch you for awhile

It's been a long time coming,
As we shed a lonesome tear.
And now you're in a wonderama,
I wonder what you're doin' here

The flame no longer flickers,
You're feeling just like a fool.
You keep starin' into your liquor,
Wonderin' what to do

I don't hardly know you,
But I'd be willin' to show you,
I know a way to make you smile
Let me touch you for awhile

-- Alison Krauss & Union Station

Posted by Gene at 10:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 01, 2004

eric clapton rocks shark tank


I'm so hoarse. This was an absolutely rockin' show. Blues, rock, the real version of Layla, the real version of EC. Here's a little Clapton photo gallery, a few pretty good pics along with some where I was dancing too much (blur baby blur ;-)

Clapton set list San Jose, CA 07-31-2004:

Let It Rain - Hoochie Coochie Man - Walk Out In the Rain - I Want A Little Girl - I Shot the Sheriff - Me and the Devil - They're Red Hot - Milk Cow - Rollin and Tumblin - Kind Hearted Woman Blues - Got To Get Better In a Little While - Have You Ever Loved a Woman - Badge - Wonderful Tonight - Layla (the REAL version) - Cocaine
Encore (with Robert Randolph): Sunshine of Your Love - Got My Mojo Workin

Posted by Gene at 12:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2004

two things about jorma kaukonen

Well maybe three things.

Jorma runs a guitar camp called the Fur Peace Ranch ;-D I'm going there in September for a workshop with Michael Falzarano. It's "only" a beginner class, but I'm practicing like hell because the place is going to be wall to wall with really good players, and I want to learn absolutely everything my fingers can soak up.

Break Down Way is a new website where Jorma, well, breaks down his songs in a multimedia format. Although the cartoony graphics aren't much to my taste, the lessons themselves look amazingly good. High quality streaming video & audio, multiple camera angles, synchronized graphics and text, good tabs of the songs -- really innovative. It does cost, and you do need a fast net connection, but it's pretty tempting. Must...practice...more...

Jorma has a blog, or journal, or something, but whatever you'd like to call it, it's gentle, funny and heartfelt:

Tuesday, May 11, 2004 Hillside Farm, Meigs County

Last Thursday they ran the final episode of Friends. Now I'll admit that I probably watch too much TV, but I never got into Friends. I just had too many other really important forensic dramas to keep up with. I did watch on this night though. I knew that Embryonic Journey was up for being used somewhere in the final episode. I sat through the first hour of repeat snippets and then launched into the second hour, eschewing CSI. What a sacrifice. Anyway, as 2200 approached the show was winding down and they still hadn't played the song. I was starting to figure, "Oh well...' when in the final scene they played the song which continued over the credit roll. I felt a burst of pride that a song on an early Jefferson Airplane album that was written before most of the actors in the show were born was used... Not only used, but used well. I thought it really fit. My old friend Spencer Dryden called me to congratulate me on this blessing and we had had nice long talk. That was one of the many good things that came out of this event.

And as I'm poking around I see there's a tour diary too, w00t! Okay, that should keep us all busy for a bit. Enjoy!

(In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that the first show I ever went to was an Airplane concert in Syracuse NY, around 1968. My dad was a fan and he brought me along. I remember the big hall was not very full, and the music was so loud that I made my dad sit with me way in the back of the auditorium. So you could think of that as one of my formative experiences, heh!)

Posted by Gene at 06:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

peter gabriel on digital music

CNN has an interview with Peter Gabriel, talking about the digital transformation of the music business. It's good reading, though I wish it was audio instead of text for the nuanced inflections I suspect were there behind some of his statements.

PG on OD2, the European online distribution service that he started in 2000:

Anderson: What motivated you, a successful, musician and artist in your own right, to get involved in the business of digital distribution of music?

Gabriel: A number of reasons. I thought it was a good opportunity. I think it's very important for artists to get involved in the distribution. A new world is being created -- one is dying -- and if artists don't get involved, they're going to get screwed, like they usually do.

And on direct distribution by artists:

Anderson: The Internet has transformed the way we buy and listen to music; the digital revolution has an opportunity to transform the way that music is physically made, doesn't it? It's always been the big guys running this industry so is this an opportunity for musicians to come to the fore at this point?

Gabriel: Well, I really hope so, and there is an initiative that I began with [musician and producer] Brian Eno, called Mudda, which is a magnificent union of digitally downloading artists, and unlike OD2 -- which was always set out to be a commercial venture -- this is a more idealistic venture, which would be owned by artists for artists. So, there would be no business people or investors you [would] have to satisfy, but we need some initial capital, so we're working on that at the moment. But the theory then is that artists could become their own distributors, almost certainly with their record companies, but they can deliver stuff independently if they want. It's not really trying to set up something in opposition to the record companies, but for instance, on some deals now, an artist on a download of an album, or sorry a track, would see maybe only eight pence a track, which is much less if they would see in a physical sale. What I'm afraid of, personally, is that the business will, every time there is a technological breakthrough, the business thinks: "Ah, here we have another chance to claw a big chunk of the cake back for the business and away from the artist." And I think it's really important that artists act together -- which we are notoriously bad at doing -- and I hope that this union idea may get some blood behind it, and we will be able to become our own retailers in part.

Peter Gabriel is one of the most creative artists on the planet, both musically and politically. Are you old enough to remember Trespass and the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway? How about XPLORA 1? Witness? More recently, if you missed the latest tour for Up, or even if you didn't, the concert DVD is stunningly good. And the official PG website is a nice place to wander around and get happily lost as well. Well, if you're a fan like me anyway.

Posted by Gene at 05:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2004

leaving las vegas

CNN: Casino Ejects Ronstadt Over "Fahrenheit" Praise

Singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas on the weekend after dedicating a song to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore and his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," a casino spokeswoman said Monday.

Ronstadt, who had been hired for a one-show engagement Saturday night at the Las Vegas Strip casino, dedicated a performance of "Desperado" to Moore and his controversial documentary, which criticizes President Bush and the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

That dedication angered some Aladdin guests who spilled drinks, tore down posters and demanded their money back, said casino spokeswoman Sara Gorgon.

Guess Steve Earle and Joan Baez won't be headlining on the strip anytime soon, either. Amazing, isn't it, that our little 'land of the free' has become so openly intolerant of those who exercise their freedoms?

Posted by Gene at 02:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 10, 2004

sarah mclachlan in san jose


Thought this night would never come. Sarah was wonderful. The HP Pavilion was packed, but the murmurs fan club (run by nettwerk, Sarah's label) tickets were the real deal: our seats were 5th row center, incredible! I'm sure tomorrow night at the Greek will be magical, hope you're going.

Set list for Sarah McLachlan, San Jose 7-09-04 @ HP Pavilion

Fallen - World on Fire - Adia - Hold On - Perfect Girl - Drifting - Push - I Will Remember You - Ice - Wait - Witness - Elsewhere - Answer - Angel - Fear - Train Wreck - Building a Mystery - Sweet Surrender - Possession

encore: Blackbird - Ice Cream - Stupid - Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

Possibly a second encore? We left to beat the crowds out of the shark tank.

A few more photos, sorry they are so poor but at least you can get an idea of the nice stage set and lights. I gotta start sneaking in a better camera ;-D






Posted by Gene at 01:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

dylan, blood on the tracks and ubimedia

Speaking of Bob Dylan, when we were over the pond I read Gill & Odegard's book A Simple Twist of Fate, about the making of Dylan's classic record Blood on the Tracks. In my view the book was not so well written, but the underlying stories about the musicians involved, Dylan's mercurial studio working style, and the context of his difficult personal relationships, were easily interesting enough to carry it and make it an enjoyable read.

It was a chastening experience for [guitar player] Charlie Brown in particular. "I thought, what a treat this was going to be, man," he recalls. "And as it turned out, it was and it wasn't. In the middle of something, he would just turn around and say, 'Stop! Okay, I'm going to do this now,' and just turn right back around and go into it again. The only way you could tell what he was doing was to watch his hands, and the guitar player, me or Eric, would have to say, 'It's in E' or whatever, and bang, hit it! And sometimes it was in E, and sometimes it wasn't. He'd sort of scuffle around for a couple of bars, and somebody would hold up a hand that looked like an E, or an A, or whatever. But that was it -- he was real quick; he just wanted to go in and do it."

I like the premise of a book that tells the in depth story of a single musical album. In this book the texturing anecdotes about the times, the personalities, the conflicts and the musicians' excitement and trepidation added materially to my appreciation of the music. The inverse was true as well; I couldn't help but hear the songs in my head as I read about how they were recorded in the studio. This interweaving of text and context makes for a greater experience than either of the individual linear media forms provide.

So what other recordings do you think should get a book treatment? Of the ones out there, which do you recommend reading (or avoiding)? I'm looking for something new to fill my copious free time...

And now for a brief but nerdly technology digression: there's a nice opportunity here for ubimedia designers. We've been kicking the concept around for some time, that linked physical and digital media can weave new styles of storytelling and experience. Some simple but cool ubi-books have been designed already. But there's a deep rabbit hole here for the adventurous (yes, that's a paper on Yu-Gi-Oh media mixes that Mimi Ito wrote last year. Highly recommended). More on this later.

Posted by Gene at 12:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2004

channeling dylan via shawn colvin

Been hooked lately on Shawn Colvin's version of Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" (Cover Girl, 1994). I found a good tab of the guitar line, so I've been trying to work it up; still a bit rough and without all of the nice flourishes she drops in, but it seems within reach. At first I thought there must be 2 guitars on the recording, but now I believe there's just Shawn with all ten fingers involved.

Now about that singing-while-playing thing...

Posted by Gene at 11:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2004

kevin moore


Whoa, I had no idea this guy was so popular. Especially among the little girls, who were calling him out all night long: "keviiiiiiiiiin!!!" Well he's long and tall and has some moves on that guitar (make that: those guitars; he must have played 7 or 8 of them, everything from a National steel resonator to a Strat and a mandolin), so I s'pose there's something there. Cool show in any case.

But listen, that's Keb' Mo' to you, okay?

Posted by Gene at 09:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2004

the Joan Baez time distortion field

Earle and Baez 062304

Watching Steve Earle (& the Bluegrass Dukes) and Joan Baez tonight was like falling through a secret trapdoor into a parallel universe, where anti-war and pro-worker folkies still pound their guitars and shout their manifestoes in sawdust-strewn coffeehouses and grimy prison yards. They railed against the Washington power structure and the senseless death of young boys in war. They invoked the spirits of Woody Guthrie, Malcolm X, and Mahatma Gandhi. Earle's southern snarl and bluegrass twang stood in sharp counterpoint to Joanie's clear, ringing voice, but the common ground of their activist message was unmistakable. The performance was surprising and stirring, and more than a little jarring given the smugly comfortable surroundings of a well-manicured vineyard perched in the hills above upscale Saratoga.

I grew up hearing a lot of Joan Baez; my dad must have worn out the grooves on David's Album and so many others. Tonight when Joan played "Farewell Angelina", I found myself drifting back to our family home in New York, splayed on that magenta fringed rug in front of the old console stereo. Strangely, I can still smell that old carpet, all these years gone by. Music and memory, so tightly intertwined.

Joan introduced her 91-year old mom, who was sitting in the row behind us (why not the front row for your mom, Joan? Geez.) "She likes all the saddest songs", into "Jesse".

On "Baby Blue", Joan broke into a few lines of a very good, funny Dylan impression, all nasal whine and twangy drawl, which brought a huge laugh from the crowd. How easily she tossed it off, how much history was implied in that simple act.

The show closed all too early, with Steve Earle joining Joan and her band on his song "Jerusalem":

I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good
And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood
And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothin' anyone could do or say

And I almost listened to him
Yeah, I almost lost my mind
Then I regained my senses again
And looked into my heart to find

That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool
But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school
But somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
But I still find some comfort now and then

Then the storm comes rumblin' in
And I can't lay me down
And the drums are drummin' again
And I can't stand the sound

But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Joan Baez set list:
Caleb Meyer - Deportee (Woody Guthrie) - Joe Hill - Christmas in Washington (Steve Earle) - Farewell Angelina - Motherland (Natalie Merchant) - Lily of the West - Long Black Veil - Earth Angel - There But For Fortune (Phil Ochs) - Dixie - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Dylan) - Jerusalem (Earle)

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June 23, 2004

summer concert calendar

The fredshouse summer concert season starts tonight, plenty live music ahead for the next few months. Yes, it's mostly all old farts, what can I say? We like this stuff. If you're going to be at any of these shows, give a shout and we can try to link up.

6/23 Joan Baez/Steve Earle @ Mountain Winery
6/27 Keb' Mo' @ Mt Winery
7/09 Sarah McLachlan @ HP Pavilion
7/28 John Hiatt/Shawn Colvin @ Mt Winery
7/31 Eric Clapton @ HP Pavilion
8/04 BB King @ Mt Winery
8/10 Chris Isaak @ Mt Winery
8/14 Cowboy Junkies @ Mt Winery
8/24 David Byrne @ Mt Winery
9/11 ??? @ Fur Peace Ranch

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May 28, 2004

ugga bugga hugga bugga!

Transcript of a great big interview with David Crosby from the upcoming May 29th Frontline, "The Way the Music Died":

Yes, I care. Do I think they deserve to go in the tank, the big companies? Absolutely. They deserve what's going to happen to them completely. It's their own stupidity that's brought them to this point. And their own greed, and their own lack of taste.

I see plenty of future for music. Music is magic. It's been mankind's magic since the first caveman danced around his fire going "Ugga bugga, hugga bugga!" That was music, and he was happy. And we're still doing it, and it makes us happy. It will transcend; it will go on.

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May 15, 2004

good guitar code

In case you are looking for a good fingerstyle song to learn for acoustic guitar, this tab of Kansas' Dust in the Wind is one of the best tab transcriptions I have ever seen on the net. It's really well documented and explained. As for the song, the chord progressions look complicated, but in fact they are really easy to finger because most of the moves involved simply picking up or fretting one finger at a time. The picking pattern is just a simple outside-in pinch. Nice.

I'm in a group lesson this quarter, with Carol McComb down at Gryphon in Palo Alto. She's a good teacher and a talented musician, and the group format is actually quite fun. Highly recommended if you're into this kind of thing.

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April 27, 2004

cool fender guitar ad

I wouldn't normally recommend an ad, especially one from my employer. But I saw this flash ad featuring Fender Guitars, and just...clicked through. If you like guitars, I think you'll like this.

Posted by Gene at 08:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 09, 2004

mr. mojo retiring

Mojo Nixon, fringe rocker extraordinaire, is hanging up his guns after one last stand in Texas.

Performing in Houston on March 18 and Austin on March 20 Nixon will cap a 20-year career that spawned such mega-hits as: "Elvis Is Everywhere;" "Don Henley Must Die;" "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Luv Child;" "Stuffin Marthas Muffin;" "I Hate Banks;" "Bring Me The Head Of David Geffen" and "I Saw Jesus At McDonald's At Midnight."

"I have debased your false icons, mocked the myths and tried to shine the light of truth and freedom on the Big Lies" says Nixon. "I have done all I can."

[via a small victory]

Now playing: Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper | Bo-Day-Shus!!! | Elvis is Everywhere

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November 11, 2003

who makes this stuff?

Over on die puny humans (my current fave culture blog, click at your own risk), Warren found some odd music by a group called The Capricorns. I like it, it's a bit like something you'd find on an Oakenfold trance mix, played at 45 rpm (oops, anachronism alert). But it begs the question, from what part of the mental galaxy did this arise?

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October 23, 2003

Todd Rundgren comments on the music industry

Legendary musician Todd Rundgren wrote a clear-eyed screed on music and the music industry in the Hollywood Reporter. "Music is a sacrament", he begins. Four words that cut to the heart of the matter; okay, got my attention already. He goes on to say, "The mechanisms of music, how and why it affects us the way it does, are still mystical even to a cynical older record producer like myself." Funny, when I say that kind of thing it sounds so, well, mush-headed. It has become rare to hear this kind of unironic sentiment expressed in any venue; maybe mysticism has fallen out of fashion in the postmodern period. Of course, Todd also has a few more mainstream things on his mind...

The reason why the RIAA comes off as a gang of ignorant thugs is because, well, how do I put this -- they are.

It's a good read, whether or not you think he's God.

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September 30, 2003

willie nelson


Maybe I didn't love you
Quite as often as I could have
And maybe I didn't treat you
Quite as good as I should have

If I made you feel second best
Girl I'm sorry I was blind
You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

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September 20, 2003

an odd little homecoming


My good friend RC invited me out to see the Dead last night at Shoreline. I had resisted going to the shows that various incarnations of the band members put on in the intervening years since Garcia's passing in '95. I suppose I believed that without Jerry, the music would finally stop. As it turned out I was both right and wrong.

We got in a bit late, and they were well into Shakedown Street by the time we found our seats; the crowd was on its feet and rocking hard. After I got over the initial visual shock of Bobby as a shaggy greybeard, and all the new folks on stage (was that really Joan Osborne?), I began to realize that the band had moved on and the music had evolved, and it was actually pretty good. The sound was full and intimate, they were playing confidently and tightly, and the new members brought their own ideas and styles to the mix. It was a revelation of sorts; it started to feel like coming home.

But it was an odd sort of homecoming. It was as if, after many years away from home, I had gone back to the old neighborhood to find my family living with strangers. Strangers that tried to seem a lot like the family I knew, but were obviously different. Strangers that had been accepted by the rest of the community, but not by me. It was weird and disconcerting.

Well, but then they played scarlet begonias, and a new kind of dark star, and did long interludes of drums and space, and finished with iko iko just before midnight. I was won over, even if I caught myself thinking 'that's where Jerry would have done it this way...' Bitter and sweet.

I guess we'll see.

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September 06, 2003

new sarah mclachlan

I heard the new Sarah McLachlan song "Fallen" tonight for the first time, and it made me deeply happy. There's something about her music that fits into my psyche in just the right way, part religious experience and part guilty pleasure, heh! So apparently we can expect the entire new album (Afterglow) on November 4th, and a substantial tour schedule in 2004.

Here's a funny thing: Electronic Arts is promoting the song, making a stream available on The Sims site. They are also promising a Sarah skin for the Superstar version of the game. What's up with such cognitive dissonance? Is that cool, or just silly?

Angela's really lovely site is a much better bet for fans, and includes this link you will definitely want to click on.

We all begin with good intent
Love was raw and young
We believe that we could change ourselves
The past can be undone
But we carry on our back the burden
Time always reveals
In the lonely light of morning
In the wound that would not heal
It's the bitter taste of losing everything
That I've held so dear
I've fallen.

I am constantly amazed at the power of music to elicit such physical and emotional resonances...

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August 23, 2003

Eagles in San Jose

(annoying infomercial) - The Long Run - New Kid In Town - Wasted Time - Peaceful Easy Feeling - Hole in the World - Love Will Keep Us Alive - The Boys of Summer - Take it to the Limit - Already Gone - (Joe Walsh 4 governor) - In the City - One of These Nights - break - James Dean - Lyin' Eyes - I Can't Tell You Why - Walk Away - Tequila Sunrise - Sunset Grill - Turn To Stone - You Belong To The City - Life's
Been Good - Dirty Laundry - Funk #49 - Heartache Tonight - Life in the Fast Lane - encore: Hotel California - encore2: Rocky Mountain Wave - ???

Well then, a good time was definitely had in San Jose last night! As you can tell from the photo we were not very close, and the Nokia-cam leaves a bit to be desired in these situations :-P But it was still a ton o' fun. The boys hit the stage around 8:20 or so. The first few numbers were pretty laid back, they were just mailin' it in. Then they finally found their groove somewhere in the middle of Peaceful, and the new 9/11 tribute Hole in the World was soulful and deep. Timothy B. Schmit's vocals on Love Will Keep Us Alive were sweet, oh yes. It was certainly great to see the band together, on the road and in good spirits, but I have to say the show was carried by Joe Walsh's songs and still-raunchy/tasty guitar work. Turn To Stone and Rocky Mountain Wave were truly the highlights for me. We had to leave a bit before the end, so I'm not sure if they did anything after RMW, perhaps a little Desperado? All in all, an excellent night of greatest hits from end to end.

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August 17, 2003

Springsteen in SF

Bruce was incredible tonight at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco!!!
The Promised Land - The Rising - Lonesome Day - My Love Will Not Let You Down - Prove It All Night - Something In The Night - Empty Sky - You're Missing - Waitin' On A Sunny Day - Darlington County - Worlds Apart - Badlands - Out In The Street - Mary's Place - Across the Border - Into The Fire - No Surrender - encore 1: Bobby Jean - Ramrod - Born To Run - Seven Nights To Rock - encore 2: My City of Ruins - Land of Hope and Dreams - Rosalita - Dancing in the Dark

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July 20, 2003

Hesitation Blues


Tell me how long, do I have to wait? Can I get you now or, must I hesitate?

The Jorma and Jack show came to town last night, RC, Joanne and I were front row center for that mess. Guido and Linda also. A howlin' good time was had, as I recall...

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