The Detroit duo

The Detroit duo “The Whiskey Charmers”

Here’s some music to sink your teeth into!

A friend told me I should check out the debut album by the Whiskey Charmers, an alt-country duo from Detroit. They wouldn’t tell me about it; they said to just listen for myself. That piqued my interest. So I downloaded it from their Bandcamp site.

As I was listening to it, my critic was in high gear. I was curious what they were up to. I was trying to get a handle on it.

At first, I thought, wow… I would’ve liked to have been involved in the production of this album. I’d have some good suggestions.

A line from the first song really jumped out at me: “But then you looked at the horizon – and you vanished into thin air”. Nice… A pretty evocative image. I’m sure we’ve all known a few people like that.

The next song was about a vampire… Hmmm… Okay, I’ve never really been that into vampires; haven’t understood the attraction and fascination. I remember how as kids, my older sister always loved to watch the soap opera “Dark Shadows”, about the vampire Barnabas Collins. I get it now – he was mysterious and sexy…

The “Neon Motel Room” has “a nice little quaint highway view.”

The song “C Blues” got my pulse going. It was a nice musical change of pace. Though very short, it seems like a good genre for the duo.

“Can’t Leave” has some very nice guitar figures that really grabbed me. Kind of Spanish/arabesque stuff like John Cippolina might’ve played.

I listened through to the end of the album; and then started from the beginning again.

I thought about production. What does that word mean? Everybody involved with the making of a recording is – in some sense of the word – ‘producing’ it. I marveled as I thought about how much is actually involved in putting out an album like this.

And as I continued to listen, it started dawning on me what was going on here.

It’s a dramatic, spooky, thematic collection of songs; nicely woven together. It has, in fact, been produced just as it should’ve been! The album continues to grow on me.

Saints and sinners; rattlesnakes; vampires; rusted chains on feet that have been there a thousand years… ghosts maybe? The singing, the low key ‘production’… All very nice. I could listen to this album over and over. I continue to do so. It’s a kick.

Okay, one reviewer called it country noir. Nice. That’ll do as a label. Kind of Goth, even – but with a sense of humor, imagination and a light touch. If it is in fact country music… Well, what a great way to mix up genres! This is original and fresh.

Also – there is a tradition and precedent in country music. Much of the country music from an earlier era – The Louvin Brothers’ “Knoxville Girl” comes to mind – came from traditional English, Scottish or Irish ballads. And we all know how the Irish love their ghost stories, right? Listen to “Sit Down By The Fire” by the Pogues for the modern equivalent.

One of the first songs that grew on me is “Vampire”. It’s such a great metaphor for how a moment’s passion can lead to a lifetime of misery. But what I love most about this album is how well the songs all go together as a whole.

Check it out! For your listening pleasure! Lullabies for the dispossessed! (Or even for the
possessed!)  Now available:  “The Whiskey Charmers”

*

Bandcamp Download and Streaming Link:
https://thewhiskeycharmers.bandcamp.com/releases

*

Website:

wwww.thewhiskeycharmers.com

*

Newsletter:

click here

Advertisements

3-6 black churches have been the victims of arson since #‎CharlestonMassacre

Reprinted from Urban Cusp on Facebook

churches burning

Urban Cusp
Reports that between 3-6 black churches have been the victims of arson attacks since the ‪#‎CharlestonMassacre‬. Please do not let this be a quiet matter. We will not and cannot live in terror.
Three source links are below. 3-6 was stated because 3 are confirmed arsons; there have been reports of 3 other burned down black churches but not yet confirmed as arson by mainstream press.
Source: http://www.rawstory.com/…/whos-burning-black-churches-arso…/
Source:
http://www.theatlantic.com/…/arson-churches-north-c…/396881/
Source:
http://www.splcenter.org/…/string-of-nighttime-fires-hit-…/…

@milesmaker: 5 black church arsons in 6 days:
Knoxville 6/21
Macon GA 6/23
Charlotte, NC 6/24
Warrenville SC 6/26
Tallahassee 6/26″

subway art

“Training Days: The Subway Artists Then and Now” by Henry Chalfant and Sacha Jenkins

A must read primer on graffiti art, if you have any interest in it at all. Maybe even if you don’t. It really gets you inside the minds and motivations of the kids that put their safety – and more – on the line. First person accounts of what it was like in its heyday. Includes a glossary.

These kids were outlaws who fought to make a space and identity for themselves; sometimes (if not by definition) making wry comments on society in the doing of it.

Co-Author/Editor Henry Chalfant was one of the most important people (if not the most) to document this phenomenon with his photography.

Some of the pictures are kind of tiny. “Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition” by Chalfant and Martha Cooper has many of these same pictures in a big coffee table book format.

Another book I’ve seen that I like is “Freight Train Graffiti”. It’s impossible to look at these pictures for any length of time and not improve your own handwriting… These people are heroes to me. Delve beneath the surface to see the beauty, if it’s not in fact obvious to you at first. The level of courage and dedication is high…

What do I like about the graffiti in this book? I like the way it was done with a certain code; working within artistic strictures. There’s some amazing artists. I’ve seen enough on the streets and freight cars of Seattle to appreciate this.

A lot of it was done just to get one’s name up in the public eye. But it couldn’t necessarily be legible. Artistic, yes – but often legible only to the few or the knowledgeable.

Also, to be legitimate, many writers felt that you had to steal the paint. And there was so much more of a technical aspect to it than you might think.

I’m not looking to make any converts. But I think you’ll have to read and digest this book if you want to know the ‘ifs’ and ‘whats’ of the social and artistic impact this movement had.

the book

the book “Freight Train Graffiti”

K2 Siren of the Himalayas

Fantastic movie! Gets inside the head of climbers like nothing I could’ve hoped for.

For me, the expedition leader Fabrizio Zangrilli is the star of this movie. His levelheadedness is powerfully instructional. But he wasn’t the only star. You grow attached to this hardy, fearless crew. Emotionally powerful – I cried.

The extras are a must-see. A great concept/vision for a film; and flawlessly executed. A real achievement.

4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Jimi_All_Is_by_My_Side_poster

When this movie was shown at the NW Film Festival last year, there was some mystery around it. The people I asked about it seemed to think there was something… maybe a little… off about it. But they wouldn’t say what!

Yeah. For me, there were one or two shockers. I’m not going to say, either. But I’m very troubled by the way this movie – which apparently got a lot of its info verbatim from Charles Cross’s Hendrix bio “Room Full Of Mirrors” – might function as yet another meme about Hendrix. The man is 45 years dead… and still the vultures circle. Incredible, just incredible! See the movie and then do a little research on the internet; if anything strikes you as questionable. For me it’s a cautionary tale about believing everything that you’re told.

I liked it inasmuch as it renewed and re-piqued my interest in Hendrix. Linda Keith was portrayed as very influential in shaping Jimi’s professionalism and in encouraging him to be a bandleader/artist in his own right. For me it brings up questions about the star-making process. It seems like an interesting question: if Hendrix hadn’t been ‘discovered’, shaped, molded, etc. (if indeed he was), then what would his artistic career trajectory have been? I think our musicians and other artists get commodified – it’s an occupational hazard. They sometimes sacrifice themselves – or get sacrificed! – in order to share their own unique vision with the world…

Andre’ Benjamin’s performance was uncanny, simply brilliant.

I liked the sense of getting a window onto the groundbreaking artistic milieu and zeitgeist that was London at that particular time. The film captures some aspects of it very well.
I had a big objection to the way that the Devon Wilson character (Ida) was portrayed – as some evil Svengali of romantic intrigue. Phony, sensationalistic and objectionable, in my opinion. There’s more of this kind of portrayal of the women in Hendrix’s orbit.

At any rate, after watching this, I did a little research on the internet, listened to some of my favorite Hendrix tunes and had a bit of a cry for the man and his music. Then I picked up Cross’s book, which I’m reading now – with a healthy dose of skepticism.

I guess for me it was a vehicle to meditate on the man and his music… 3 1/2 stars out of 5.

I think Dave Edmunds is one of the great under appreciated talents of roots rock ‘n roll. How would I describe his music?

I like upbeat, up tempo rock music – a lot. I like virtuosity on the guitar; clever songwriting; expressive singing; and good interpretation and arrangement of others’ work, where it eclipses the originals or adds something ineffable.

I saw him play at a nice small auditorium during one of Seattle Center’s Bumbershoot festivals, some years back, playing solo with just an acoustic guitar. What a talent!

I put together a playlist on Spotify called Edmunds, Lowe and Rockpile. Some of my favorite, stand-out tracks from the playlist are: Standing At The Crossroads; Born Fighter; Home In My Hand; Halfway Down; It Doesn’t Really Matter; I Love Music; Girls Talk; Almost Saturday Night; Three Times Loser; When I write the Book; and You Ain’t Nothin’ But Fine.

Nick Lowe is a great talent, too. I love his voice; he’s a fantastic singer! He brings a great sardonic sense of humor to his singing and lyrics.

Rockpile and some of Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe’s ‘solo’ work are all basically the same band. Nick Lowe played bass and sang. Edmunds sang, as did guitarist Billy Bremer. Terry Williams played drums. Wow! What a band! They put out an impressive collection of work.

I like trying to guess whether it is Lowe or Edmunds singing on some tracks. Their voices are sometimes similar; and sometimes have their own interesting nuances. This is particularly evidenced on their note-perfect interpretations of Everly Brothers tunes. It’s obvious to me that they influenced and complimented each other tremendously, as musicians.

The Blasters – including the brothers Phil and Dave Alvin – and the solo work of Dave Alvin – also rate high on my current play list. I also made a playlist for them on Spotify: The Blasters and Dave Alvin.

Dave Alvin is one of the primo, number one, undisputed great writers of Americana music. And he’s always a threat on guitar! He’s collaborated as Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women with two of my favorite female singers – Christy McWilson of The Picketts (check out their 1993 album, Paper Doll) and Laurie Lewis (Another fine songwriter! Check out her albums Earth and Sky: Songs of Laurie Lewis and True Stories.)

Phil Alvin – what can I say?! He’s one of the classic vocalists of the Americana genre. His voice conveys excitement and joy. It’s a little similar to Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Malford Milligan of Storyville. Very expressive and soulful. One of my current faves.

Finally, a word about John Doe. I saw him do a free short set at Easy Street Records in Seattle, around the time of his solo album Keeper, in October 2011. Wow. As a fan of the band X‘s album Under The Big Black Sun since the early ’80’s, the great dissonant blend of his and Exene’s voice – and the great instrumentation – was a part of my DNA.

He had another female singer with him. It was all acoustic, I think. But wow. That voice! His presence! It made me think I’d died and gone to heaven; moved me to tears; and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck – all at once! I was working hard and didn’t have the energy to go see him at The Tractor Tavern later that night. But I just want to testify! – if you ever get a chance to see him solo – do yourself a favor – Go!!

Check out my playlists at Spotify –   Search for:  Amy8Trak and then click on fair_choice for additional ones.

UPDATE TO THIS PAGE:

Sadly for all of us, the sale of these homes was officially announced as having closed on Friday the 13th of 2015 – to the development company “Rise” out of BC, Canada.

Thanks to all who took the time to send in the petition to the Seattle City Council !!

Click HERE for a link to an article about the homes that were sold.

Aside from changing the title, what follows is the content of the original blog post.

_______________________________________________

**************************************************************

_______________________________________________

 

A watercolor of beautiful Discovery Park in Seattle. Watercolor by James Deitz. Website: http://jamesdeitz.com/index.html

A watercolor of beautiful Discovery Park in Seattle. Watercolor by James Deitz. Website: http://jamesdeitz.com/index.html

Historic housing in Fort Lawton - Discovery Park

This is one of the beautiful old homes in question.

 

THERE IS A COLLECTION OF 22 NATIONAL REGISTRY OF HISTORIC HOMES THAT A CANADIAN BUSINESS GROUP IS TRYING TO SURREPTITIOUSLY BUY!!! THIS COULD TRANSPIRE IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF FEBRUARY 2015 IF NO ACTION IS TAKEN!!

There is so much history associated with this place! Lord, please don’t let the wealthy and greedy usurp our beautiful public property!! These beautiful homes at present are being leased to the public. They are a vital hub of our community. Sacred!! Just fantastically beautiful old homes!! If you’ve never seen them, you can’t even imagine. No home built today could even hold a candle!!! They reek with the beauty of history and karma.

Here is an account of the takeover of the park in 1970 by a Native American group seeking to reclaim the property:  “On the morning of March 8, 1970, two half-mile long columns of vehicles began forming in a south Seattle neighborhood. The vehicles moved north towards Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood and the recently decommissioned Fort Lawton Army installation.  As the convoys headed north onlookers could see the red cloth banners streaming from the antennas of the automobiles. When the caravans reached their destinations, both the north and south sides of Fort Lawton, the occupants of the cars launched a coordinated effort to occupy the fort and establish it as a cultural and social services center for Seattle’s growing Native American population. In the midst of the ensuing struggle, the occupation’s principal organizer Bernie White Bear stated, “We, the Native Americans, reclaim the land known as Fort Lawton in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.”   http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/FtLawton_takeover.htm  Eventually, they were given a parcel of land on which they built the Daybreak Star Cultural Center.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daybreak_Star_Cultural_Center

Here is a link to Friends of Discovery Park website: http://www.friendsdiscoverypark.org/

Here is a link to Discovery Park on Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Park_%28Seattle%29

Here is a map of the proposed area. Can you imagine?!! To give this area, this district, this property over to privatization?!! Unthinkable!! And then surely then the rest of it would go.

This shows what a big area of the park this is

This shows what a big area of the park this is. It is an important, integral part of the historical and cultural legacy of the American people.

Please lend your support. Email the Seattle City Council and urge them to prevent this travesty.

THIS COULD CLOSE WITHIN THE FIRST 2 WEEKS OF FEBRUARY!!

Act now! Write to the Seattle City Council and let them know that we want to keep this historic district in the public domain!! It is not up for grabs!! Private development companies have been trying for years to usurp this National Historic Landmark District for their own greedy ends.

PLEASE SHARE THIS WIDELY!!! LET’S NOT LOSE THESE IMPORTANT NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS TO WEALTHY INDIVIDUAL OWNERS. ONCE THEY ARE GONE WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET THEM BACK!!!

Copy and paste to an email the following (or add your own thoughts):
_______________________________________________________________________

To: PRC@seattle.gov,Ed.Murray@seattle.gov,Patti.Petesch@seattle.gov,Genna.Nashem@seattle.gov,sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov,tim.burgess@seattle.gov,sally.clark@seattle.gov,jean.godden@seattle.gov,bruce.harrell@seattle.gov,nick.licata@seattle.gov,mike.obrien@seattle.gov,tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov,Kshama.Sawant@seattle.gov,PRC@seattle.gov,Lindsay.King@seattle.gov

Subject: Historic Preservation of National Historic Monuments unique to the City of Seattle!

I, ____________(write your name or name of your organization), am/we are (choose one) urgently opposed to the sale of the Nationally Registered Historic Homes within Discovery Park/Fort Lawton in the city of Seattle WA 98199. The ‘buying developer group’ disclosed semi-publicly on 1-1-2015 at near 5pm that the sale closure date would occur within 2 weeks from that time. They have made other equally confident pronouncements since making themselves known and public last May/June and each time with the people’s opposition and your support, their sale closing windows have gone by one by one. Please let it be known that I oppose this or any other developer purchasing these homes. Please do not vote for anything that supports any of the project #’s or the sale itself.

Their intention is to move forward with their closing of sale ownership; renovations; and then the re-sale of each of these National Historic Homes as individual properties after major internal renovations by their many sub-contractors; all of whom are already in place. Keep in mind that the internal renovations of concern are only that which will gain top dollar in the market place when they sell them off individually versus what upholds the historic character and nature of these homes. Not to mention the enjoyment of these National Historic Homes by the many rather than the select most wealthy few! The very idea is a travesty!

Specifically we are opposed to the current plans to close a sale of these homes that are underway which include the grouping of the homes into 3 plots of property (described as Projects #’s 3016939, 3016941 & 3016942) and then a subdivision of these into 22 plots, each plot containing one of the existing homes.

I am absolutely opposed to the single ownership of these homes/parcels. This property needs to revert to the City of Seattle or a stewarding organization, so all residents and visitors can enjoy the park as at present and enjoy the homes in a manner that is congruent to how they have been lived in and enjoyed throughout their history. They should continue to be available to be lived in and enjoyed by the many over the years through lease options rather than lost to the public through individual sale to the minority uppermost wealthy.

CARBON COPIED per email list: Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Council Members, and DPD head people: Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess (President), Sally Clark Jean Godden, Bruce Harrell, Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien, Tom Rasmussen, Kshama Sawant