Wood Burning

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

His Ol' Friend, The Blues: Steve Earle's "Terraplane"

I love Steve Earle and thought his 2013 release "The Low Highway" was one of his best. Still, I hesitated when I got hold of "Terraplane."

"Steve Earle's blues record." "It's a blues record." One friend said, "The Steve Earle is boring."

I wasn't in the mood for a Steve Earle blues record anymore than a Todd Rundgren EDM record or a Bob Dylan standards record.  But I went in.

I love "Terraplane." It's a blues record...I guess.

You will recognize the blues, of course.  "You're The Best Lover That I Ever Had" is essentially "Smokestack Lightning" and "King Of The Blues" is just about everything else. But most of "Terraplane" is just Steve Earle doing what he does best. Every style of song here has been found on prior Earle recordings. You can call it the blues. I'm calling it another solid Steve Earle record.

"Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now" is a gliding bluegrass tune and "Go Go Boots Are Back" would not be out of place, rocking along side "Tumbling Dice" on the Stones "Exile On Main Street." Both are terrific.

But the two tracks I went back to three and four times so far are "Better Off Alone" and "The Usual Time."

"Better Off Alone" is a real killer, especially knowing Earle and his wife of 8 years Alison Moorer are in the middle of a divorce. This is a burner with a real emotional wallop. "The Usual Time" is a sexy shuffle with a great little hook and change on the bridge, and I think that "little hook and change" is what makes "Terraplane" more than just a blues record. Every song offers up something more than the usual fare associated with a "blues" record.

Have I said "blues record" enough?

Monday, March 2, 2015


I've been listening to Cheap Trick's debut, which to me, is not only their best, but a record that needs to be recognized as one of the great records of all time and put on the same list as the more obvious choices that always occupy those lists.

But it is one song in particular that never fails to stop me in my tracks. For five minutes I am sent somewhere else and it is exactly where I want to be.

Lyrics. Melody. Arrangement.

"Mandocello" has it all.

It is unique. It is gorgeous. It is Cheap Trick's best song.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Songs Of The Week 7.0: 2/21-2/28

It Makes No Difference -The Band
Chica Chica Boom Chic- Carmen Miranda
Hey Blue Eyes- Bruce Springsteen
Ace Of Spades- Eli "Paperboy" Reed
Princessa- Jason Falkner
Waiting For An Alibi-Thin Lizzy
It Won't Always Be The Same- The Millenium


Friday, February 27, 2015


You don't have to be Leibniz to figure this one out. I know I've done the Wilbury Twist before, but with all the talk about McCartney and Dylan, as well as George Harrison's birthday this week, my head just fell into that place. Let's face it, my head has been in that place since 1966. Apologies to those who wanted something else, but it is a good listen, if you want it. Only two repeats from the previous compilation.

Please enjoy.


Real Love- The Beatles
Here Comes The Sun- The Beatles
The Fall- ELO
I'll Be Back- The Beatles
Beautiful Girl- George Harrison
Something- The Beatles
Junk- Jeff Lynne
You Won't See Me- The Beatles
Forecast- Jeff Lynne
Looking For My Life- George Harrison
Nobody's Child- Traveling Wilburys
The Lovers That Never Were- Paul McCartney
One Day- Jeff Lynne
Melting In the Sun- ELO
What Is Life- George Harrison
Try Some Buy Some- George Harrison
Instant Karma!- John Lennon
The End Of The Line- Traveling Wilburys


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Morning Rant #14

Something has been stuck in my craw.

Over the years, the debate over aging rock stars, reunion tours, as well artists losing their mojo, has taken up a solid amount of space on these pages. Should the Rolling Stones hang it up? "The Who really isn't The Who without Keith Moon and John Entwistle." "Bruce Springsteen hasn't made a good record since 1978."

I have strong opinions about all of the above and more. I'll get to them soon.

Last week, I saw more than a fair share of positive comments regarding Miley Cyrus's SNL performance of "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover," as well as a number of negative remarks regarding Paul McCartney's performance of "Maybe I'm Amazed."

Cyrus and company delivered an acceptable arrangement of the Paul Simon hit, while McCartney's performance seemed to highlight his aging, tired voice.  In regards to Miley, even a broken clock is right twice a day, yet the vitriol on social media--at least in my circles--over Sir Paul, seemed to hone in on his inability to hit the notes at 73 years old he once hit at 33 years old.

Regarding SNL, why is there more patience and acceptance of a character like Miley Cyrus than there is for a legendary artist like Paul McCartney? In general, I see this practice often. What makes it so easy to slam Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball," a record that is a shadow of the E-Street sound of past glories, yes, but by today's standards, a pretty smart and remarkable collection of music, yet we throw high praise at the mediocrity that is so many current artists just because they are new. Or more accurately, not old.

Miley Cyrus is a spectacle with a voice like a gremlin, and even as pop idols go, is unlistenable. Her Paul Simon cover was fine. That's it! Fine. It wasn't great. It just wasn't horrible. And Macca's voice? Yeah, it's beginning to crack and sadly sound frail. But he has been on tour for years. Maybe he's just tired.

And if you're going to hold your head high while giving Bob Dylan's new Sinatra project a 5-star review as well as your time, and then trash the last 20 years of output from Bruce, McCartney and David Bowie, we need to have a serious chinwag.

Should the Stones hang it up? I think they should, but only because they sound bad and charge too much for tickets. (Mick and Keith could work this out. I know it.) As for The Who not really being The Who, Roger and Pete plus the son of rock royalty who was taught to play drums by Keith Moon, is good enough for me, plus they still sound great. Was the last great Bruce album "Darkness On The Edge Of Town?" Of course it wasn't, so get over it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Songs Of The Week 7.0: 2/14-2/20

Cold, Cold, Cold- Little Feat
Little Bit O'Soul- The Little Darlings
There She Goes, My Beautiful World- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Ashes By Now- Emmylou Harris
Everything Works If You Let It- Cheap Trick
See- The Rascals
Abigail Blue- The Starkweather Boys