Monday, July 21, 2014

In November of 2008, Burning Wood was barely two months old and like most babies, had trouble walking, talking and keeping steady. It was after a series of supportive conversations with an old friend, that Burning Wood suddenly, for better or worse, took its first real steps.
Over the next few years, readership grew and support from all of you was at times, overwhelming. During this growth, that same old friend continued to inspire me, even through those occasional spells of early retirement. So thank you, all of you. And old friend, thank you. I owe you.

I apologize for Friday's ominous photo of a cowboy riding into the sunset. My other choices for a final post were the last scene from "Dr. Strangelove," with "We'll Meet Again" playing as Slim Pickens rides the bomb, a video of Emmett Kelly sweeping the spotlight away or simply nothing. As you might have gleaned by now, I am not a "simply nothing" kind of guy.

If my old friend is reading, I'm ready to be inspired again. I'm sorry if I let you down.

As for all of you, thank you for your indulgence and your time and attention.

I respectfully ask that we not talk about this any further. I'm not closing up shop for one last round of "Please don't gos," though I do appreciate all the kind words sent to me over the last few days. I just need to stop. I'm out.

Please enjoy the last 5 1/2 years of Burning Wood.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Yeah, So John Fullbright

I see the comments so far have been very positive. I must say, I went into this record with much skepticism. I can't help that. Let's chalk it up to experience. That, and being burned the majority of time by hype. But this Fullbright kid had me from the opener, "Gawd Above."

Six long days, seventh day He rested
Said, “There’s one sure way humans can be bested
Give em wine and song, fire and lust
When it all goes wrong I’m the man to trust
And they’ll be all my own, all mine together
They will sing my praise, sing my name forever
I am God Above, Lord God Almighty, mama

But thats not all, I got me a flame
And its a swinger’s ball if you don’t know my name
Oh well you think its hot down there in July
I got the means and a kitchen to fry
Then you’ll be on my own, all mine together
All my doubting children locked away forever
I am God Above, Lord God Almighty, mama

I made the heaven and earth, I made the stars above
Is it too much to ask for a little love?

So I’ll tip my hat to all of your creations
You can fly like birds, destroy entire nations
Go and curse my name with your last breath
‘Cause all I brought to your life was death
And now you’re all my own, all mine together
Well you sing my praise, sing my name forever
I am God Above, Lord God Almighty, mama

Damn, man! Now that's a song.

I made it through the whole shebang, thinking the opening trifecta, which includes "Jericho," the tune I posted Monday and "I Only Pray At Night," a dark ballad that left me frozen in my tracks, the best of the lot. But rather be the guy I berate so often, I went back immediately and did it all again. And then again.

John Fullbright might be the real deal. I say "might" because I haven't sliced open his new one yet, and I've been told by more than a few that while good, it's not like the debut, "From The Ground Up."

Still, if my broken record lament of "no songs" is to finally get silenced, Fullbright could be the man to do it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Songs Of The Week 5.0: 6/28- 7/11

Across 110th Street- Bobby Womack
Lonely Teardrops- Blue Oyster Cult
I'm Only Sleeping- The Beatles
Lately I've Let Things Slide- Nick Lowe
Bad Girl Pt. 1- Lee Moses
Somebody To Love- Dwight Twilley
People Got To Be Free- The Rascals
It's All Over Now- Dirty Dozen Brass Band & Dr. John
Hold Me Tight- The Treasures
I See You- Adrian Belew
Quite Rightly So- Procol Harum
Careless Heart- Roy Orbison
Sick of Myself- Matthew Sweet
Drive All Night- Bruce Springsteen


Friday, July 11, 2014

The Weekend Mix, 7/11/14

Woke up this morning, with those Burning Wood Weekend Mix Blues
I said, I woke up this morning with those, Burning Wood Weekend Mix Blues
I've lost my inspiration, can't find the heart to choose the tunes

Said I woke up this morning with that, gots to blog heavy feeling
Said I woke up this morning with that, gots to blog heavy feeling
Well my mind is in Ho-Ho-Kus and my head's in Aberdeen

I put together a 6 hour folder of music at the request of a friend, that was to be played during a 4th of July party. It was never used. I was looking at it this morning, desperate for something to post today and extracted this slightly under an hour collection of tunes that seems remarkably coherent.

Hoping to have my mojo back soon, but my gut feeling is that it has packed a much bigger bag than usual.

Still, you can't go wrong with a mix that inlcudes Big Star and The Left Banke. And The Beatles. (and Zombies)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Here Comes The Reign Again: The Second British Invasion

Another day, another Kickstarter project. At least this one isn't about potato salad.

From the people who brought you "Drink A Toast To Innocence," which I wrote about HERE, comes a new tribute to the MTV darlings of 80's Brit-Pop.

You can see more about the campaign HERE and if you feel inspired, pledge a few bucks to complete this baby.

Check out the roster, which features a good number of personal faves:

  • Life In A Northern Town – Chris Collingwood
  • Do You Really Want To Hurt Me – Rachael Yamagata
  • Save A Prayer – David Mead
  • Dancing With Myself – Taylor Locke
  • Promises, Promises – Freedy Johnston
  • Life’s What You Make It – The Nines
  • Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Mike Viola
  • Relax – Mike Doughty
  • Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Tracy Bonham
  • Goody Two Shoes – Jim Boggia & Pete Donnelly
  • Something About You – Kelly Jones
  • Every Time You Go Away – Linus Of Hollywood
  • Digging Your Scene – Ken Stringfellow
  • Don't You Want Me – Chris Price
  • They Don’t Know – Graham Alexander
  • Tainted Love – Eric Barao
  • Only You – The Wellingtons
  • Cruel Summer – People On Vacation
  • Tenderness – TeamMate
  • Our House – The Corner Laughers
  • West End Girls – Secret Friend
  • Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Bleu
  • Freedom – The Davenports
  • Wouldn’t It Be Good – Cliff Hillis
  • Kids In America – Big-Box Store
  • True – Minky Starshine
  • No One Is To Blame – Eytan Mirsky & Alyson Greenfield
  • Things Can Only Get Better (A KICKSTARTER-ONLY BONUS TRACK!!) – An American Underdog

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

John Hiatt VS. The Black Keys

I thought I'd get right on the horse with a few words about the recently released "Turn Blue" from The Black Keys and "Terms Of My Surrender," John Hiatt's new one due out on the 15th of July. I listened to both yesterday. The Hiatt, twice actually.

I've liked the Black Keys since their 2002 debut "The Big Come Up." The duo always felt like a less annoying and more effective White Stripes. Raw blues at the core, but cannier and more musical. The band peaked with 2010's "Brothers," a psychedelic, soulful trip to Muscle Shoals that never abandons the rawness of the band's earlier achievements.

John Hiatt's 1987 masterpiece "Bring The Family" is one of my favorite records of all time. But unlike Hiatt's devotees, I do not swear by every one of his 263 records. I like a lot of them, but I find the period from 1993's "Perfectly Good Guitar" to 2005's "Master Of Disaster" incredibly uneven, with 2003's "Beneath This Gruff Exterior" as the only true stand-out. But then came 2008's "Same Old Man," and the return of Hiatt's mojo and his last two "Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns" and "Mystic Pinball" are now right up there after "Bring The Family" as faves.

What's the point of comparing the Black Keys new one to John Hiatt's new one? Isn't it apples and oranges, you might say?

Yes...and no.

"The Terms Of My Surrender" is the closest Hiatt has gotten to a straight blues record. While it's not completely barebones, the songs are basic. Acoustic guitar and harmonica at the core, but by no means an acoustic record, Hiatt's new one offers some of his best lyrics in the simplest setting. Songs like the country-folk of the"Wind Don't Have To Hurry" and the front porch strumming of "Nothing I Love" are both taken to a slightly higher most of the songs here... by adding just the right brushstrokes of backing vocals, or hammond organ, or swampy drum grooves. Just when you think you've been served a Howlin Wolf retread, Hiatt and his band surprises you in the best of ways, like on the gospel shuffle "Old People," with my new fave couplet:

"Old people are pushy/they don't have much time/they'll shove you at the coffee shop/And cut ahead on the buffet line."

It's not all tongue in cheek, as Hiatt can still break your heart, as he has done so many times in his career. This time it's in the album closer "Come On Home."

Oh yeah...The Black Keys.

From the opening seconds of "Turn Blue," I was hooked. It didn't matter that I was listening to a rip of "Breathe" by Pink Floyd. I liked what I was hearing from the Black Keys. 20 minutes later, I was scratching my head, wishing a song would start, because at this point, The Black Keys have given nothing but texture. Swirling sounds, reverb, whooshing and whirring, lots of bells and whistles, but basically, not much else. This is the very problem I have with so many bands of the last twenty years: records released that lack songs and only reflect their record collections.

I would have loved to hear the Black Keys take on Pink Floyd, at least in sound and spirit, but the difference between "Dark Side Of The Moon" and "Turn Blue" is the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing one.

Now, hold on! "Turn Blue" isn't necessarily all about sounding like Pink Floyd. On the contrary, it's really only the opener. This doesn't matter, because everything else on the record sounds like something else. The only thing that remains consistent is the lack of melody. The record is a bore. Too much of a lot of nothing.

The Black Keys have been getting a ton of press as of late, both as a band and individually, with Patrick Carney spewing his mind about anything and everyone from Justin Bieber to Jack White, and Dan Auerbach producing the new record from Lana Del Rey.

John Hiatt is just doing his thing. Again.

If Hiatt could have borrowed a little hype from the Keys and the Keys could have borrowed a little restraint from Hiatt, maybe "Terms Of My Surrender" would end up all over magazine covers and "Turn Blue" might have been more substantial.

Buy the Hiatt! It's a keeper.

Let me know what you're hearing that I am not, if you listened to "Turn Blue," because what I heard isn't calling me back.