Attic musings: Linda Perhacs rediscovered

Linda Perhacs rediscovered

During college hanging-around-the-student-radio-station days, I would often sit with headphones on and listen to the new album releases, usually from someone I never heard of but they must be good because someone recorded their album, right?

Sometimes an album would blow me so far out of the water that I had to tell everyone I knew, “Holy cow, you gotta hear this album.” If there was a turntable nearby, I would sit them down and make them listen. If you knew me then, you probably remember that about me, and often you would nod patronizingly and say, “Sure, Warren, very nice, thank you.”

But a handful of albums really sank in. One of them was Parallelograms by Linda Perhacs. I think several of my friends actually went out and bought the album after hearing it. Continue reading “Attic musings: Linda Perhacs rediscovered”

In the Attic: Celebrating the Ryman

emmy lou - ryman

As Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are to baseball, as Lambeau Field is to football, so is the Ryman Auditorium to country/bluegrass/folk music.

Having made the pilgrimage to the Ryman four (!) years ago, I have experienced the magic of that hall firsthand, and so I was intrigued to stumble across Rolling Stone’s list of “The Top 10 Albums Recorded at the Ryman Auditorium.”

I assured its authenticity by ensuring that “Circlin’ Back” was on the list and immediately purchased the No. 1 album they listed, “Emmy Lou Harris and the Nash Ramblers at the Ryman” – on vinyl, of course, a crisp two-record set on the incomparable Nonesuch label.

Oh. My. Goodness. Continue reading “In the Attic: Celebrating the Ryman”

Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer

It’s been a cool and wet spring here this year – people have been making a lot of jokes about summer only lasts 24 hours in Wisconsin (and voiced a lot of concern whether the corn crop will actually reach “knee high by the Fourth of July” this year).

In truth, it’s only today that summer even begins, officially, with the solstice. Sometimes “that was the longest day of my life” is voiced in exasperation, but when you’re talking about hours of daylight, it’s just fine. People like walking in sunshine, and the more the merrier.

The sun is coming up this morning; maybe it’s been waiting for the music … Continue reading “Attic: 5 songs to evoke summer”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: Whirlwind by Maddie Poppe

Whirlwind - Maddie PoppeWe still watch American Idol closely and enjoy the revived version featuring judges Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryan, which just wrapped up its second season after crowning the 17th Idol, one Laine Hardy.

The program faded on Fox after gaining a reputation for selecting fairly generic “white guys with guitars,” and I’m afraid Hardy fits that stereotype, but last year’s winner, Maddie Poppe, broke that mold and so did almost everyone in this year’s Top 10 except for Hardy. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Whirlwind by Maddie Poppe”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: She Remembers Everything by Roseanne Cash

she remembers everything

Roseanne Cash told a story in her memoir Composed that inspired Steven Pressfield so much that he included it in his book Turning Pro, about the mindset needed to make a living creating art.

She had a dream one night that she was at a party at Linda Ronstadt’s house, and she walked up to Linda while she was talking to a man named Art. She tried to inject herself into the conversation, but Art looked at her dismissively and said, “We don’t respect dilettantes,” and turned away. The dream cut to the core of the uneasiness Cash had about the way her career was going, and she took her music more seriously from that day.

Rosanne Cash She Remembers EverythingThe story moved me, and when I found Roseanne Cash’s new album, She Remembers Everything, in the vinyl section of Barnes & Noble, it came home with me and has been spending a lot of time on the turntable. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: She Remembers Everything by Roseanne Cash”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: 5 show stoppers

It wasn’t so long that I put Simon & Garfunkel’s immortal 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme on the turntable and – as happens every time – had my breath taken away by Art Garfunkel’s glorious rendition of “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her.”

It’s one of those songs that, when I hear it, everything else stops. I fall into a trance, overwhelmed by the song’s beauty, the flow of the lyrics, the smile it brings to my soul and (often) the tears it brings to my eyes.

(And by the way, is it possible any more to think of any of those four herbs without thinking of the other three? They go together musically like peanut butter and jelly.)

Here are four other tunes that do that to me, two you surely know and two that may be new to you, unless you know me well.

Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: 5 show stoppers”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: Know by Jason Mraz

mraz know 1

Let’s drive out to the desert at midnight

To dance in the dust in our headlights

And score some good seats for the sunrise

Something must be said about the encouragers, the light bringers, the purveyors of love, for they are so few. When I was a young one, the Lovin’ Spoonful believed in the magic of a young girl’s heart, sang about laughing for hours under rain on the roof, and celebrated daydreaming on someone’s new-mowed lawn.

Paul McCartney was lambasted for writing silly love songs, even though they brought joy to the universe. The “true artist” is seen as dark and brooding and nihilistic, showing us the stark truth about our tawdry existence. Lift our spirits? Trivial stuff and nonsense.

I was dimly aware that Jason Mraz has been a popular singer, but I didn’t really grok until he was a guest mentor on American Idol a few weeks ago. I was so taken by his charming duet with Walker Burroughs, “Have It All,” that I tracked down Know, the album the song appears on – on vinyl, of course, as God intended music to be pressed. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: Know by Jason Mraz”

Uncle Warren’s Attic: No more days without music

LP collection

My somewhat substantial collection of LPs – long-playing (vinyl) records for you young’uns – spent much of the past eight years in boxes. Last fall I said to myself, “Self, this is ridiculous. I want to hear my music.”

I dug deep and bought an industrial-strength shelving unit, a state-of-the-art turntable, and a separate tone-arm shell, cartridge and stylus designed to play 78 rpm records. The records came out of the boxes, and I set up the turntable and an amplifier next to the computer desk where I spend most of my working hours.

With music thus restored to its rightful place in my life, I am a much happier soul. Continue reading “Uncle Warren’s Attic: No more days without music”