On Tour and New Single

On tour for the next two and a half weeks with Shinyribs.  We are touring the South.  Get dates here.

Taking with me a large group of books and records which I am excited to discuss.  Today is not the day as most of the day will be spent in the van.

I will also soon be announcing some of the first dates of my new project soon.  Check out our new free single Everyday American Thoughts here:

Everyday American Thoughts – New Single Release

What Goes On

I recently added a music page to this site.  (The link is below at the bottom of the page.)  I’ve mentioned that I am going to start releasing a series of digital singles I recorded at home.  These will lead up to a studio album later this year that is already underway.   I hope to have a new single out sometime in the next week or so, depending on how soon I can complete overdubs.

A lot of my spare time has gone into musical endeavors, but writing will commence here soon enough.  I’ve written a couple pieces about the election, but I’ve scrapped them.  What is going on often seems so absurd that it is hard to find the right words to describe it.  I have thoughts on it, but I don’t want to just contribute more noise.  The world is not lacking in noise right now.  Anytime I watch the national media, cable especially, I feel like someone has put a police siren next to my head, scrambling all thoughts.

 

My Music

I stole the title above from the Velvet Underground song:

Native Americans and Slavery

Native Americans and Slavery

A really fascinating article about the participation and victimization of Native Americans in the slave trade.  As much as I have read about Native Americans and the slave trade, a great deal of this article was still new to myself.  Yet none of it surprises me.  The history of Native people’s has always been infinitely more complex than is often acknowledged in our society.  I couldn’t help but think while reading the article that this is what unrestricted free markets look like.  (Well almost unrestricted, as there were only certain people that could be slaves at certain times.)  It is the power of the strong over the weak.  I think it is worth noting that on the very day this article was put out it was announced that 62 people hold more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion.

A Strange Goodbye to David Bowie

Let me tell you a story.  During Christmas break I made an album with my brother, drummer Alex Moralez, and Dave and Christine from Marah.  (They produced, engineered, and played some of the instruments.)  It was recorded in their farmhouse in rural PA.  This isn’t really a story of that record, which is yet to come.  One of the songs I demoed was called Hand Coming Down.  (The title, as the song, was changed at the last minute.)  On the demo it has a bluesy feel, sounding somewhat like some of the work Paul Westerberg has done in the last 10 yrs, but slightly spookier.  It is a one chord song, which Dave had encouraged me to write some months earlier, long before there were any plans to work together.  The thing about a one chord song is that, due to its simplicity, you can take it almost anywhere.

Through the collective will of everyone, we decided to take it in more of a European direction.  Bands like The Cure, Joy Division, and Bauhaus were mentioned.  The musical track, recorded live, but without vocals, turned infinitely more spooky and menacing.

I sang the demo version, but when it came time to cut the vocal for it, I knew my brother was the only one that could do the vibe of the song justice.  We talked, before he cut it, about going in more of a David Bowie/Iggy Pop route vocally, as all of us love the work the two of them did together in the 70’s.  My brother knocked it out of the park.

The point of this story is not to talk about the record, but to point out that here in 2016, there is still music being made that is still directly influenced by the work that Bowie did many moons back.  We all know that, and we know it will continue.  Just last year I became fully reimbursed in the recordings of Bowie’s Berlin period.  This year, I started to also reinvestigate the albums that he made with Iggy Pop.  My brother has long been a torch bearer for Bowie’s work.

And although I see the world as random, last night, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was watching a movie about Marlene Dietrich.  The documentary was called Marlene.  In it she sings a slow melancholy version of Just a Gigolo.  Bowie is in the cafe with her, dressed stylishly, sitting at a table slightly removed from the main action.  It had a dreamy resigned quality to it.  And even though I don’t believe in such things, when I heard the news today, it seemed like last night the universe was speaking to me.  It was a goodbye to someone who’s work I have loved very much over the years.  It was one of those moments that makes you question things, if only for a moment, before you realize that you should know better…

Marlene Dietrich and Bing Crosby(!) Sing in French

Thanks to some friends, I have recently discovered the musical world of Marlene Dietrich.  One of her records was put on and a room full of rowdy drunks sat in stunned silence at the magic of the recording.  But stranger yet, here she is singing in French, with Bing Crosby!  For some reason I never pictured Bing Crosby singing in French, though that could just be my own ignorance.  Maybe him singing with Bowie wasn’t so strange after all?

Matt Taibbi On Oregon Standoff

Matt Taibbi On Oregon Standoff

I have tried several times to write about what is going on in Oregon, only to find myself not being able to adequately convey the proper level of outrage and absurdity.  Thank heavens that Matt Taibbi is there when you need him.  Above is his take on the events over at Rolling Stone.  Every time I read an article on Ammon Bundy and the gang, I feel my brain melting down.  Even Donald Trump and the Koch brothers don’t fill me with such loathing.  Even if they see themselves as David vs. Goliath, and in terms of sheer firepower and physicality, compared to the federal government, they may be, as soon as they brought weapons into their political argument they took on the role of the bully.  They somehow represent sheer dumb force, even as they are strikingly pathetic. Sooner or later they will end up in jail or possibly dead, and unlike so many in this country, they will have brought that upon themselves.  Unwittingly these people are making a better argument for a strong government than any liberal possibly could.

Merry Christmas Everybody

Marah's_Xmas_Bar

Photo taken two days ago at Marah HQ.  Some amazing rock n roll is being made.  I’d like to take some credit for it, but I feel more like a sailor catching the first glimpse of a new shore, only due to the luck of waking up on the right boat, with the right crew.  Sometimes magic happens and chance happens to place you in the room.  More will be revealed when I feel I can adequately express it.

I hope all of you can enjoy the holiday in one way or another.  If you are lucky enough to spend the day with friends or family appreciate it.  As a musician who lives far from where I grew up, I know what it is like to be alone on a holiday on occasion.  I’ve been lucky enough that my friends in my adopted city of Austin have reached out to include me when I couldn’t get back home, as I have this year.  If you know anyone out there on their own, drop them a line.

“We’re here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.”

Merry Xmas everybody…

Jeff

 

 

Gun Control in Japan

Here is an interesting article at The Atlantic about gun control in Japan, a country where death by firearm is very rare.  I’m not saying there policy would work here or that we need to go that far.  I haven’t really worked through what I think or feel since this last shooting.   (Though I am not surprised policies favored by the NRA eventually lead to benefitting enemies of our country.  By taking debate off the table, by being an extremist, in a narrow way, an ideologue,  one is going to run into a situation where absolutism fails.  Being inflexible never works out in the end.)   I do think one should read as many different things as possible, acknowledging that our way is not the only way.  Acknowledging that is a first step to a conversation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

firearmhttp://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/07/a-land-without-guns-how-japan-has-virtually-eliminated-shooting-deaths/260189/s is veey

Fleetwood Mac’s Masterpiece

Fleetwood Mac’s Masterpiece

I am on the road this week in Louisiana, so posting will be slow.  Here is a piece about Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, the most creative album by one of my favorite bands.  The writer, a musician himself, does a good job explaining why this album is a great work of art, that is and should be appreciated far outside the confines of 70’s rock.