299: “Holland” by Brad Mehldau Trio

A new idea for a band photo: a WOODEN WALL. Brilliant!!Are you missing that special something keeping you from happiness?

Perhaps you see life as a dismal march toward oblivion? Perhaps you feel an emptiness wrapped around your center of gravity? Perhaps simply existing is a rodeo ride and your life is a universe-sized bull?

I have the answer to your problems, or I should say that you have the answer. Because the answer is inside you and it has been all along.

You are already free.

Shackled, worn, beaten, extorted, tortured, trodden upon, and yet still… you are free.

What I hold in the bottle in my hand is the key to discovering the freedom that lies within you. The liquid in this bottle can unlock the shackles in your mind preventing you from filling the emptiness that consumes you.

It’s pickle juice.

Really, I thought it would be a psychedelic or maybe even a thoroughly scientific breakthrough regarding brain function. It’s amazing, though. Pickle juice is what fills my emptiness. It’s the bee’s knees. Like, “Wow!”

I thought you guys would appreciate the tip.

And speaking of brimming spaces formerly empty, Brad Mehldau Trio make tunes that fill silence like sweet, sweet pickle juice for my ears. This one is “Holland,” a Sufjan Stevens cover, and it engages any vacuum it encounters.

Brad’s Trio (Brad + Larry Grenadier/Bass and Jeff Ballard/Drums) done gone and released two albums this year, Ode (2012) and Where Do You Start (2012). These three hate a vacuum as well. Go getcha some. Sit back, sip some pickle juice, and enjoy.

Song: Holland
Artist: Brad Mehldau Trio
Album: Where Do You Start
Label: Nonesuch
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify
Watch: YouTube

275: “Eleggua” by Dr. John

Paul Simon is wearing a funny hat.Dude.

Dan Auerbach is like a slice of watermelon. Just pure goodness. And he’s peak ripe.

Dan got Dr. John* (Mac Renneback) to step off his porch and mix sauces with a hand-picked team of badass musicians. Because he could, and because he’s not lazy.

The output of their combined forces, Locked Down (2012), is as good as you should hope it’d be. A perfect, juicy slice.

And it is a fact that if you were to construct a time machine out of your shorn body hair and spare flotsam, and travel back to 1971 in order to kidnap Dr. John and bring him back to the present in an AquaNet, you would be only one step closer to obtaining the gold you can have if you listen to this album. And you’d have burned way more calories. It’d be wasteful tactics.

Listen, instead.

“Eleggua” will fuse a few musical compartments together in your mind.

If I keep typing, I gotta stop listening. So I’m out. Enjoy.

* Incredulous eyebrows.

Song: Eleggua
Artist: Dr. John
Album: Locked Down
Label: Nonesuch
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG

207: “Sundust” by Bill Frisell

Engage.Interesting video backdrop and prelude to an interesting tune by existential guitarist Bill FrisellKenny Wolleson on drums, and Hal Willner making the other sounds.

Sounds like music that just couldn’t help but happen.

Enjoy it like mustard and cheese on ham.

Song: Sundust
Artist: Bill Frisell
Album: Unspeakable
Label: Nonesuch Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Watch: YouTube

128: “Think” by Bill Frisell

This is not your standard band photo. Bill should be wearing a Bill Cosby sweater, though.Here’s a spooky tune from a guy who has played as wide a range of styles as any musician.  “Think” is by guitarist Bill Frisell, from Disfarmer (2009).

And here is a good poem to read whilst you listen, presented completely without permission, but with good intention. It was written by Ted Kooser, former U.S. Poet Laureate.


“Abandoned Farmhouse” by Ted Kooser from Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985.
© University of Pittsburgh Press.

Abandoned Farmhouse

He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm-a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

Song: Think
Artist: Bill Frisell
Album: Disfarmer
Label: Nonesuch
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

28: “Way Up” by Gustavo A Santaolalla

Santaolalla. Santaolalla. Santaolalla.Gustavo A. Santaolalla is an interesting figure in both South and North American music (worth the Wikipedia read).  I recently discovered his 1998 recording entitled Ronroco in which Santaolalla created an ethereal sound that includes traditional stringed instruments from his Argentine homeland, mixed with the varied musical styles he’s used throughout his career.

He’s done quite a bit of soundtrack work for films including Motorcycle Diaries and 21 Grams, in addition to a few I’ve never heard of.

The track I’d like to share from Ronroco is “Way Up” and it sounds like just that…  like music that was conceived on a mountaintop.  Take a listen and see if you don’t hear it yourself.

This is chillin’ music.  To be enjoyed while:
-in a hot bath
-makin’ sweet love
-falling asleep
-pondering the mystery of existence itself
-eating cheese

There may be other applications, but these alone are sanctioned by the author.

Enjoy, whilst doing something listed above.

Song: Way Up
Artist: Gustavo A. Santaolalla
Album: Ronroco
Label: Nonesuch Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes

Listen to another track from Ronroco, “Iguazu” on YouTube: