Sunday, October 16, 2005

The truth shall set you free

This is a topic I've talked and written to several people about, most recently Dan from the Boudin Dance, the impression or actuality of being honest, discerning and sometimes "negative" with reviews, particularly CD reviews, versus seeming to be an all the time booster or "everything is beautiful" writer/critic.
Having written for publications (not counting college) for 20 years, I, like many music writers, have reviewed music that I liked, disliked, loved, hated, had no strong feelings about, requested, was specifically assigned to write about and simply had no choice but to write about because there was nothing else to write about. Of course, over the thousands of reviews I've written, I have written positive, negative, middling and still not certain reviews, and I have always believed in being as honest about whatever music I was writing about as possible, and having as strong an opinion as I honestly could. Yes, I have had fun with negative reviews (although not too often with those forms that did not actively seek out my opinion), and have been mean with some, but I never changed my actual opinion for a "good" laugh or insult.
But having a web site that my wife Val and I control the content and frequency of new articles and photographs appearing in, negative reviews, mainly of CDs, have all but disappeared, not because I don't want to write anything negative (just check some of my comments in the Music Is Art 2004 and 2005 articles), but I really don't have the time or inclination to listen to a bad or boring CD enough to write an intelligent, accurate review of any more. If a release by a major or a favorite artist comes out that is simply horrible or very disappointing, I will certainly consider writing a negative review, but the two most recent opportunities I had, of the newest releases by Tom Waits and Sonic Youth, I just didn't then and still don't now want to go back and listen to them again to write about.
I'd love to hear how any of you writers out there handle this situation.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Susan and Marty's Wedding


Congratulations Susan Tanner and Marty Boratin on their wedding on October 8th. Susan, you finally settled Marty down. I think as a couple, the two of you will be even more social and influential!
I do have a number of comments about the fantastic wedding we attended yesterday and the group of people Marty and Susan brought together...
I have known Marty since 1985. I just graduated from high school, and, well, high school was not very musically influential for me, so I was ripe. Marty was part of a group of folks that I hung out with that not only are friends (which was demonstrated in great quantity at yesterday's wedding), but life changing. My taste in music developed quickly surrounded by talented musicians and people who knew music inside and out, parties (many of them at the Maxi Pad), and friendships that keep growing. In fact, I met Kevin (my husband) that summer at the Maxi.
Then Marty was part of the infamous Death Ranch. Parties, friends (and others) and music akimbo. I'm pretty sure that's when this "community" started to jell.
When Marty recomends a band to go out and see, I did it. Hell, I traveled to New Orleans and Cajun country with him and friends- including best man Maddog, and SXSW later with a group including Kevin. The guy just knows his shit, and I can't recall ever being misguided by his referrals. They continue to be highly regarded.
Over the years, Marty became the glue that helped hold the group together. He has tremendous parties - Christmas and 4th of July helped to bring a lot of us together with the friends from out-of-town (and rescues most from the family-holiday thing for a few hours).
The wedding, however, showed me that we are still as close knit as ever. We are all over the country, but as our "glue" finally settled down with a great, beautiful woman; we all came together, and had such a good time! I could not possibly count how many times I said "The past 20 years of my life is crammed in this tent". The past , present, and, I'm sure, the future. 300+ people there, and we knew most of them. It seemd that, after all the people who haved moved away, all of the stupid, drunken things we've all done (c'mon, you know what I mean...) we are all still there for each other.
I'm going to wrap up this sappy post now Not without saying thank you and good luck to Susan and Marty on their wedding.
Friends, please feel free to comment-we wold love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Almost too cool

As I sit here on the couch typing with Val next to me, there is a band rehearsing next door; why is that so cool? Well, our next door neighbor is musician Jim Whitford, and the band rehearsing is for his house guest, Peter Case, who performs Friday, October 7, at the Sportsmen's Tavern, and who just finished singing "A Million Miles Away," and is now singing "Two Angels" from Case's recently rereleased "... Blue Guitar" CD (Whitford's former band, the Pine Dogs, covered "Two Angels"). Along with Case singing and playing harmonica and Whtiford playing bass, Mark Winsick is playing guitar and Rob Lynch is on drums.
The band has also run through several blues songs, and at this point, Val has left the couch and is now sitting in our sun room, whose windows are nearest the room the band is performing in. "Oh, wow, I don't know how I feel; this is the most voyeuristic thing I've ever done," Val, a photographer for about 20 years, just said. Yeah, but when it sounds this good ...

Weekend warriors

The aforementioned Peter Case show Friday, October 7 (you can read an interview with Peter Case on our website), this weekend, will be an awful lot of fun.
Saturday, we will join about 300 other guests in Eden; Marty Boratin and Susan Tanner are getting married at their home in suburban Buffalo. Marty is known in Buffalo and elsewhere as the Rock and Roll Chef, having cooked for touring bands for years and putting them up at his apartment and then first house (self-serving plug: I have a story on Marty and his cooking for and accommodating bands in the next issue of Buffalo Spree Magazine), while Susan works at Righteous Babe Records and formerly worked for Geffen Records. There will be five bands playing at the wedding reception, including Johnny Dowd, as well as local favorites The Old Sweethearts and the Steam Donkeys.
Sunday will be the slowest day, with the Buffalo Bills playing and laundry, grocery shopping and writing to be done. I get Monday, Columbus Day, off, being a municipal employee, and Val is taking it off so we and our dog, the Rottweiler-German shepherd blend rescue dog Walker Evans Dunne Hosey, can drive 90 minutes or so to Letchworth State Park near the New York-Pennsylvania border. Tuesday is my birthday, so we are both taking it off from work for lots of family and other kinds of stuff.
Wednesday may be the start of a short work week for us, but the political season is now heating up

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I'm out of touch

Now THAT is a song title by a pair of talented musicians, Darryl Hall and John Oates. In contrast, while looking around amazon.com's music area Monday, I came across a relatively new CD by Martin Briley.
"Wow," I thought to myself, "is this the guy who did 'Salt in My Tears?' What an awful song that was. Does he have a new CD out, and who would release it?" Well, it turned out that the CD I saw was "Martin Briley - The Mercury Years," on Hip-o Select, and includes the aforementioned song, Briley's biggest "hit." It turns out that this is a 2-disc set and the reviewer basically describes Briley as a forgotten, talented artist who was overlooked. For some reason, Briley got a lot of play on Buffalo radio way back when, and his stuff was second or third-rate, at times sub-Bob Seger stuff to my ears, and appropriately forgotten.
At this rate, I can hardly wait for a "Benny Mardones Retrospective" 3-CD set or the Billy and the Beaters' "Basement Tapes."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Are you ready for some schlock?

I started writing these entries during halftime of Monday Night Football (Val went to bed; the former Wisconsin resident was not happy at Green Bay trailing Carolina, 23-7), so it is appropriate I mention my annoyance with their musical selections.
First, no, I am not a fan of Hank Williams Jr. (I guess talent skipped a generation), so his continued bellowing of the MNF theme as a slightly changed version of one of his drinking/buddy songs with too many dumb looking fans and cheerleaders doesn't make me want to tune in to the games early. But who decided than Tim McGraw's "I Like It, I Love It" was a good song to play during halftime while highlights of Sunday's games are shown, or, really, at any time? Damn, I will make my lunch for the next day, set the table for breakfast, mow the lawn, grout the bathtub, go in to work 10-12 hours early or even replay any George W. Bush State of the Union address to miss this steaming pile of musical crap, or, indeed, any Tim McGraw song.

Hello, it's me

Or should I say we (grammar be damned), Val and I, with the start of our Buffaloroots blog, to go along with our web site, http://Buffaloroots.com. As Val wrote, this blog will go along and often coincide with our web site, but it will be more than just that, with both of us, mostly verbose me, commenting on all sorts of things, mainly music, and of course seeking your comments and replies.
We are darn pleased that to coincide with all of this, we have an interview and photos with Peter Case at our web site; this covers both main points of our web site and its name, with Case growing up in suburban Buffalo before moving out west, and obviously playing roots music. Val and I have seen and heard him about 15-20 times live and are looking forward to Friday's show, which we will be reviewing.
If you are unfamiliar with our web site, please check out http://Buffaloroots.com when you get the chance; directions to contact us or send us materials to review are on the main page.

Welcome...

Here we are- the Buffaloroots blog. We're going to have previews listed here,info about shows we've been to, pictures and other things.
Kevin will give a better introduction later- he's busy writing up an interview that he did last night with Peter Case. He's playing here this Friday at The Sportsmen's Tavern on Amherst Street in Buffalo. His band is going to be two of his former bandmates Jim Whitford and Mark Winsick. This show will be AWESOME and well, it's free to boot.
If you're not familiar with him, think Plimsouls. The song "A Million Miles Away" is on all the 80's retro shows...
His solo stuff is even better!

So give us feedback-thats what this blog stuff is all about! Hope to hear from you soon....

val