Written in Chalk and other Brief Reviews

So, I got me the new Buddy and Julie Miller album.  I don’t know if you guys are familiar with them, but I would call their sound kind of “friendly haunted house.”  Like if your neighbors were the Addams family, but the Addams family was from East Nashville, not out east, and they were musicians, they would be a Buddy and Julie Miller song.

So I’m digging it.  And the special appearance by Robert Plant tickles me so much, both because it’s germaine to our discussion from the other day (“Plant or Animal”?!  I’ve been snickering about that for days.) and because he sounds so delighted to be singing this stuff.  And, really, it’s fun to hear him seem excited about what he’s singing again.  His voice sounds confident, but with an air of humbleness to it, like he’s just now learning about a whole new world of sound.  I really like it.

I also came into possession of the newest Neko Case album.  I can’t decide yet if I like it or not, but that’s usually how it is with her, I think.  It takes a while for me to digest and decide.  I do think, however, that everyone should own “Furnace Room Lullabye” (the song, if not the album).

I never did settle into that new Lucinda album.  It’s on my iPod but I always find myself hitting skip to see if the shuffle will bring me anything better.  I don’t blame her, though.  I think it’s me.  I remember “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” being like a revelation to me. I would listen to it over and over and over again and every time feel like I was hitting on something new.  And the other day I put it on and couldn’t remember what I liked about it.  I didn’t dislike it, but the “AAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW” moment wasn’t there.

3 thoughts on “Written in Chalk and other Brief Reviews

  1. the Addams family was from East Nashville, not out east, and they were musicians, they would be a Buddy and Julie Miller song.

    Thought that the Millers lived in Sylvan Park. :-)

    I still can’t believe it’s been 8 years since the last one, but to be fair, Buddy has had a few tremendous releases in the last few. I went out of my way to pick this one up, and that’s saying something for me viz. an Americana release.

    newest Neko Case album

    First three songs, stellar. Last dozen or so, really hit or miss. And sleepy.

    She really, really needs a collaborator like Carl Newman to shake her out of that torchy, warbly, reverb-drenched vibe, which is what I dig about her work with New Pornographers. Not that there’s anything wrong with torchy/warbly. It just wears thin quickly. I saw her open for Rufus Wainwright and was struck by the same thing – she’s bats about .233 when solo.

    I never did settle into that new Lucinda album. It’s on my iPod but I always find myself hitting skip to see if the shuffle will bring me anything better.

    “Honey Bee” has to be one of the worst songs she’s had the misfortune to commit to wax. Gads. The lyrical content is like a kid screaming, “HI MY NAME IS LUCINDA AND I CAN COUNT TO ONE HUNDRED! WATCH! ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX…” And her case isn’t helped when the first track bites its main guitar riff from Jackson Browne’s “Down on the Boulevard.”

    How many producers and backing bands has she gone through since CWOAGR? (I went to the 1999 NYE show at Exit/In featuring Jim Lauderdale, John Jackson, Kenny Vaughan, Reese Wynans, and AWWWWWWWWWWWWE is right. She ain’t been right since she told the River Stages crowd that Nashville could kiss her Dixie white ass and she stole Dwight Yoakam’s old pickers.)

  2. Personally I fear that Lucinda falling in love and finding happiness has made her art suffer. I fear the same will happen with Ryan Adams.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  3. I dunno, I kind of like Little Honey. Not every song on it is a keeper, but a lot of them are. All in all, I like it better than West. As for Car Wheels, I think the wearing off of the AWWWWWWness of it comes partly from familiarity but also partly because she had something to say about being a woman that shocked us at first (not because we didn’t know it but because no one had said it quite that way before) but which was so important that we have now completely internalized it. I had the same experience, back in the day, with Joni Mitchell’s Blue. First you feel “OMG, someone said these things! I didn’t know you could do that,” and then you feel “I love the way she says these things, and I can say them to, though not so melodically or with the same impact, perhaps,” and finally, because you have learned to say those things yourself, you end up feeling, “yeah, she sure said those things well.” Though, actually, there’s so much going on musically in Car Wheels that I still listen to it with intense pleasure.

    And Written in Chalk is wonderful, but I guess I just don’t hear the haunted house part. Unless you mean the compression; Buddy always compresses everything to hell and gone.

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