January 2010 Archives

I am at Momo's

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I am at Momo's, a club that has music 7 days a week, watching the David Jimenez Trio and thinking of a thing a friend said years ago, "What luxury that people can get so good at making music."  Behind me, watching the door is my friend Nathan Singleton, a songwriter who leads the band The Sideshow Tragedy. We talked between bands about art, music, travel and money, "shop" as it were. Although he is making more money now playing his tunes than ever before he still works the door a few days a month to make it work.  His talent is undeniable, if you have ears, but his style is harsh as well as beautiful, like the Clash and Lead Belly at the same time. Nothing like it on the radio today, when even the rock bands are polished with a computer till all evidence of a human hand is erased. Give me my music with all the scars, sweat and sweet fuckups that mean more than all the perfect ones and zeros ever will.


January 10, 1990

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January 10th, 1990, I put all my belongings in a rented U-Haul trailer and drove south on I-35 from Kansas City, Kansas.  I was alone in the cab, the speed limited by the internal limiter to 55 miles an hour, but I was on my way. In retrospect, that was the start of my adult life. Kansas City was home, filled with friends and family and had been kind enough to me that I could have stayed. Rent was cheap there, my folks were always supportive, but I had something to find.

 

The first night in Austin I slept on a friends floor, found a room to rent the next day and started going out every night, diving into the music scene that was always roaring and spitting up and down 6th street then. I have a picture of me then, playing on the street on a borrowed guitar across from the University of Texas on the main drag. Still in the shoes I came to town in. So much has changed sense that day which I can still recall, but I am still here playing for the passer by, looking for a song which will catch a hook in your heart long enough to coax some change from your pocket. To remember that one song you thought you would never hear again, or reveal that tune you always new had to be there, somewhere...

    

Twenty Years. Love, loss, peace, war, oceans under the bridge, over the bridge but still, I am here. This town has changed so much, the Austin I moved to perfectly remembered for me by Richard Linklater's Slacker.  Now, Austin fights to keep its home grown soul against the corrosive glitz of cash. And music fights to be heard over cars stopped in traffic, work cranes lifting prefab apartments over prefab apartments, the chirp of cell phones, and the sound of deaf progress.

    

What happens next? What shape does our life take now? What will it sound like? What do we want it to sound like? As we go forward what will we take with us this time? I want to know what you think, as I understand that this music is something that only matters if it is of use to your heart, helps you in hard times, keeps you warm in winter and cool on fire. I want to know what makes you rewind that song twenty times in a row, what songs you wake up singing first thing in the morn, what you want to be singing that has yet to be written.

    

I am close to making a tech leap. Some have asked me to Twitter, to keep this conversation on music active, let you know what is under my hands while we try to keep this thing in the air. Further updates as the situation warrants.

 


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This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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