Some Fun Facts About Sydney musician/writer/party boy Jason Walker
*His album Ceiling Sun Letters is excellent
*He’s the walking wiki of all things country music
*If you are at a party with him and there’s a guitar around, you can request almost any song and there’s a 99.9% chance he knows how to play it
*If you risk going for a beer with him at the Townie until closing time, there’s a 99.9% chance he will drink you under the table
*He was a recurring extra in the popular Australian soap E Street
*He put together this week’s Mid-week Mixtape
*And (here’s the plug) he’s joining Perry Keyes, Bek-Jean Stewart and a whole bunch of other talented musicians from the Laughing Outlaw Records roster on stage tomorrow night at Notes for a festive extravaganza
Judee Sill – Jesus Was A Crossmaker
It’s possible to write reams about the Californian music scene of the early 1970s – a time when songwriters openly experimented with spirituality, psychedelic drugs and blending a number of musical ideas. In Judee’s case, she embraced Christian mysticism, folk and country, a healthy dose of romantic longing and a passion for the music of Bach. This song is an ode to the dashing troubadour JD Souther, who stole then trampled Sill’s heart. A beautiful and haunting ballad for a heartbreaker.
Gram Parsons with Emmylou Harris and the Fallen Angels – Return Of The Grievous Angel
Sort of an obvious choice, this. It’s been described as an icon of ‘new’ country music or alt.country or whatever you want to call it. Not because it was written for any one audience, I would imagine. It’s better to imagine that it unifies the intricacy of the personal singer/songwriter ethos with a traditional country melodic structure. It’s a pretty stunning song lyrically too, though the lyrics were written by a Boston poet named Tom Brown. Gram wrote the tune and with the help of Emmylou Harris (and Elvis Presley’s band), he navigates the ironic depths the lyrics suggest without being too heavy on the melancholy. Ultimately, it’s just a cool country song.
The Jayhawks – Waitin’ For the Sun
I first stumbled across this Minneapolis group in 1989 while leafing through the reviews in Rolling Stone. They said The Jayhawks were the band for anyone who loved Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the Flying Burrito Brothers. I nipped out and bought it and loved it. By the time the album that this song came out on (Hollywood Town Hall, 1991) was released, the Jayhawks had become my favourite band. Fun fact: the guy who made this video later directed a video for a band that I used to be in, Golden Rough. I thoroughly recommend their later albums, Tomorrow The Green Grass, Rainy Day Music and Sound of Lies.
Wilco – Impossible Germany
This group has, despite criticism from die-hard fans who think they should have stuck to the style of their first two albums, musically transcended any notion of shitty genre restrictions. They rock. And no, they’re not the “American Radiohead” either.
The Band – King Harvest (Has Surely Come)
King Harvest is essential North American music – rural, funky and soulful. I can’t think of many bands from this era or the current crop who have three amazing lead singers with such knowledge of blues, country, rock and pop styles. Their songs are genius and the musicality of Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson is astonishing.