Tag Archives: Riding For The Feeling

Unpacking the Pines: May 24, 2011

Soon, soon, very soon FBi Radio will have the ability to stream content ‘on demand’. For listeners, it’s an exciting development because it means that if you miss an episode of In The Pines you will be able to stream it at your leisure whenever you get the yearning for some americana/alt-country/folk/sadcore goodness. For broadcasters, it’s exciting too because it means that what once used to disappear into the airwaves gets to live on. That makes it a little bit terrifying too. Mistakes on demand! Flirtations with guests on demand! Accidental swearing on demand! The joys of live radio. What the hell, I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime however, if you missed the show all I can offer up is the playlist and a re-cap of some of the highlights. So without further ado….

A LITTLE BIT OF BOB

Bob Dylan’s milestone 70th birthday was all over print, online and radio this week and Pines was no different. I started the show with ‘I Threw It All Away’, later played ‘One Of Us Must Know’ (Sooner Or Later) and also shared Micah P. Hinson’s version of ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ from his excellent covers album All Dressed Up And Smelling Of Strangers. Cat Power’s bittersweet hymn to her hero, ‘Song To Bobby’ rounded out the birthday celebrations. After the show, I managed to muster a few thoughts on Dylan for the blog, so if you’re interested you can check it out here.

A LITTLE BIT OF BON IVER

For those who have exhausted all possible plays of 2008’s beautiful For Emma, Forever Ago and it’s all too brief follow-up Blood Bank , there is much joy to be had in the knowledge that a new release from Justin Vernon is just around the corner. Due for release on June 20, early reports suggest the sophomore effort Bon Iver, Bon Iver is an extension of the first album but with sporadic bursts of electronic experimentation. I played the first single ‘Calgary’ on the show this week and also directed listeners towards this recent appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in the US.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Justin Vernon’s voice… But his marriage of early 90’s Bonnie Raitt with Leon Russell’s ‘A Song For You’ doesn’t leave me aching for more and I kind of wish he’d performed one of his own songs. Why does it disappoint me so? In unabridged versions of the Russell classic, there’s a line Listen to the melody/ ‘Cause my love is in their hiding . I must have marvelled over its simple beauty a thousand times. To my ears, Vernon hides nothing. Check out this Willie Nelson video here if you’re interested something more subtle.

And if you want to hear Bon Iver doing what Bon Iver do best, you can download ‘Calgary’ here.

A LITTLE MORE MARISSA, A LITTLE LESS BILL

I’m a big believer that almost every song could be improved with a little more twang. As such, I’m pleased to say that the ethereal voiced Boston-based folk singer Marissa Nadler has taken that route with her latest single ‘The Sun Always Reminds Me Of You’. The demo version of the song has been doing the rounds for about six months but with her self-titled album due for release next month, we now have the legit version, complete with loads of pedal steel.

And to round things up, a promise I’m bound to regret…

I would be the first to admit that become a bit of a broken record with my on-air adoration of Bill Callahan in recent months, so on Tuesday I committed to taking a break from playing tunes from his latest release Apocalypse for at least a little while. If you haven’t gone out bought the album yet, I will no longer urge you to do so. I will save my adjectives and adorations for other artists and other LPs. But as I’m heaping praise on other tunes, I’m sure if you listen closely, in the silent seconds you will hear something like “It’s good but it’s not ‘Riding For The Feeling’.”

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In The Pines reviewed with added unnecessary anecdotes…

Yesterday on the walk home from the office, my office, which bears an uncanny resemblance to The Office, I had the iPod blaring and not a care in the world. So carefree was I that at some point on the homeward trail I lost all sense of time and place and found myself belting Bruce Springsteen’s Prove It All Night as I powered up the hill toward Erskineville Road, proving nothing really except that I can walk and sing simultaneously. In an ever-so-slight embarrassment, some guy at the lights made some comment I couldn’t quite catch and I quickly realised that I’d been putting on an impromptu neighbourhood concert. Prove It All Night? Really? I should have known that one would get out of hand. Went home pretty red-faced and forgot about it. Until the lights guy revealed himself today at work.

Co-worker: “You know Emma, that was some pretty good singing on the street yesterday…”
Me: “Oh dear…” (Note to self: when you think you might be singing in public without realising and in the presence of co-workers, try to choose something less primal)

Baby, tie your hair back in a long white bow /Meet me in the fields out behind the dynamo

I have theory about singing and fucking but I’m not going to write it here. It’s something I only share with other singers. Email me if you really want to know. I might tell you. But I probably won’t. And that ends this week’s confession. Now, to this week’s radio program.

In The Pines tonight was a much more wholesome affair than my opening paragraphs might suggest. I was joined in the studio by Adam Gibson from Sydney band, The Aerial Maps. The band blends indie folk instrumentation with spoken word poetry. It’s a unique sound that recalls themes of classic Australian bands like The Triffids and Weddings Parties Anything, except that the extended use of poetry lends the songs a more narrative impulse. If you caught the interview and you liked it, be sure to catch The Aerial Maps this Saturday night at The Basement in Circular Quay for the Popboomerang Records label night. They will be playing alongside The Bon Scotts, Russell Crawford and more.

ALSO ON TONIGHT’S PINES

I resisted the urge to play two tracks from the new Emmylou Harris album and instead opted to go with the title track ‘Hard Bargain’, which was penned by the criminally under-rated Ron Sexsmith and originally released on his 2004 album Retriever. Once again, Harris has proved herself to be a masterful interpreter of song, bringing her trademark ache and subtle genius to every phrase. If you are wondering what I’m getting at here, get the album and listen closely for the variations on the way ‘hard bargain’ is sung and you’re more than half way there. Because it’s so new, the song isn’t on youtube for me to share, so I guess the blog is going to for the two-song option tonight.

Here is Hard Bargain performed at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last week:

And here is ‘Darling Kate’, the beautiful tribute Emmylou penned in honour of her friend and collaborator Kate McGarrigle, which also features on the album:

After seeing Emmylou Harris in Sydney earlier this year at the State Theatre and reviewing the show for FBi, I feel like I might have used up all the adjectives I could possibly adorn her with so I will restrain myself from writing anymore here. At least for this week. If you caught those January shows and you want to relive it, or if you’re the self-punishing ‘what have I missed?!’ kind, the review is on The Flog.

Other highlights from tonight’s show included new music from Grey Reverend (Brooklyn), Anabelle Kay (Oklahoma via the Central Coast!) and Alela Diane & Wild Divine (Portland).

And as promised last week, we heard more from two of this year’s stand-out releases, Steve Earle’s I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive and Bill Callahan’s Apocalypse.

Last but not least, since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I managed to sneak in the Paul Kelly classic ‘When I First Met Your Ma’ to close the show:

It worked on two equally pleasing levels for me: perfectly timed cheesy gesture and also, PK happens to be my Ma’s favourite singer. But more on that later. I hope you’re getting your parental music this Hallmark holiday.

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