If you are still reading this on the wordpress blog, please check out the site: www.kevingordon.net. (and make sure to refresh your page when you get there.) We are still working on the details–but I think overall you’ll find it to be a big improvement in design and functionality. Suggestions? Comments? Sure, bring ’em on. Thanks for visiting.
Quiet morning here at the Red Roof in Hendersonville NC, except for the breakfast area which was crammed with up-early parkgoers talking much too loudly for my yet un-caffeinated head. I grabbed a styro cup full of chemical brew and retreated back here to the room, #109, to chew on an apple and look out upon a great view of a privacy fence about 4 feet from my window, and what appears to be a fine dark spread of green-shadowed forest behind it.
I slept better last night. The re-amalgamation of the family unit has not been without its stress, but I guess anything good won’t be without some rough spots along the way. Our kids’ first day of school yesterday–their first day in public school, too, which is a very different environment from what they’ve been used to–a lot more kids, a much bigger building, and cops in the halls. So far, so good.
The first batch of Salvage CDs was mailed out this week; those of you who ordered (very) early should be getting yours soon. I’m working to get these out to you as soon as possible–thank you for your patience. Please remember these are hand-made (with the help of a Mac), and it takes a little while to get them assembled. Once I get home on Monday, we’ll get right back to it. Most of the 100 are gone–just a few remaining. (You can order here: http://www.kevingordon.net/Salvage_1.html) Thanks so much for your interest in this project. I hope you find it worth the wait.
Really excited about the two shows I’m playing this weekend–tonight at The White Mule in Columbia SC, at 7pm; tomorrow a SXSE show in Myrtle Beach SC, 7 o’clock start as well. Listen for me on the radio with Uncle Gram on Saturday morning, sometime between 9-12 (WUSC-FM, 90.5 on the dial).
I’ve been reading a few different books: In the Country of Country, by Nicholas Dawidoff, Einstein’s God, by Krista Tippett, and The Years With Laura Diaz, by Carlos Fuentes. Listening to the new Jimmie Vaughan record, which is fabulous (a lot of people still don’t “get it”, and man, it’s a damn shame). Lou Ann Barton (as well as JV) sings great–them are some skanky vowels and growls–and as I read recently, she says, “There are two cool people in the world, and Jimmie Vaughan is one of them”. The Petty record sounds great–I keep wanting to resist it, but when I do put it on, I usually end up listening to the whole thing. Pieta Brown’s latest, One and All, sounded mighty fine when I heard it in Iowa a few weeks ago. I bought my daughter a copy and haven’t seen it since.
It is downright otherworldly out there. Outside with the dogs for a brief dogs-kill-the-cardboard-box-then-human-cleans-it-all-up interlude, it’s easy to imagine things just burning, drying into dust. Over 100 degrees here in Nashville yesterday, after a July full of August weather; high temps consistently above 90. More of same today. Wow. Texas summer in Tennessee. The neighborhood crime listserve is busy busy busy–and so go the cops: another few back doors kicked in, flat-screens and laptops vanished, another kid pulls a pistol, collecting wallets and cars with fear as his currency, stolen Volvo ditched in the alley, an 11 year-old with one shoe on who has run away after having it out with Mama. Down to the animal, the wild; sluggish, desperate, and thirsty. Yesterday a woman at the post office counter beside me was giving the clerk all kinds of hell, for no reason that I could tell other than maybe after noticing that Jorge was of Latin American ethnicity, was therefore pissed off by some imagined language barrier, where there was none. She was over-enunciating her words loudly, as if being heard was the problem. She had brought in a box with no tape, no address, and tossed it on the counter. She had started putting Priority Mail tape all over it before Jorge could explain that if she used that tape, her box had to go Priority, instead of “the cheapest way possible”, as she so vehemently desired. She then ripped the tape off the box, and asked for directions to the nearest UPS Store. (She might drive to the UPS Store, but she will not find free tape or free packing assistance there, either.) In my art business I will spend hours meticulously packing something at home so it’s READY TO MAIL, then drive to the p.o. to stand in line for a minor eternity behind a person such as this, who has a list of extreme demands yet not a clue, delivered with an attitude that’s 58 in the hips and bone-dense between the ears. Before taking her toxic fit on down the road, when said customer overheard the clerk helping me (I was paying my box rent) say “crowville?”, she mocked the clerk’s voice (who happens to be African-American) . . . “crow, ville . . . crow, ville”. I held back, didn’t move, or say a word, beginning to think this was a medical issue; though I did look at Travina as if to say “WTF?”. To her credit, she acknowledged nothing. People get freaky in the heat. Have a great day!
As I announced yesterday on facebook, twitter, and reverbnation, “Salvage and Drift, Vol. 1” is now for sale on the site (kevingordon.net). More details there, or in my previous post here. Basically, 12 previously unreleased tracks, 100 1st edition copies, all hand assembled/packaged, each numbered and signed. When these 100 go, I might offer an “open” edition that’ll be more of a manufactured, mass-produced thing. If you want to send a check, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll hold one for you for 5 days to allow for your payment to get here. It’s been less than 24 hours since they went on sale, and more than half have already been sold. Thank you!
Upcoming shows in Johnson City TN, Columbia SC, and Myrtle Beach SC. Shows just added include Memphis on Oct. 10 and Oxford MS at the Lyric Theater on September 17.
Just go with it. After weeks of gnashing of teeth, etc., worrying about finding the “right” title for this compilation of odds and ends, I finally put my boot down, dammit, and decided I’m going to call it what I want to call it. It might not make sense to you, but it does to me. And that feels like enough. Thanks to everyone though, for your kind suggestions and persuasive arguments. The dialogue did do me some good, though maybe not in the ways you imagined.
“Salvage & Drift” will be for sale on my website, kevingordon.net, starting Wednesday. Official release date is August 10. Every one of these 100 of the first edition is numbered, signed, and put together by hand. When all 100 are sold, if demand warrants, I’ll release an open edition that’s a little more mass-produced, and a little less labor-intensive. The first edition CDs will be sold in numerical order, as the orders are received via PayPal, through kevingordon.net.
What’s on Salvage & Drift? Over the last year I’ve been going through boxes and piles of unreleased recordings, putting together a group of tracks that work on their own, and with each other, to illuminate my own creative process (via home recordings and studio demos) or just let you in on a really good time (live tracks). Volume 1 contains tracks dating from 1994 to 2009. In future volumes I hope to go back farther. The idea is to let you hear a little more from me, not only in releasing a new studio record more than once every five years, but also in sharing some things that lead to, or beyond, those records. The “real” new record, Gloryland, may not be officially released until January–this has more to do with the way the music biz works than anything–and along with offering something new before Gloryland comes out, it feels like the right time to release a compilation like this. To nod at the past as we prepare to move on to what’s ahead. For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting Gloryland, I know, January’s a long way off. I will be offering them via a pre-release sale campaign, starting probably in October. Stay tuned for more details, and thanks, as ever, for your support.
This morning found me up at 6 to feed the dogs, then back in bed, where I read a little more of Dante’s Inferno. It has a cooling effect. (The further in I get, the more it resembles life here on Earth; Virgil leads Dante up Gallatin Road on a hot July evening.) Took the trash can out to the alley; cut back some of the wild vines and weeds, all knotted up and stubborn, growing along the fence-line back there. Came in around 9–I felt like I was starting to melt along the edges. Showered, made espresso in the Italian stove-top thing. Now I’m plowing thru various chores domestic and professional, from laundry to graphic design, booking to pest control, waiting for the mechanic to call with what can only be bad news, as it will cost something to fix whatever’s wrong with the van. I was referred to this mechanic by a friend. From reading reviews of this garage on the internet, (after AAA towed it over there) I figure he must be the only customer to have had a pleasant experience with these folks. This adds a certain urgency to the whole deal. (Update: I just spoke with a woman on the phone there, who, when asked about how things are coming along, said: “he said he ain’t got to it yet”.) They’ve had it for about 26 hours now.
One of my own ain’t-got-to-it’s this week is to title the compilation of live and otherwise unreleased tracks that I’ve been putting together. But the day’s not over, and I am at a point where the title itself is less important than the simple act of making the decision. It’s an old habit: fear of making the wrong choice prolongs/prohibits my making a choice at all. But I’m bored with all that, and am ready to lay waste to all that old spinelessness, drop pro-active napalm all over my murky little comfort zone. Dammit. You’d think by now . . .
In other news: picked my first ripe tomato from the garden this morning. To keep up with the jalapenos I’m eating them with just about everything except oatmeal and toast; can’t get my habaneros to put on any fruit. Bell peppers looking pretty sickly. About to have three ripe cantaloupes on the kitchen counter.
We played one of our best shows in years last Friday night in Clarksdale, MS. Thanks to all the folks from the Oxford American, who made it such a cool event, both for the bands and everyone else there. How anyone present on Saturday night would feel it necessary (or even possible) to carry on a conversation while presented with the singular brilliance of one Mose Allison, I’ll never know. I guess he’s considered a local around those parts, and maybe that had something to do with the chin-music rumbling around the room. He brought his Memphis-based rhythm section, and those guys were fantastic–a damn near telepathic communication going on onstage. Staying over the extra night was definitely the right decision.
Speaking of local, we’re back on the home turf tonight, playing the Family Wash. With Joe McMahan, Ron Eoff, and a special guest on drums. 9ish. I’ll be rolling my amp down Greenwood Avenue in a wheelbarrow.
Had a great time at the White Water Tavern–though it seems a huge sporting event (the one without the obnoxious horns) drew some of the crowd away from this particular throwdown. This happens more often than I like. But even I was captivated by the last 5 minutes of the game–the only 5 minutes of the NBA season I caught this time around. Kudos to Dylan and Jason for jumping in and playing–felt like we were always on the brink of disaster, and that made it all the more fun. I was getting a good tone–new strings on the Tele, and running thru Don Hamilton’s awesome blackface Deluxe and my little Epiphone Pathfinder. Tonight we take it over to Hot Springs–I play first, at about 9:30, I think. My first time at Maxine’s; I hear it’s a great venue.
Now about to go eat barbecue at one of my favorite’s, Sims; this is day 1 of what’ll be 2 consecutive days of Q–tomorrow it’s McClard’s . . . and then who knows what kind of incredible things will be coming out of the Russells’ kitchen once I get down to Ruston on Sat. evening.
Took this photo in my backyard night before last.
Some updates: Joe and I return to House of David studio tomorrow and Monday to complete the mixes for the new record. This includes remixing 3-4 that were previously considered “done”. Tracks mixed for the record are (in no particular order):
Side of the Road
Don’t Stop Me This Time
O My Child
Trying to Get to Memphis
Don’t Take It All
Bus to Shreveport
Tearing It Down
One I Love
The finished project might not include all 12; one of these hasn’t found a place in any of my potential sequences yet. But sometimes I forget what time it is–sequences don’t count for much anymore since as listeners we have so much control to change the order, or select just a few tracks for download, etc. But I think it’s still important to at least offer an opinion on how the tracks as a whole should fit together. What you choose to do with that information is up to you. After the mixes are done and we settle on a sequence, the whole thing will be mastered; after that, as far as the audio goes, it’s done. And then let us all gather and shout hallelujah or hell yes.
Some cool shows coming up–next week the Clack Mountain Festival in Morehead KY, home of the Kentucky Folk Art Center. Then two solo shows in Missouri, including a return to Cape Girardeau’s “Tunes at Twilight” series. A band run to Arkansas and north La. follows, then on June 25 we play The Vernon Club in Louisville KY. One show I’m very excited about is coming up on July 9–the Oxford American magazine is presenting “The Most Southern Weekend on Earth” at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero club in Clarksdale MS. I’ll be joining Jimbo Mathus, Robert Balfour, True Soul Revue, the mighty Mose Allison, and writer Peter Guralnick for a weekend of high-intensity laidback gitdown. For tickets and other info please visit: oxfordamerican.org, or call 501.320.5730.