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humidity, humility, and heat

Posted in music, oxford american, Uncategorized on 07/16/2010 by kevingordonsblog

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.


touring/recording update

Posted in music, oxford american, Uncategorized on 05/29/2010 by kevingordonsblog

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

Black Dog

O My Child


Trying to Get to Memphis

Don’t Take It All

Bus to Shreveport

Tearing It Down

Pecolia’s Star

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:, or call 501.320.5730.

“good evening, neighbors . . . good evening, sidewalk strangers . . .

Posted in music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 04/10/2010 by kevingordonsblog

good evening police helicopter, too.”

Thanks to all of you who came down to the Wash to hear us last night.  Thought it would be a slow one when I first arrived, but was relieved to see you all there when we got up to play. But no matter who was taking the stage, I was so glad to see so many supporting the Wash, especially given the recent violence.  Playing “Black Dog”, “Crazy Mixed Up World”, and “One I Love” took on an (unfortunate) new urgency that didn’t hit me til we started “Black Dog”. Thanks to East Precinct for increasing their presence on the corner, at least temporarily–I hope it continues. Here’s the set list, or something closely resembling it:

  1. I’m Ready, Willing, Able (Fats Domino)
  2. Church House
  3. Find My Way
  4. Watching the Sun Go Down
  5. Tearing It Down
  6. Illinois 5 a.m.
  7. Casino Road
  8. Colfax
  9. Black Dog
  10. Crazy Mixed Up World
  11. Keep Your Hands Off Her (Leadbelly)
  12. One I Love

For those of you not there, I had Joe McMahan, Ron Eoff, and Marty Lynds playing with me. Kat Jones, though at the time on the clock, slinging shepherd’s pies and pints,  got up and sang on “One I Love”; she’s on the version that’s on the new record, and she sounds great.  Last night I introduced her as a fantastic vocalist, but she is also a very cool songwriter and artist.

Yesterday afternoon it was my great pleasure to participate in the East Academy Middle School’s first “poetry slam”–though in spirit it resembled a gathering of Beats more than anything (minus the chemicals and the haze). James Brown and jazz playing between poets, finger-snapping applause (unless clapping was requested by the reader).  I read a Denis Johnson poem, Sway; it’s always been a favorite–it’s a sonnet that, after a very conventional, kinda Victorian-sounding first line, (“Since I find you will no longer love”) explodes into something all its own. It was the first time I’d read any poetry in front of an audience in years. I was nervous, and it wasn’t even my own work.  Maybe at next month’s reading I’ll step up and read something of mine. I’d brought one, published in a journal 20 years ago–but soon as I looked at it I was wanting to revise it. It never ends, til it all ends, I guess; thank God. Let’s be careful out there.

the move

Posted in Uncategorized on 04/06/2010 by kevingordonsblog

I’ve been away from the blogging habit for some time. Didn’t plan it that way; life has been in the way, or I’ve let it get that way. So, this marks a return, and a renewal . . . and a move to wordpress, which I hope to learn much more about as I continue to plow forward here.

As many of you know, I am in the midst of completing a new recording; it is taking longer to finish than anyone involved (or not) could imagine. Some of this has been good–taking the time to work a while, then rest the ears, then go back. And function seems to follow form in this case–this is a more densely layered record, not so much a deliberate effort at catching a great live performance, as building a great sonic-cinematic track that delivers the song in the most fulfilled way possible. I think any and all approaches to recording can be valid . . . depends on the songs you’re working with, and the people/place/time involved.  I am tentatively calling the record “Gloryland”; if you’ve been to a live show in the last couple of years, you might’ve heard me/us play the song of the same title. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense as the title of the whole shebang. More about that later.

Very soon I’ll begin a pre-sale campaign, attempting to raise funds for the completion and promotion of the record. You’ll be able to find out more info (and do some of that pre-ordering) via my music site,   Your participation will be greatly appreciated. I will gradually be changing the site, too, employing the wordpress platform and abandoning the iWeb-constructed monster that is there now (holy hurry-up-and-wait, batman).  I am doing all of this myself, as well as my own booking, promo, etc., so though the pace of progress of all these endeavors might feel a bit lazy, the ironic twist is that I am working as hard as I can every day to get all of this done.

Thanks, as ever, for your support, and lately, for your patience. Good things are coming.