Picking Up On Something

Elvis Presley – Baby, What You Want Me To Do

But he’s picking up on something, he’s getting interested in something. What he’s getting interested in is the rhythm in the song; and suddenly, as if no-one has ever really heard that what this song is about is a certain rhythm; has nothing to do with the words, has nothing to do with the vocal, there’s no idea in it; it is a rhythm that is asking to be made bigger, to go further, and to become a thing in itself.

– Greil Marcus

Going For A Song: ‘Elephant’

Jason Isbell – Elephant

Jason Isbell is someone who I’d heard of through his association with the Drive-By Truckers, but had never heard any music by him. Then last year I heard his song ‘Live Oak’, which led me to the album Southeastern (2013). ‘Elephant’, like ‘Live Oak’, is a good indication of Southeastern as a whole: affective, never sentimental, crafted songs, which use country music as a touchstone.

Going For A Song: ‘Always Up’

Low – Always Up

My younger self would lament the fact, but due to the way I now find out about and then listen to music, new albums take their time to filter through to me, and I’m usually a year behind in my listening. This meant, when I started thinking about what albums I most enjoyed this year, I found the majority were pre-2018.

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Going For A Song: ‘Palimpsest’

Smog – Palimpsest

I ask for your indulgence because I only chose a Smog song a few weeks ago. But ‘Palimpsest’, as Nico’s song did last year, suits this afternoon’s winter’s day.

This is not only because of the lyrics, but because in ‘Palimpsest’ Bill Callahan holds the listener, with a simple repeated guitar figure and the measured drawing out of his words, in a holding pattern as the winter holds; not terrifying and coldly, but careful and still; and together, always, with the anticipation of being let go.

‘Palimpsest’ is from what is, I think, one of my favourite Smog albums – A River Ain’t Too Much To Love.

Other Shows Are Available

I have seen Bob Dylan live. I wasn’t sure at first. I remembered seeing him perhaps at Wembley Stadium, because I had a vague memory of talking with my friend Tim as we made our way out of the gig. But I thought this might have been a dream, a false memory. But no, I was there. I found the ticket stub:

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