Today’s writing groove. Didn’t need reading glasses first time around. Met Martin at Racy’s. Fellow Neil D fan.
Recent Ray Wylie Hubbard discussion about the state of country music got me to thinking about something I wrote in Truck: A Love Story (Full disclosure: I once did a story for a men’s magazine in which I had my eyebrows plucked and got a spray tan, so I got no room to talk.) (Also, only reason I didn’t wax my abs is ’cause I got no abs.):
This new stuff suffers from overgrooming. Even the redneckiest tunes ring tinny. One sometimes fears the lyrics of the latest busted-heart song were transposed from a marriage encounter handbook. It isn’t that today’s superstars aren’t talented and hardworking. It’s just that their way of doing things has passed me by. I look at the pretty cowboy on the Jumbotron and think, It is one thing to polish your craft, it is quite another to wax your abs. Recipe for the real deal: Combine two parts busted heart with one part busted knuckles, sprinkle with cheap trucker speed and crushed Valium to taste, and marinate in hard luck and leaky motor oil. Stir in Genesis and Revelation, add a dash of hope, and finish off while being forcibly evicted from a hotel bar. Hello, Tanya Tucker.
Made dumb flatfoot man jokes while daughters watched figure skating but as a result I am now gullet-deep into Chopin’s Nocturnes. Yearning like sixty.
Fairly open secret by now, but for the sake of paperback tour trivia: the song I mention on page 300 of Visiting Tom (the one my friend let me listen to in its early form) was this one, by Bon Iver:
Dan Huiting (same guy who shot the cannon video for Visiting Tom) did this mini-documentary about the making of the next Blind Boys of Alabama album. It was recorded last winter just a corn field or two over from our farm (in fact, after you watch the video, click here to see who that was getting pushed out of the snow right around the 0:50 mark). I was allowed to write the liner notes for this album, and couldn’t be more honored. Kind of thing you never dream of as a kid baling hay in Chippewa County.
This was recorded just down the road a piece. I got to be a little part of it. I’ll say more when the time comes. It will be released September 30, but you can listen to one track right here right now.
(The link isn’t real obvious, look for the little circled triangle).
Miscellaneous Fall Creek convergence trivia: The Bon Iver song featured on the page linked above floats through the final chapter of Visiting Tom.
Had one of those nice impromptu drop-in, stand-around, yap-and-slap (mosquitos and some other odd hatch) sundown visit with the neighbors last night. Photo here. Looks like I was trying to raise the dead but basically I was just yammering obsessively about why it is Hollywood celebrities at news conferences act like they’ve never seen a microphone before. It is my theory that it is an attempt to convey a “simple citizen” image, often amplified by their donning bookish glasses while reading from a script like they’ve never seen one of THOSE before. Then I realized that with I’m often guilty of the roughneck equivalent of these behaviors and lately REQUIRE bookish glasses, and changed the subject. As the fingernail moon rose we discussed how to avoid hitting a deer with your Harley, the art of revision in contemporary rap music, and corn.
What a joy to watch friends at work expressing things in the instant that I struggle to capture on the page. I especially like the one that begins about 3:13. Puts me in a lonely-sunny-afternoon-alongside-a-western-highway state of mind.
Guy on the keys, I knew him when alls he had was a Fisher Price xylophone.
Guy with the beard, no idea. I know he mostly always plows his own driveway.