Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vacation Music


It's our last half day of vacation, back in Kansas City after the train ride back from Jefferson City last night, and a quick outing to Westport Cafe, our new favorite place.  We got to see the replay of the Royals 1-0 ten-inning win, and Hosmer's scrappy bloop single that won it.  It's going to be pretty hot today, in the low 90's, and I'm sitting out on Steve and Cheryl's deck with a pile of CD's to rip.  My official trip souvenir is the new Redd Kross record, picked up at Vinyl Renaissance on 39th.  But typically our trips to KC involve Steve turning me on to new stuff, in his car.

We drove around last week listening to the new Swans double, and that really blew me away.  The downtown NY art punk feel is elegantly embedded in music that has something in common with Balinese Gamelan, Steve Reich percussion pieces, and very remote, smoky, country and western.  I don't think there's a genre for it--just musicians totally in control of what they are doing in a unique do-not-change-one-syllable-or-cymbal-hit-of-this way.  Everything corny or standard stripped away and apparently built out of pure chi. (Do bands like this eat veggie burritos and drink Pepsi while they are in the studio?) Another record that hits me the same way is Richard Hawley's Truelove's Gutter, even though it is an unabashed popular music record.

The other record we discovered (in my brother's rig) was Mark Twain: Words and Music, a narrative song cycle with Clint Eastwood, Garrison Keillor, and Jimmy Buffet providing the story between folk, country and bluegrass songs.  It was really cool, and it is a benefit for Twain's boyhood home and museum.  The sad parts had us crying while we drove to visit my folks in Columbia.  I'm ready to revisit Twain's writing in a big way.

So, after a walk down to a cafe on The Plaza for coffee and a walk back Ward Parkway in the glorious sun and heat, I am unwilling to admit this vacation is almost over.  Kansas City is pretty well hopping in new ways (restaurants, especially) and it is hard to leave.  The only thing that is going to make me feel better is to rip all six disks of The Stooges Heavy Liquid box set and envision myself running around Margaret Bailes Johnson track in Eugene, sweating out a full week of pork: pork sausage, pulled pork, baby back ribs, crispy pancetta.  Bacon Fest is coming up and Dave Snider had better get himself an Amtrak ticket.  This may be the city of his dreams.
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