You’ve Been Doing it All Wrong
So, yea: I’m a sixty-one-year-old washed-out poet, masquerading as a folk singer. But I’ve learned some shit along the way. Seen some shit. And every now and then one of the young ones will ask me for some advice, which usually means they are wanting me to greenlight their music career, tell them that they should do this thing, that they have the goods and that they need to get on with it. Of course…I never sign-off. I don’t care how great I think they are or might be. No. This life is stupid. It’s a bad idea. It’s not something you should do. Its not a good way to plan your years so that you don’t end up eating cat food in a cold walk-up in your final days. Even if you ARE good. You got to be really really good. And good at a LOT of things. Or…you have to be really good at ONE thing, and then roll that up into a tight ball and bounce it as high as you can. One of BIG MISTAKES that most young performers are making these days is…the songs they are singing. Bad repertoire is the stock and trade of some of the best performers out there. Cause yea, they are singing their OWN songs. What I know is that if you are trying to bust in, break out, get a leg up, and you are trying to do it as something and someone original, and all of your ORIGINAL songs ORIGINATE with YOU, you are messing up. Sorry. Quit doing that. Your body of work is holding you back. Which doesn’t mean you aren’t any good. It just means you don’t have a body of work yet that can launch you into the misty galaxy of bullshit known as success in the music business. You need to be hunting songs, really really really good songs, by other writers. They don’t have to be famous songs. They shouldn’t be famous songs. They should be great songs by other folks who have been fighting their way into the middle, just like you. And the performances or recordings you are going through to find these songs might not sound stellar. But, you ever hear the tape Hank Cochran singing “I Fall to Pieces?” Well, I have. Sounded like dog wanky. Hank had limited range, was nasally, had minimal guitar skills. And he was living in a bunk house in Nashville. He was nobody. But Owen Bradley, Patsy’s producer, recognized that the song had nerves; and he knew that Patsy could get on them. Do you think Patsy Cline would be a known figure today if she had only recorded songs she had written? I know this is ONE example, but I can give you thousands of others just like it. Don’t make me. I know what I’m talking about here. If you are living in East Nashville or Austin or Portland or Asheville or where-ever, and you’ve made a couple of records and you are out banging around, playing gigs around the region, but really getting nowhere with it, I can GUARANTEE you that most of those song you are doing are your own. And that you are filling in with some covers of famous people and famous songs here and there. That’s the formula that you and all the other wannabees are embracing. And…it’s a bad formula. YOU NEED TO TOTALLY REVUE AND REVISE YOUR REPETOIRE, YOUNG LADY/MAN. What you SHOULD do is assess the body of work of all those friends you have made in the business. Yea. The OTHER ones who are embracing the same failing formula that you have. And start picking out THEIR best material. You must have 20 friends that you know from the open mics, festivals, workshops, bar and café gigs, parties and faux opium dens that you have been going to. Some of them are further advanced in their careers than you. Others, not so much. Point is: we ain’t talking Lucinda or Steve Earle here. But almost all of them have a song that you’ve heard that has raised your eyebrow just like a Lucinda or Steve song has. Well…all those songs you’ve been singing are NOT eyebrow-raisers. But you can start working on a repertoire of ‘original’ eyebrow raising songs that you could go play virtually ANY where, and that would be almost totally unrecognizable to the audience. (Your friends will LOVE it if you do their songs, btw) And this collection of songs could all be eyebrow raisers. “Oh,” you say. ‘But I want to do my own songs.” YOU ARE TWENTY SOMETHING YEARS OLD!!! FIRST THING YOU NEED IS A FUCKING AUDIENCE!!! AND THOSE SONGS YOU ARE WRITING AND PERFORMING ISN’T DOING IT!! Sorry to be so mean. But there. I told you what to do. Go to work. Go on a search. Start making lists and notes. If you hear something you like, ask the performer for the lyrics and chords. See if you can do something with it. If so, nail it down and go with it. If not…move on to something else. Just because it’s a great song, doesn’t mean that it would be great for you. I submit: Blue Bayou. Anyhow that’s it. I gave this to you. You can be famous now. If even you get there, going for it was a bad idea. Send money to my Paypal account please firstname.lastname@example.org
How it Works (part 2)
High achievers on the SAT
make for mighty poor
Likewise, intolerance and self-justification
follow blindly a dull unfamiliarity
with the Classics
Hence, America’s ruling race seeks to train
---rather than educate---
Philosophy, art, history, anthropology, literature---
are all enemies of the Great State
Their calculated degradation is conflated with patriotism:
Which herald’s any scoundrel who will wave the flag
How it Works
Just as the Catholic Church once suckled the teats
of NAZI Germans---
fundamentalist Christians are now spooning
with Dionysian Trumpians
Each of these pairings are galvanizations
of scripted perversions
regarding the difference between
the spiritual metaphor
of turning the other cheek
and the literal, physical, insensible action
of simply looking
the other way
Watch Trump as he begins pardoning people.
Right and left.
In an almost random, indiscriminate way.
Many of the pardons will be questionable.
Many will be...just hard to understand.
Yes, there will be a silent chorus among the pundits:
“What is this one about?”
“That guy is a democrat!”
“Was she a friend of his?”
“What is he doing?
We are so queued-up these days to seize upon his political or psychological motivations.
But I’ll tell you what he’s doing with these pardons:
He is MESSAGING
And the message is:
“See what I’ll do if you convict anyone associated with me!
See what a waste of time it is going after us!
See the power I have!
See how I can overturn justice!
See how I can fuck with you and your Department of Justice!
See that I am beyond the reach of the law!
Remember how Ford pardoned Nixon?
He is trying to intimidate and deflate the process of justice.
REVIEW OF ‘SETTLING SCORES’
TRANSLATED FROM THE DUTCH with Google Translator
Grant Peeples is what you call a damn busy bee. The recently released "Settling Scores Vol. II "is already tenth man's release since his debut in 2008. And as far as I'm concerned personally it is also his very best. The first thing I have nothing to criticize. The first person who knows how to captivate me from start to finish. An album equally striking because of its constantly very high song quality.
Scrambled with the ominous "Pitchforks And Torches". A particularly tasty, stiff roots rocker. Then we end up at the already very nice slow "Goodbye". "A Steve Earle song I would have written ... if he had not," Peeples said himself in the liner notes. The subdued "Dear Judas" in turn, according to Peeples, might just as well have called "Love, Betrayal And Forgiveness" and that also says a lot about its content. The bluesy "This Could Be A Long Night" caused my thoughts to wander to Tom Waits, love song "Liliana" is a reprise of a song from his own, for a while no longer available "PawnShop" -album from 2009, "The Black Dress" not only lives on a funeral affair, but is also inspired by further insight and funky "More For Us, Less For Them" is obviously a sneer to the current policy of the States and all who can find.
The absolute highlight of "Settling Scores Vol. II "should come as far as I am concerned. More specifically, the epic valve "The New Brownsville Girl". That shows, on closer inspection, a rewrite of the Dylan-number that we knew from his "Knocked Out Loaded" album. Nice to hear how Dylan-fan Peeples knows how to give his own example to the song of his great example.
For the production of "Settling Scores Vol. II "drew Gurf Morlix. Other prominent guests included keyboardist David Webb, drummer Rick Richards and accordionist Joel Guzman.
Lust for Life Magazine
Here’s the thing I know about your little poetry and music career: If you are a hundred and eighty pound, five-foot two girl with crooked teeth, you might be the president of the Latin Club, or your daddy might own the town’s Chevrolet dealership, or you might be the best conversationalist since Putnam’s mama, but you’re not going to the prom with the quarterback of the football team. That’s just a fact. You don’t have to actually confront this or accept it. Or even deal with it. Not if you don’t want to. But you’re not going to deal your way out of it, either.