Monthly Archives: February 2014

Third Coast Songwriter Showcase at Folk Alliance lineup

Friday   10:30
Patterson Barrett
The Flyin A’s
Owen Temple

11:30
Melissa Greener
Joel Rafael
Jeff Talmadge

12:30
Wyatt Easterling
Rebecca Loebe
Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus

Saturday Afternoon
2:00
Kevin Elliott
Butch Morgan
Grant Peeples

3:00
Bronwynne Brent
Megan Burtt
Beth Wood

Saturday Night Shows
10:30
Mary Battiata
John Lilly
Amanda Pearcy

11:30
Michael Fracasso
Dan Navarro
Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus

12:30
Rj Cowdery
Wyatt Easterling

1:30
Berkalin Recored Artists
Matt Harlan
Brian Kalinec
Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus
Libby Koch
(Jeff Talmadge)

Our schedule
Thursday 11 Soona Songs RM 704
Thursday 11:50 Anderson Fair RM 647

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Great Unknown makes Geoffrey Himes’ Top 100, at 100

Geoffrey Himes, the noted music critic, recently named Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus’ The Great Unknown CD one of the Top 100 CDs of 2013 in Paste Magazine. AT #100 itself, but we don’t mind, it’s a great list and we’re happy to be on it. His article and Top 100 list follows:

The Curmudgeon: Questioning the Assumptions of Popular Music

Year-End Polls, Lists and the Lazy Critic

By Geoffrey Himes

Tuesday, January 21, 2013 paste.com

By Geoffrey Himes

Last week the Village Voice published its annual Pazz & Jop Poll of more than 400 pop-music critics; the week before Jazz Times published its own poll of jazz critics, and this week the Nashville Scene unveils its annual Country Music Critics Poll. As someone who voted in the first two polls and conducted the third, I look forward to these annual exercises.

And they are exercise. They force critics out of old habits of throwing around fuzzy adjectives and into the hard work of splitting hairs between the year’s eighth best album and ninth best. It forces them to go back and reconsider all the viable alternatives; it pricks their consciences to get out of their narrow-genre comfort zone and consider all the viable contenders. It’s like pulling them off the couch, away from the TV remote and sending them to the Nordic Track at the gym.

At the heart of every record review is a judgment that the music is good, bad or somewhere in between. But reviewers are never asked (or never given room) to explain what they mean by “good” or “bad,” and so those terms become so mushy that they’re almost meaningless. When a reviewer says an album is “good,” does that mean the same thing as when he said an album last month was “good?” It’s as if music critics were postal workers who tossed letters and packages into giant bins labeled “New York,” “Illinois” and “California” and were never expected to further subdivide their sorting to the street level.

The great thing about critics’ polls and year-end best lists is that they force music critics to define “good” and “bad” in terms of “better than” and “worse than.” I can already hear my lazier colleagues whining, “Oh, you can’t say that one album is the eighth best rather than seventh or ninth; each record is a personal, artistic statement that has to be considered on its own terms. You can’t compare them.” Bullshit.

If you can make a distinction between a really good record and a really bad one, between the year’s best album and the year’s 700th best, you can make the same distinction between the eighth and ninth. You just have to work a little harder. And if you’re not willing to make those distinctions, why are you a critic?

Or the lazy critic might complain, “Oh, you can’t compare a rock record to a jazz record, or a country record to a hip-hop record, or Congolese soukous to Celtic balladry. It’s apples and oranges. You can’t even compare ambient techno to ambient house; they’re completely different.”

This excuse makes the mistake of confusing the singular goal of all art with the countless ways of achieving that goal. Whether it’s a Picasso painting, a Kanye West remix, a Faulkner short story or a Disney cartoon, the aim is always the same: to establish an emotional/sensual connection with the audience to allow them to glimpse something new about human nature. The strength of that connection and the illumination of that glimpse—the aesthetic voltage if you will—is the measure of the artwork’s success. Is it easy to gauge that voltage so precisely that you can distinguish the year’s eighth best album from the ninth? No, but that’s why critics get the big bucks.

Wait. Scratch that. Critics may not be paid very well, but at least they get the satisfaction of enjoying music that much more because they’ve been willing to think about it that much harder. Analysis and pleasure are not the opposites that lazy critics claim; in fact, one reinforces the other.

Moreover, the rewards of thinking hard about music are available to any listener who takes the time and makes the effort. Poke around Facebook, Amazon or your own email inbox, and you’ll find year-end lists from people you know. Many of them have been motivated by the same analysis/pleasure nexus and have spent as much time as my colleagues and I have. So what’s the difference between an amateur listener and a published critic? The ability to translate one’s insights into clear, stimulating prose. Or at least that should be the difference.

“Art is not a competition,” the lazy critic will whimper. “Why should we pit one piece of music against another? Shouldn’t every sincere expression be valued for what it is?”

If humans were immortal beings with an eternity to spend listening to records, that might be plausible. But we’re all going to die sooner than we want to, and so we constantly have to make decisions about how to spend our time. A critic’s year-end list can be read as a triage guide for how to prioritize your uncommitted hours.

Moreover, “sincere” artists have committed as many sins as “sincere” politicians—though with less damaging consequences. Are artists who ask money for their shows and recordings to be treated like nine-year-old soccer players who get self-esteem ribbons for just trying? Those artists demand the right to be uncensored in their ruthless honesty. Shouldn’t we listeners have the exact same right?

Some lazy critics will argue that best-of lists should be reserved for little-known recordings by artists untainted by commercial compromise, a purity that can be proven only by the artists’ small, ghettoized followings. Other lazy critics will argue that best-of lists should be reserved for artists who have fulfilled pop music’s raison d’etre by proving themselves popularin the marketplace.

If you actually do the hard work of engaging recordings as work of arts apart from their context, you soon learn that the popularity of a release tells you absolutely nothing about its aesthetic voltage. There is no correlation. Some best-sellers are terrific, and some are terrible. Some obscure cult items are wonderful, and some are awful.

I listened to more than 700 records in 2013—including, yes, the Phosphorescent and Kanye West records. These were my 100 favorites—all genres, new releases and reissues combined:

1. Kacey Musgraves: Same Trailer, Different Park (Mercury)
2. Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady (Wondaland/Atlantic)
3. Jason Isbell: Southeastern (Southeastern/Thirty Tigers)
4. Terence Blanchard: Magnetic (Blue Note)
5. The Bottle Rockets: Bottle Rockets/Brooklyn Side (Bloodshot)
6. The Swimming Pool Q’s: 1984-1986: The A&M Years (Cipher Bureau)
7. Laura Veirs: Warp and Weft (Raven Marching Band)
8. The 3 Cohens: Tightrope (Anzic)
9. Mika: The Origin of Love (Universal)
10. Charles Lloyd/Jason Moran: Hagar’s Song (ECM)
11. Sam Baker: Say Grace (Baker)
12. Kobo Town: Jumbie in the Jukebox (Cumbancha/Stonetree)
13. Elvis Costello & the Roots: Wise Up Ghost (Blue Note)
14. Steve Coleman and the Five Elements: Functional Arrhythmias (Pi)
15. Bob Dylan: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)
16. Steve Earle: The Low Highway (New West)
17. The Wayne Shorter Quartet: Without a Net (Blue Note)
18. J. Roddy Walston & the Business: Essential Tremors (ATO)
19. Brandy Clark: 12 Stories (Slate Creek)
20. Bill Frisell: Big Sur (Okeh)
21. Frank Turner: Tape Deck Heart (Epitaph)
22. Dave Douglas: Time Travel (Greenleaf)
23. The Beach Boys: Made in California (Capitol)
24. The Miles Davis Quintet: Live in Europe 1969 (Columbia/Legacy)
25. Paul McCartney: NEW (Hear/Concord)
26. Pat Metheny/Tap: John Zorn’s Book of Angels/Vol. 20 (Nonesuch/Tzadik)
27. Woody Guthrie: Radical American Patriot (Rounder)
28. Sly & the Family Stone: Higher! (Epic/Legacy)
29. Illinois Jacquet/Leo Parker: Toronto 1947 (Uptown)
30. Randy Weston/Billy Harper: The Roots of the Blues (Sunnyside)
31. James Booker: Classified: Remixed and Expanded (Rounder)
32. Patty Griffin: American Kid (New West)
33. Carla Bley: Trios (ECM)
34. Drew Gress: The Sky Inside (Pirouet)
35. Neko Case: The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You (Anti-)
36. Walter Namuth’s Quintet with Mickey Fields: Left Bank ‘66 (Baltimore Jazz Alliance)
37. Joe Lovano Us Five: Cross Culture (Blue Note)
38. Rudresh Mahanthappa: Gamak (ACT)
39. David Egan: David Egan (Rhonda Sue)
40. San Fermin: San Fermin (Downtown)
41. North Mississippi Allstars: World Boogie Is Coming (Sons of the South)
42. Mike Stinson: Hell and Half of Georgia (Stag)
43. Dailey & Vincent: Brothers of the Highway (Rounder)
44. Keith Jarrett/Gary Peacock/Jack DeJohnette: Somewhere (ECM)
45. Robbie Fulks: Gone Away Backward (Bloodshot)
46. Maria Schneider, Dawn Upshaw and the Australian Chamber Orchestra: Winter Morning Walks (ArtistShare)
47. Valerie June: Pushin’ Against a Stone (Concord)
48. Jaimeo Brown: Transcendence (Motema)
49. Warren Wolf: Wolfgang (Mack Avenue)
50. Minor Alps: Get There (Barsuk)
51. Lafayette Gilchrist: The View from Here (Creative Differences)
52. Red Baraat: Shruggy Ji (Sinj)
53. The Dropkick Murphys: Signed and Sealed in Blood (Born & Bred)
54. Julie Roberts: Good Wine & Bad Decisions (Sun)
55. Latyrx: The Second Album (Latyramid)
56. Brian Wright: Rattle Their Chains (Sugar Hill)
57. Amanda Shires: Down Fell the Doves (Lightning Rod)
58. Gary Allan: Set You Free (MCA Nashville)
59. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist (Macklemore & Lewis)
60. William Onyeabor: Who Is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop)
61. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell: Old Yellow Moon (Nonesuch)
62. Beausoleil with Michael Doucet: From Bamako to Carencro (Compass)
63. Less Than Jake: See the Light (Fat Wreck Chords)
64. The Del McCoury Band: The Streets of Baltimore (McCoury)
65. Holly Williams: The Highway (Georgiana)
66. The Slide Brothers: Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers (Concord)
67. Lorde: Pure Heroine (Lava/Republic)
68. The Wood Brothers: The Muse (Southern Ground)
69. The Pistol Annies: Annie Up (Columbia)
70. Richard Thompson: Electric (New West)
71. Linda Oh: Sun Picture (Greenleaf)
72. Rene Marie: I Wanna Be Evil (Motema)
73. Tommy Flanagan/Jaki Byard: The Magic of 2 (Resonance)
74. Goodie Mob: Age Against the Machine (Primary Wave)
75. Ben Allison: The Stars Look Very Different Today (Sonic Camera)
76. Joshua Redman: Walking Shadows (Nonesuch)
77. Carrie Rodriguez: Give Me All You Got (Ninth Street Opus)
78. The Carper Family: Old-Fashioned Gal (Carper Family)
79. Jane Ira Bloom: Sixteen Sunsets (Out-Line)
80. Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya : Madeira (Magenta)
81. Joe Grushecky: Somewhere East of Eden (Schoolhouse)
82. Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience (RCA)
83. Kenny Garrett: Pushing the World Away (Mack Avenue)
84. Gov’t Mule: Shout! (Blue Note)
85. Ashley Monroe: Like a Rose (Warner Bros. Nashville)
86. Jonathan Finlayson & Sicilian Defense: Moment & the Message (Pi)
87. Leyla McCalla: Vari-Colored Songs (Music Maker)
88. Of Montreal: Lousy with Sylvianbriar (Polyvinyl)
89. Michael Franti and Spearhead: All People (Capitol)
90. Lonnie Holley: Keeping a Record of It (Dust-to-Digital)
91. Hilary Hahn: In 27 Pieces (Deutsche Grammophon)
92. Avril Lavigne: Avril Lavigne (Epic)
93. Leo Welch: Sabougla Voice (Big Legal Mess)
94. Horace Trahan: All The Way (Trahan)
95. Mary J. Blige: A Mary Christmas (Verve/Interscope)
96. Si Kahn: Bristol Bay (Strictly Country)
97. Nick Lowe: Quality Street (Yep Roc)
98. Bobby Rush: Down in Louisiana (Deep Rush)
99. Otis Taylor: My World Is Gone (Telarc)
100. Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus: The Great Unknown (Berkalin)