What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

My Photo
Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


Fallen hero

One of the most original voices in American folk music was silenced today. So long, Vassar Clements.

Entirely self-taught, Clements never learned to read a note, yet developed into a musician of formidable technical prowess and idiosyncratic virtuosity.

The MSN obituary, predictably, focuses on Clements' work as a sideman on rock, pop and country albums, which is missing the point entirely. (Imagine an obituary of C.S. Lewis or Edgar Allan Poe that zeroed in on their literary criticism.) If you really want to hear Clements play, check out his work with Bill Monroe, John Hartford's Steam-Powered Aereo-Plain, or Old and in the Way (the one time I saw him play live, that's who he was with). Or, heck, find one of his 2 dozen solo recordings.

It's also the 13th anniversary of the death of Mark Heard. Not to mention 28 years for Elvis. And 67 for Robert Johnson.

Not a good day for musicians.


Blogger jasdye said...

hmmmm. just ordered heard's "satellite sky" from paste the other day.

"orphans of God", the tribute album, is one of my favorites of all time. although a lot of talent (being the rock fan that i am, chagall guevara & the vigilantes of love rank as two of my favorite performances), it's the music and the poetry that stand out for me.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

I think you'll like Satellite Sky if you're a rock fan.

Mark may have been losing his hearing before he died; Satellite Sky has this harsh, tinny edge to it. A certain former business associate of Mark's did a better-sounding alternate mix of the album that has been bootlegged a bit ... but you didn't hear about it from me.

My favorite Heard record is Second Hand, but I'm just weird that way.

Vassar Clements never played on a Mark Heard recording, but Byron Berline, Buddy Spicher, and David Mansfield all did.

4:18 PM  
Blogger jasdye said...

i think i'm going to get "second hand" next.

he was producing a lot in those last days. way too much. great and not-so-great albums.

rock's not my only music. but i def think it informs most of the music that i listen to. to such a degree that i do not know who Byron Berline, Buddy Spicher, and David Mansfield are.

6:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home