Lights, and more lights

Oh, sure, today, when I have to be inside, it can be 20 degrees warmer and sunny. Isn’t that just the way of it? Of course it started out cold, ’tis the season, somehow. But by the time midday rolled around, by the time we got to campus, we were assured a beautiful day. And I got to spend the rest of it under fluorescent light bulbs.

Which was usual, but also mildly amusing today: we talked exclusively about lighting for film and television today. Hard light, soft light. Three-point light systems, key lights, fill lights, back lights. Four-point light techniques. High-key lights, low-key lights, silhouettes. The inverse square law (Intensity = 1/Distance-squared). Reflectors, infusers. I had compiled 10 pages of good notes to share.

And then, I did it again in a second class.

After which, I met up with a few colleagues and we went out for dinner. Italian. We talked, among other things, about music, and nostalgia. It was delightful.

I had the opportunity in that conversation to talk about the Re-Listening project, but I did not bring it up. There was an almost natural spot for it to fit in, and while I could have wedged it in, I let the moment pass. I’d much rather tell you about it, dear reader.

As you recall, the Re-Listening project is where I am playing all of my old CDs, in the order of their acquisition, in my car. These aren’t music reviews, but a fun jaunt down memory lane, a good excuse to put some music here and, of course, a good way to pad the site. Today we’re back somewhere in 2004, listening to the debut album from Los Lonely Boys. You’ll remember “Heaven,” which went to the top of the Billboard AC charts. So they had good airplay. They appeared on Austin City Limits and who all knows where else that year. A lot of people bought this record, it went double-platinum in 11 months. Willie Nelson raved about them. (This was recorded at his Pedernales studio.) And that part, and that single, are why I bought the CD.

That song won a Grammy.

And, friends, of all the records you might purchase on the basis of one song getting airplay, this is one of the better ones. I haven’t listened to this in a while, but when it came up for the Re-Listening project I was struck, once again, by the musicianship, and the joyful nature of it all. Also, the harmonies are pretty tight. But, first, you have to hammered by that blues guitar.

Also, this band is not a one-trick pony.

Most prevailing memory of Los Lonely Boys, we were at a small dinner party the year after this record was released, and a few of the songs made the playlist. That night was the night when our little clutch of grad school friends started considering The Yankee and I a couple.

Mostly, this whole album demands a drink with a lot of condensation on the glass.

This album settled comfortably in the nine spot on the Billboard 200, and finished on the 2004 year-end chart at number 44. In a display of it’s staying power, it was on the year-ender for 2005, at 85. More albums followed in the next decade — some with big commercial success — and a ton of touring. They just wrapped up a national tour, in fact, but they’ll be back on the road in January. Check them out of if they come near you.

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