Jun 24

A mechanic, two hours of exercise, and music that still holds up

Took my lovely bride’s car to the shop yesterday and got it back the same afternoon. Regular maintenance sort of stuff. But things are better, she said.

The guy has a shop in the middle of a neighborhood. It’s a two-bay shop, with a slab that’s not big enough for the cars he has on the property. His office is all the way in the back, it’s a … careworn sort of place. That isn’t ordinarily the right word for this sort of thing, but it fits. No one is especially happy when they have to see their mechanic. You take a little angst and stress and — depending on your pocketbook or what’s going on — maybe a little anxiety to your mechanic. People bring in the things that make something careworn.

The couple of times we’ve been there, I’ve seen a few fishing poles in the front room. They’re just sitting there, on a pile of stuff that looks like it hasn’t been moved in a long time. Two rooms back, there’s the guy. A bit on the tall side, thick all the way around. Always wears a bandana. He strikes you as a time-is-money guy. He’s economical with his words, because if he’s talking with you he isn’t making money elsewhere.

I’m not even sure what the guy did to her car given the small amount of money he charged. I asked him to look into something about my car, too. And maybe he will. If he does, maybe he’ll charge me a low, low price, too.

It’ll cost more.

Monday was a beautiful, mild, sunny day. Today was perpetually overcast, but Monday was just lovely. The sort of day where you could unassumingly spend too much time indoors. The sort of day where you wouldn’t even notice it. I spent too much of it inside.

I did go for a little 30-mile bike ride, my first in eight days. I felt like I needed a few days after my last one, and then other things come along and fill your days and before you know it, you wonder if you’ll remember how to balance the thing. It’s embarrassing.

They closed a road while I wasn’t riding. The first sign I saw said the bridge was out. It’s an overpass over the freeway, and I figured it couldn’t be really out, because that would have inconvenienced the motorists below and surely I would have learned about this. So I ignored the signs and the barrels, rode right around them and up to the bridge. And only when I was on the thing did I worry, but the bridge is an engineering marvel and, halfway over, I rationalized that if it could hold itself up then whatever was going on wouldn’t be challenged too much by one guy and a bike.

Only nothing was going on with the bridge. The issue was a little further down the road. This was the issue.

Once I got around that I had, of course, another little stretch of road that was closed from the other direction for the same reason. Almost a mile guaranteed with no traffic. It was lovely! I should just go back and ride that over and over and over again, for as long as it lasts.

Meanwhile, last night was the night the local volunteer fire department … practices driving their trucks around? They actually closed down one road, and a volunteer who takes his traffic directing duties very seriously waved me onto this road.

I’ve never been on this road before! A new road! This particular area is laid out in a wide country grid, so I knew exactly where it would go. It was almost like being lost, but not nearly as fun. Being lost when your legs feel good is just about the most fun thing you can do on a bike. The other day The Yankee was telling me about a ride she had without me where she got turned around for a while and I said, “Really!?” a little excited, and a little jealous. So when I’m not haunting that closed road I need to find more new roads. (I have one in mind just now.)

I saw some beautiful cattle enjoying their evening graze.

Soon after, a fire truck passed me. And I met that rig two more times. I’m not at all certain what they were practicing. (And I know for certain it was VFD practice because they’d deployed signs in some of the areas that were impacted.) Maybe they have new drivers.

Early this afternoon I went for a swim. I put my camera on the bottom of the pool to document the experience.

The experience was laps. I swam, slowly, 1,250 yards. All part of the build up. The build up to swimming more, later. As usual, it took a while for my arms to feel like doing laps. The first 50 yards or so felt great. The next 600 and change felt sluggish. Somewhere between 700 and 735 yards, though, I felt like a champion swimmer. Long build ups, short peaks. Typical.

Actually it felt like a nice swim from about 700 yards through to the end, though I was ready to be done at the end.

Ever since I was a little boy, I said in my best Robert Redford voice, I’ve always gotten hungry around the water. Playing in it, splashing around in a lake, wading in a pool or swimming medium distances, they would all create the same deep hunger. It’s a familiar feeling that a lot of little boys and girls get. Only it never left me. I came to think of it as a physical and a mental need. I can just look at the water and get hungry, was a joke I told my friends. And so I had a second lunch today.

Which was great because, in the later afternoon, and into the early evening, I went out for a casual little 25-mile bike ride. I saw this tractor, which, if you look carefully, is dripping something on the road.

And I set three PRs this evening, all on (little) hills. I am not at all sure how that came to be, but I’ll take it.

Let us return, once more, to the Re-Listening project. As you may know, I’ve been listening to all of my old CDs in the order of their acquisition. I’m also writing a bit about them here, just to pad the site, share some good music and maybe stir up a memory or two.

And today we reach back to 2005, to listen to a CD that was released in 1995, Son Volt’s debut, “Trace.” Uncle Tupelo’s Jay Farrar left the band and that lead to the creation of Son Volt and Wilco (Uncle Tupelo sans Farrar). Wilco’s debut was released first, by a few months, but Son Volt’s debut, in September of 1995, was a bigger hit. Either way, listeners one. (Both bands were, and are, terrific. Two alt-rock, alt-country bands are better than one.)

“Trace” was a reasonable commercial hit, peaking at number 166 on the Billboard 200 chart and soaring to number 7 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart. Perhaps even more importantly, it was a critical success.

“Windfall” was the first single, and the first track. This was the first Son Volt sound most of us heard.

Something about Farrar’s voice that conveys a desperate, lonely, honky tonk feel that you didn’t get a lot of at that time. It was the nineties! And this, for me, was a library pickup to help fill an important gap in the collection.

Here’s the thing, though. These guys could absolutely rock.

The first time I saw them live was at Midtown Music Festival, in Atlanta, in 1998. It was a three-day, seven-stage show. There were more than 100 bands there, absurdly good acts, and you could see the whole weekend’s worth of music — if you were willing to sweat and stand for the whole thing — for just $30 bucks. Son Volt played early Friday. Just after that we saw the Indigo Girls and in between songs Amy Ray said they’d been over to see Son Volt, too. “God bless those guys,” she said.

I saw them once more, the next year. On Valentine’s Day, in fact. I took a girl to a first date to see them. I’d met her in a record store — and somehow it seemed that we knew each other, or the same people, or people thought we knew one another — and music was important to her. Soon after, we worked together. I got tickets to the show and she decided to call it a date, which was unexpected, at least by me. We had a nice time, and I am came to find out later that I passed many tests that night. We dated for four months after that.

She’s manages a big construction company and is married to a realtor. They live close to the beaches where she grew up, close to her family. It looks pretty perfect for her. I wonder what sort of music she’s listening to these days.

If Son Volt is somehow on the list, she’ll have to travel to see them this summer. They are playing a few festivals. Still rocking.

Jun 24

Separation of powers

I had a nice little swim this afternoon. It was little, just 1,000 yards. I am not a wise swimmer, but I am trying to be wise here. It’s early yet, I’m still building up distance or endurance or patience. I swam 1,000 the last time I was in the pool, and so my instinct today was to swim more. I thought I’d do 1,250 yards, but then I thought, no, the sensible thing to do would be to ease into things. And so I did that.

Dove in, the water was warm. Stepped on the strap of a kid’s goggles, and startled myself. A sea creature had gotten me! Laughed at myself. Started swimming. And swam and swam. This takes me a long time, because I am a slow swimmer.

But I found a random chart, with no attribution, on a random site that says my average 100 yard swim times are on par with people 15 and 20 years younger than me. So this chart is, obviously, incredibly accurate.

Of course, the times are for normal people, not fish, nor other species of superhumans or athletes. For all we know, they could be times of people who have never swam from one end of a pool to the other. It could be some ChatGPT chart that was really about cotton candy consumption times that got mislabeled, for all I know, but it suggests I’m swimming faster than young people, and I’ll take it.

We are installing a new closet system — and, Lord do I hate anything that uses the word “system” as a piece of unnecessary marketing. This is an installation for our guest bedroom. For the previous owners, this was a teenager’s room. The closet had the cheap, ubiquitous wire rack shelves. There were sliding glass doors. They’re coming out, too.

It was my lovely bride’s job to decide to upgrade the closet. It was also her job to pick the closet system. It was my job to remove the doors.

The secret to these projects is simple for us. She can build a thing. I can build a thing. We can’t build it together. So I left her alone, right there, to assemble the system. It became my job, after that, to make it actually fit.

The system has three clothes rods. Two at the traditional height and one that is lower. One side of each rod is anchored into the walls, and the other side of each rod will be attached to this MDF shelving unit. Each of these has two rods, one telescoping inside the other. And they’re all too large to work in tandem, and two short to work alone.

So it was my job to solve this problem. To the garage! And the hacksaw! The job was to slice through six medium grade hollow tubes of aluminum.

And then I sanded the burrs away.

She’ll install them tomorrow. I’ll let her put them into place. She likes to build things. It’s the sense of control and progress, I think. On these projects, I just say, I’ll be in my office if you need me. After some muttering, she’ll have made a nice little upgrade.

A now custom-built closet system.

Let us return to the Re-Listening project, where I am writing about all of my old CDs, which I am listening to in my car, in the order of their acquisition. This is just a nice pad, a good excuse to listen to some music, and a trip down memory lane.

And we are still a few decades in the past. (Which is funny because I have new music burning a metaphorical hole in my pocket that I’d really like to get to while I still, loosely, remember their order.

Anyway, the next disc up was something a friend and co-worker burned for me. It was 2004, and I was at and it was late in the year, so I was no longer new there. My buddy made this mix of remixes. It was primarily Beatles, which we had debated at length, mixed with the Beastie Boys, who I never really appreciated. It’s possible he might have been trolling me, come to think of it. But at the end of the disc, he included this track, which still holds up incredibly, incredibly well.

The rest of the remixes weren’t really my thing, but as I was listening to this on a recent night I was struck by the production values. The quality of the mixes was phenomenal, even for the early oughts.

That guy, and his wife, are still dear friends. Tonight, on Facebook, I saw photos of their son graduating high school. I held that boy in my arms when he was a newborn, and now he has a high school diploma.

And now I have to find a way to send those songs back to him. A project for next week.

But, since that mix disc doesn’t really count, we move on. I bought this next disc on January 6, 2005. It had a bonus CD. It didn’t change everything, they’d already changed everything. But, for $8.48 it proved a point I’d already realized about the importance of The Jayhawks.

“Rainy Day Music” was their seventh studio album. It debuted at number 51 on the Billboard 200 in April of 2003. They moved 19,000 copies that week. It was critically well received. Here’s a Wiki summary

Rainy Day Music received generally positive reviews from critics. Dirty Linen described the album as “a low-key effort that features delicate harmonies, recalling California relatives such as Poco and the post-Gram Parsons Burrito Brothers”. Uncut called the album “all acoustic guitars, rich jangling melodies and heavenly harmonies” and wrote that Gary Louris “has come up with some of his most memorable compositions.” Will Hermes of Entertainment Weekly described it as “folk-rock laced with banjos, accordions, and pedal steel” and “the roots move one suspects fans have wanted for years, its classic rock flavor echoing the Byrds, CSNY, and Poco”. Mojo wrote that “their new-found economy makes for some pretty lovely highpoints” and that “Louris is unquestionably a virtuoso, playing his parts with a decorous restraint, and contributing cooing, affectingly human vocals.”

… but no one raved about it enough, for it is a nearly perfect record, even two decades later.

This was the first track, where Gary Louris and Tim O’Reagan put these beautiful, delicate little harmonies together that so typify the sound.

The (almost) title track, which comes along as the fourth track, where, even if you were new to this, you knew you had some stripped down jangly pop genius and singalongs on your hands.

This is the song that The Yankee and I sing together. She, who often mishears lyrics and sings her own, sometimes even more compelling renditions, has a nice spin on this one. For her, it becomes a song about pancakes.

I think it was a deliberate mis-hearing in this case, but we’ve done it this way for 18 or 19 years now, and I don’t want to ask.

The Jayhawks, incidentally, were the first band we went to see together. Mark Olson was back with the band for a time, and so we drove over to Atlanta to watch them in March 2005. This CD was probably the first deep batch of their songs she’d heard.

It was a solid show.

There are 13 songs on the CD, and 10 of them are stand-outs, but this has to be my favorite. Between the bus driver smiling with every passing mile, and the song’s bridge. It’s hard, I think, to feel the same visceral way about a song, after hearing it hundreds and hundreds of times over the years, but not so difficult with this song.

The bonus CD included six additional tracks. Two demos, two alternate versions of songs found here, and a classic live track and between them, I’ve gotten my $8.48 worth and then some.

One of the alternates was an acoustic version of “Tampa to Tulsa.” Yeah.

Rainy day, sunny day, every day in between. This is the record for it.

Put another way, I bought this on Amazon in 2005, which is how I could recall the date and the price. And, of course, there’s a button there, just in case I would like to purchase it again. And I thought, Yeah, OK, until I realized the CD is right next to my elbow right now.

The Jayhawks are on tour — their in Spain right now — and will soon return to the U.S., to visit the Midwest and west coast. Maybe they’ll add some fall dates a little closer to me. I’d definitely go.

And, with that, we are now only five records behind in the Re-Listening project. So we’re right on time.

May 24

A double miss!

Completely whiffed on the Wednesday feature yesterday. Whoops. This just a day after I skipped a planned Tuesday feature. It seems that, in my haste to be hasty, I’ve been too hasty. That’s the problem with speeding up, or taking one’s time, or both. Anyway, apologies for missing out on the markers. I’ll return to them next Wednesday. We’ll talk music below. But first … today was a peaceful, relaxing, “What was I supposed to be doing again? Oh, that’s right, nothing.” sort of day.

And then, breaking news via email. Isn’t that something? Wasn’t that something?

Usually, I know about the story before the emails come out. Social media, despite it’s many frustrations, is a swift informer. But I hadn’t been on any of the apps in a bit, and then the New York Times wrote.

My lovely bride was swimming laps at the time. When she was finished I told her the news, and we set about wondering what the comedians and the satirists would say.

I also looked back at what I was doing on this day a year ago. We were in Alabama, and it seems I was looking at the ol’ family tree.

Five years ago, I said one of those bike things that sounds like something profound in a waxy wrapper of nothing. Still seems true, though.

Ten years ago, we were in Alaska.

There’s no way in the world that was a decade ago.

Fifteen years ago, we were in Savannah, and Tybee Island.

Twenty years ago, I stopped by the local civic center, on a whim, which was hosting a model train convention.

Now, I’m no train enthusiast, but there are granddads and dads and children all being kids together, so why not?

I walk in and meet some nice people; one man telling me of some very historic parts of his collection — he’d accidentally been given the paperwork that documents J.P. Morgan’s purchase of an entire railroad; three men talking at length about how best to paint a cliff face and so on. But the best part was stumbling onto a booth with college merchandise.

I found this tapestry that I love. I got it for a song.

Now I just need to figure out how to display it, without it being used for cover.

Funny the things you do, and don’t remember.

We return to the Re-Listening project, which is where I pad the page out with music. I’m doing this because I am currently re-listening to all of my old CDs, in the order of their acquisition, in the car. It’s a wonderful trip down memory lane and I’m dragging you along, because the music is good.

Today we’ll do a double entry, since it is back-to-back of the same act. I picked these up in 2004, but the albums are older than that. If we’re going back to my first listen in 2004, we have to hop in the time machine and go back another decade to when Barenaked Ladies released “Maybe You Should Drive.” It was their second studio album, and went double platinum at home in Canada, where it peaked at number three. It was the band’s first visit to the US charts, sneaking in at 175 on the Billboard 200.

The first of two singles, “Jane” was an instant catalog classic for Steven Page.

There’s a lot of great work from Page on this record. Here’s one more fan-favorite, the second single, which just feels like a deep cut at this point.

I picked up this CD after a handful of the later BNL records, and several shows. So many of the songs I knew. (Three of these tracks are on Rock Spectacle, which was my first BNL purchase.) And so I don’t know when I first heard this song from Ed Robertson, but it’s one of those beautiful works that I’d like to be able to hear again for the first time.

The day I bought “Maybe You Should Drive” I also picked up “Born On A Pirate Ship,” and I wish I remember, now, where I got them. But because I got them together, these CDs have always belonged together. The former came out in 1994, the latter was the followup, released in 1996. It was another hit in Canada, peaking at number 12, and captured more American ears. “The Old Apartment” was a breakthrough single and video, and Pirate Ship went to 111 in the American Billboard chart. It was certified gold four years later. Andy Creegan had left the band, Kevin Hearn came in soon after, but this is a four-piece record.

It is peak 1990s Canada pop.

I still think this is a song about a dog, Catholicism and a bunch of other random things. It’s inscrutable.

People that just knew BNL from airplay — well the Americans anyway — will recall this as their first song.

It used to be that “When I Fall” seemed like it had to be a full, live show performance. But then Robertson played it in one of the Bathroom Sessions, and you heard it in a different way entirely.

Page will occasionally remind you he’s working on a different level. This is one of those times. Seeing it live is the preferable way* to take in this song, so go back with me to a time when it’s amazing we had washed-out-color video and you can’t explain the tracking squiggles to the children of the future. But don’t fixate on that, follow the performance.

That song … Steven Page … it just feels like it should be a misdemeanor to not know anything more than their later pop hits.

*I think karaoke would be another ideal way to hear “Break Your Heart,” but that’s just me.

One of two Jim Creeggan songs on Pirate Ship, this one sneaks up on you every time, which isn’t creepy at all. And for four minutes it just gets better and better and better, and bigger and bigger, even when it lulls, which is a lot of fun.

And here’s Creegan’s other track, which refuses to fit in any pop music mold.

BNL is touring the US this summer, though we won’t be able to see them. We did catch them last year though, which was the third time we’d seen them in two or three years. Everyone wishes Steven Page was still in the band, most everyone has wished that for 15 years, but aside from the 2018 Juno Awards celebration of the Canadian Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction, that may never happen. (Though they haven’t definitively ruled it out, and that’s what hope is aboot.) The band stills put on energetic rock ‘n’ roll shows. They’re very much worth seeing.

May 24

Still a new sensation

I had a nice chat this morning with a lady from the next town over. She told me about an ice cream place she takes her children near me. I told her of an ice cream place nearer to her. On Saturday a man came by to upgrade our modem. He was a local fellow, too. He told me all about the little towns around us where he grew up. How they’ve changed, what they offer, the people that call them home.

I mention this because, even though they have little in common and there’s no through-line between the two experiences, it can be delightful meeting people who are proud of where they’re from.

It’s another day to marvel at how well the plants flourish. On the southern side of the house, sheltered from the morning sun, but thrive in the western sun. I caught this in the early afternoon. Sometimes the flowers outside can distract you from the task of making lunch inside.

This evening we were out in the yard, admiring our recent landscaping and lawn maintenance, and I noticed the moon was on it’s way up in the east. For some reason, my lovely bride didn’t think I could take a photo of it. I said I could, if she did a handstand.

And so the neighborhood watch may now revise down their estimation of our age. A plus! Also, I got the moon in my photo. Count your wins, all of ’em, big and small.

Let us return to the Re-Listening project, because I am several records behind. That has been the status quo of this project for almost a full year now, so there’s no need to jump up and down. We’ll catch up eventually. (My CD collection is, after all, finite.) The Re-Listening project, if you’ve not noticed it’s occasional appearance here, is the one where I listen to all of my old CDs in the car, in the order in which I acquired them. (More or less.) There’s a small period where those details are hazy, and it doesn’t really matter. This whole exercise is simply an excuse to listen to some music and, when I get around to writing about it here, share some music, fill some space, and maybe bring to the fore some old memory that is tied to a song, an album, a performer or an experience.

Let’s see which one we get to in this installment!

In 1987 Australia’s INXS followed up on their American breakthrough, taking the world by storm on their sixth studio album. “Kick” was certified six-times platinum, peaking at number three on the Billboard 200. The band wanted every song to potentially be a single, and if you listen to the whole thing through your late 1980s prism, they got pretty close. There were four top 10 singles, including a number one, and they’ve all become new wave, pop rock classics.

I picked this up in 2004 or thereabouts, and the circumstances behind that are forgotten and it was probably altogether unremarkable. But I never had it, I needed it, and that’s enough.

“New Sensation” was the third single, released in March 1988, and I was still trying to do the coolest things with this song at my campus station in the 1990s and in commercial radio just after the turn of the century.

It’s a good song with which to really test the limits of legal IDs is all.

Perhaps it was that first single, September 1987, that introduced me to INXS. (It was just a question of timing, but I came to 1985’s “What You Need” later.) MTV was, by then, a fixture, and this was in heavy rotation. Wikipedia tells me that Andrew Farriss was inspired by the guitar lick while waiting for a cab. He went inside to record it, and 45 minutes later, returned to find a furious cab driver. I wonder if anyone every followed up with that guy. Michael Hutchence heard the cab demo and pulled most of the lyrics together in just a few minutes.

There are a lot of successful songs that have this supposed sort of origin story. I wonder if, when that happens, the people pulling it together know they are really onto something.

Also, there are a number of them that could be considered quintessential 1980s music videos, that one is on this list. Everything about it is weird and odd and right.

And then they tacked on “Mediate,” because when they played that demo in the studio, the engineer stumbled into a happy accident that the two worked so perfectly he thought something was wrong.

Art is sometimes serendipitous.

Art sometimes copies others. If the “Mediate” video seems familiar, Bob Dylan would like you to know he did it first, 23 years earlier.

And, I just learned that in 2003, almost 40 years after Dylan defined it and some 15 years after INXS perfected it, Weird Al Yankovich spoofed it.

Back to “Kick,” they wound up releasing something like seven singles off of the 12-track effort. It got so out of hand that “Mystify” had a comparatively quiet peak at number 17 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.

On any other record “Calling All Nations” would have been a new wave hit. “Tiny Daggers,” from several decades away feels like a teen movie soundtrack stalwart, or an obvious 1980s hit.

The band continued on after Hutchence’s death in 1997. They continued on until 2012. But they’re still putting out material of a sort. Just last month they released a behind the scenes feature on “Never Tear Us Apart.”

The whole thing is Prague, just before the Velvet Revolution.

Modern listeners, in the “first time” genre, agree.

And this one is hysterical. I’ve queued it to the moment where she is feeling some feelings.

It’s a remarkable record, really. They sold almost 10 million units internationally in those first two years when “Kick” was everywhere. By the time they re-released it in 2012 to celebrate 25 years, they’d move something like 20 million units. Because you can’t cash in enough, Universal Music re-re-mastered it and re-released it in time for the 30th anniversary, in 2017, in a package with 3CD+Blu-rays and 2LP vinyls, and digital media. (What, no cassettes?)

Next time we do the Re-Listening project, we’ll move from Australia to Canada. I wonder who that could be, eh?

May 24

First you make it, then bake it, then you eat it, and do it again

I decided to go for a run today. It was, I figured, too gray and chilled and wet to ride my bike for the first time in forever. So I may as well try my first run in forever.

Just at the bottom of the driveway I received a text from my lovely bride. She was trying to figure out dinner, and did I have any ideas. I thought and I thought, standing there by the road feeling quite silly about the whole thing, and then said, “What about a ziti? And then we can have several dinners planned out.”

We run a menu calendar for dinners at home, and that’s my job. Every so often, I take all of our regular meals, there are about 90 of them, put them in a randomized order and then load them to the calendar. I might be behind on it just now. That would mean we have to make up ideas, and that means I get that question a lot, and I don’t always have great answers. But ziti, I figured, gives us leftovers, and that means I won’t get that question tomorrow.

You’re playing checkers, I’m playing Parisses squares.

That answer was agreeable, so I set off on my run. Four-tenths of a mile later, I got another text. Could I check on the supply of ricotta at home, and also the sauce. So I turned around and ran back. No ricotta, no sauce. And then I set off on my run again.

I was sure to run extra fast, so that I could get in the run, such as it was, before any more requests came in.

It was a short run, I still beat her home.

The rose bushes, we have about nine of them, are all flourishing. Well, eight of them. One is potted, and I have given up on that quitter. But just look at these others.

And they smell soft and delightful, like a nice tea bathed in an old perfume. Whatever that means.

It’s funny, all of these just stayed outside, in the ground, all winter and we did nothing at all to them and now they’re in full bloom. The potted one I brought inside, put under a grow light and watered and misted all winter. It’s barely hanging on.

Maybe it’s the soil, or the pot, or me.

Let’s now return to the Re-Listening project. This has become an irregular feature, which explains why I am behind just now. The Re-Listening project, though, takes place in the car. I am playing all of my old CDs, in the order that I acquired them. I am writing about them here, sporadically, to add a little content. Also, we can play some music. And, sometimes, there are some memories. These aren’t reviews, because none of us care about that, but it might otherwise be fun.

And so we go back to 2004, so that we can revisit 2003’s “Some Devil” by Dave Matthews. I think I got this from a library sale, or someone burned it for me. It was a solo release, and the tone is a bit different than DMB’s signature style. I don’t remember this, but Wikipedia tells me fans were skeptical of the solo release, but it nevertheless debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts. It took Outkast’s diamond-certified Speakerboxxx/The Love Below to keep it from the top spot.

“Gravedigger” hit 35 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 and on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It won a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. Not bad for an almost “Eleanor Rigby” story. The album went platinum. It is, to me, a mostly forgettable record? Which is to say I never really attached any meaning to it.

I like this one.

And here’s the title track, which does indeed sound different from what you’d expect of 1990s DMB.

The incomparable Tim Reynolds and Trey Anastasio, and a host of other talented people are on the album. And the whole thing is just the sort of thing I can put on and ignore. There’s nothing wrong with that. It seems like I’m always on the search for just that sort of thing. But I’m mystified as to why this never made a bigger impression on me — and why it still doesn’t. That probably says more about me than the ones and zeros encoded on the disc.

Also, as of this writing, it is the last Dave Matthews CD I ever picked up. I guess I just had enough of the catalog to serve my needs.

Dave Matthews Band, of course, is touring this summer. I saw them a few times before concerts got outrageously priced. It was them, I am convinced, that started that trend. It looks like you’d pay $200 a pop for balcony seats at one of their shows near us this summer. That’s become my biggest Dave memory, sadly.

Anyway, time for dinner. The first ziti of the week.

(Ha! She made two casserole dishes. We might not have to decide dinner until Saturday!)