This week I have a few really great diversions to report, along with at least one clunker. These days there are simply so many choices when it comes to beautiful wastes of time, and so few hours we allow ourselves to veg out in front of a tube, a set of speakers or a book, I feel compelled to share my humble opinion on some of the things that rub me the right way – or the wrong way. Let me know if you agree or not.
My current favorite new release is Platinum from Miranda Lambert, but honestly, I have been living more in the past as the tunes waft through the air around my work desk. One album I rediscovered is Late December by Maria McKee. The former lead singer of Lone Justice has a great voice that can go from flat out country to melodic rock to folk, to blues, to musical theater all at the drop of a hat. Late December is filled with highly melodic, upbeat tunes and Maria shines like a new penny.
I was truly sad when Johnny Winter passed recently, and yesterday I decided to play the three JW albums that changed my world, back to back. All three came out in 1973-74, starting with Still Alive and Well, followed by Saints & Sinners and then John Dawson Winter III. All three are balls to the wall rock albums from a man who would soon forsake rock to become a total blues purist. I loved Winter’s blues, but these three rockin' records hit right during the period of my “musical awakening,” and became three all time faavorites. Honestly, the music between ’71 and ’75 still remains my very favorite.
Amazon Home Video Rental: UNDER THE SKIN is the biggest disappointment I have seen on film in many years. I dearly love Scarlett Johansen, but her role in this arty film is a bore. There's scarcely any dialog and the imagery is clearly catered to the acid-dropping crowd. I watched the whole thing closely and still have no idea what happened, other than she picks men up and they are never heard from again.
Murder? Yes, but…. Actually the shots make it seem they are stretching and imploding, melting and being pulled apart. You tell me. An absolute waste of time. (Although it was kind of nice to briefly see some scenery in Scotland.) This is the type of "art film" that leaves me feeling empty. Like there's something wrong with me because I don't get it. But what is there to get?? Just awful.
Netflix: Finished up season two of House of Cards. Wow. Kevin Spacey gives whole new meaning to the words corrupt politician. And folks, don’t judge. Not every character from Gaffney, SC is as evil as Frank Underwood.
I started all over watching The X-Files again, from the beginning, spurred by the absolutely cool and free podcast “The X-Files Files” by actor/comedian Kumail Nanjiani on iTunes. Kumail has guests in the studio and they discuss two episodes per week. Get your inner nerd on. The truth is STILL out there!
Other shows I DVR and watch whenever I get a skinny minute: Under The Dome; The Bridge; The Strain; Night Shift.
If you haven’t read any Larry Brown, I highly recommend you give him a shot. The late author was from Oxford, Mississippi, where he was a fireman. His writing is as southern as Flannery O’Conner. Just great. I just finished Dirty Work and Facing the Music, and am reading Father and Son. My first introduction to Brown was Joe, a novel that remains on my Top Ten of All Time List.
I went back and re-read Galadrielle Allman’s extremely well written Please Be With Me: A Love Song to My Father. A whole new insight into the legendary Duane Allman. A real, honest to God love story.
That’s it for now. Time to create some reading matter of my own.