Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ryan Adams | 10 Songs, 10 Stories

Photo by Jason Gonulsen

The photo above was taken in 2002 at the inaugural Austin City Limits Music Festival. Looking back, it's probably the photo the sparked my interest in photography, because it captures a memory for me; it tells a story.

Ryan Adams, who will be in St. Louis tonight at The Peabody Opera House (purchase tickets here), is a master storyteller, one that has left a huge mark on my life with his words.

I hope you enjoy these stories/songs. You can listen to each song individually, or subscribe to the playlist on Spotify here.

Hope to see you tonight!


Now I got a bone to pick with you
and I'm sure you know it's true

In December of 2001, I drove to Columbia, Missouri with my friend, Anthony, to see Ryan Adams for the first time. He was playing a free show at The Blue Note, which turned out to be something like a three-hour show. We got to the venue around 3 PM and started the line to get in the doors (yes, this was back in those days). I remember on the way over, we blasted "To Be Young" over and over again. We would return to St. Louis at something like 4 AM the next morning. Oh, to be young.


I can still hear you laughing
Coming up the rickety stairs
Laughing as the spring time
Filled your lungs with air

Many songs that I love have great imagery, and "Sink Ships" is no exception. The first house I owned had these rickety stairs leading down to a damp, dark basement. Stairs that had no business standing. I wonder if they still are.


Can you recommend an education or drugs
Because I am bored with you already

On a lonely drive to my hometown of Springfield, Illinois in the fall of 2010, I blasted this song the entire drive there. I know all the words now because of this, and I remember screaming, "But I'll disappear just like magic!!!" with the windows rolled down, cornfields flying by, my life a complete mess. What would we do without music?


Days come and gone
and it's been said and been done
I will shelter you with my love
and my forgiveness

I can't listen to this song anymore because it means too much to me. And if you love music like I do, maybe that will make sense to you. Do you believe in love?


And I hold you close in the back of my mind
Feels so good but damn it makes me hurt

My sister and I drove to Indianapolis for Farm Aid in September of 2001, and I received Gold in the mail the day prior. Of course, we played the hell out of this album on our trip, and our immediate favorites were "Firecracker," "New York, New York," and this song, which, as you probably agree, is devastatingly gorgeous. "Oh the night here it comes again..."


And when you're good to me
It makes me blue
Because someday it's gonna end

I once had a bootleg of this song (which was once called "For Beth"), and during a trip to San Diego in the spring of 2002, I would listen to it via my Sony Discman (!), strolling along a beach, watching the waves. It would later be called "Friends" and appear on Cold Roses.


Just three words my love
You meant everything

I remember painting the walls of my last house with my ex-girlfriend, and we loved to listen to this one. I think it's because it's easy to sing to, and we loved to sing together. I remember her asking, "what's he saying there?" And I said, "I was just about to tell you, but okay, alright." Ha.


Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

I love solo road trips, and I always think about my drive to Bonnaroo in the summer of 2010. I was going through so many changes, so I figured it would be good to do something that allowed me to be free for a few days. And when I reached the Cumberland River, I blasted this one. "Let it ride easy down the road..."


True love ain't that hard to find
Not that either one of us will ever know

When I couldn't sleep for a few months in late 2012, I used to listen to this song in the wee hours, lying on the hardwood floor. I love lying on the floor while music is playing. Especially at 3 AM.


You know you could
I wish you would

Two things: A) Because my friend, Matt, and I witnessed this (NOT TOO GOOD, NOT TOO GOOD!!) and B) Because Peri and Mitch made me that mix tape in 2001, and this led off Side B. "So when you're walking downtown, do you wish I was there, do you wish it was me?"

Ryan Adams at the Peabody Opera House // TONIGHT, Sunday, October 19th, w/ Butch Walker // 8 PM // Tickets available here

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jam of the Day | Springtime Carnivore - Name On A Matchbook

Photo by Eddie O'Keefe

I think that my history of Jams of the Day (Jam of the Days?) make it clear that I love just about every era of music, and I love every piece of retro throwback sounds-like-50s-pop-or-70s-funk-or-80s-electronic-dance-music anybody wants to write me. So of course I love "Name On A Matchbook", the first single from Springtime Carnivore (the name that Greta Morgan, late of Chicago's the Hush Sound, is performing under these days), because it's perfect 70's singer / songwriter female lead vocals pop music. It's got Morgan's striking voice, a haze of keyboards over them so that the lyrics feel almost distant, a catchy chorus and a slightly chilling whistled melody line because the choruses.

It's retro and modern and seriously, people, just keep making me 70s pop records: I think they are fabulous. This early glimpse into Springtime Carnivore's upcoming self-titled debut (on Autumn Tone Records, out 11/4, is warm and fuzzed out and kind of creepy, which I think we have also established that I am super into for this fall weather that's finally happening in the NC. It's the perfect sonic match for the way October and November are kind of colored all yellow and orange around the edges, in a burned-out sort of way.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Festival Review | The Top 10 Moments of the 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival (2nd Weekend)

All photos by Jason Gonulsen
Austin City Limits Music Festival: once again, you were amazing. We'll be back in 2015.

But until then, we'll be thinking of our 10 favorite moments of 2014.

Just. Wow.

Thank you.

Let's countdown, shall we?

10. Benjamin Booker during "Always Waiting."
There is considerable talent here, even if it's still unpolished. Which might be the point: Benjamin Booker is as raw as they come.

9. St. Vincent during "Cruel."
I can still see Annie Clark's eyes, and they're hypnotic, looking through me. How unusual and weird she is wired, but it feels genuine -- from her robotic motions during "Cruel," to her demanding that a camera to be passed up to her from the photo pit, to her climbing the stage's scaffolding later in her set.

8. The Preatures during "Somebody's Talking."
I debated on attending this set, although now I'm not sure why. The Preatures, from Australia, exude confidence and rock n' roll, and they'll surely be on a bigger stage soon.

7. Real Estate during "April's Song."
The only other time an instrumental was this awesome at a festival was during Explosions in the Sky at Bonnaroo. Bold choice to rock this one at ACL, but it worked.

6. Johnnyswim during "Falling For Me."
They opened with it, and immediately I heard from the crowd, "How are you not headlining?" What a beautiful moment from Amanda Sudano and Abner Ramirez.

5. Jenny Lewis during "Acid Tongue" and "She's Not Me."
I've seen Jenny Lewis three times in 2014, and her set at ACL was the best. Before the acoustic "Acid Tongue," she remarked how they were going to have to compete with the EDM set going on nearby. She pulled it off, straight into a stunning and rocking "She's Not Me."

4. Lorde during "Tennis Court."
Lorde is an absolutely stunning performer. Perhaps she always wasn't this way, because she stood too much. This doesn't happen now -- her body is in constant motion, her face often covered by her hair flying in every direction.

3. The Replacements during "I'm In Trouble."
For this song, Paul Westerberg retreated to a hammock where he admitted that this was probably "the most difficult song to play in a hammock." But he did it anyway.

2. Jimmy Cliff during "Wild World."
What an amazing set by one of the all-time greats. You couldn't help but smile when he said that it didn't feel like work to him; it felt like fun. What a spirit, what a smile. I'll never forget Jimmy Cliff or his cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World."

1. Pearl Jam during "Baba O'Riley" >> "Yellow Ledbetter" >> "Star Spangled Banner"
It was mostly a "greatest hits" set list, but there was heart on display, and that's all you need to close out a festival like ACL. Eddie Vedder mentioned that they had to be mindful of the curfew, but a few minutes before it, they launched into the Who's "Baba O'Riley," which led into a loud sing-a-long of "Yellow Ledbetter," which extended into a Mike McCready rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." What curfew again?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Austin City Limits Music Festival Day Three in Photos: Pearl Jam, Lorde, The Replacements, Jenny Lewis, Johnnyswim, Cults, and more

All photos by Jason Gonulsen

ACL 2014 closed with Pearl Jam and their singalong, "Yellow Ledbetter, which led into guitarist Mike McCready  owning the "Star Spangled Banner." Day three photos by Jason Gonulsen are below.