It Makes a Difference.

Leah | Day #020

Originally uploaded by Geof F. Morris

First, let me provide you a musical setting, friends. This track runs about ten minutes, which is far more time than it will take you to read these meager words, but maybe you’ll get to thinking during the guitar solo. [audio:]

Cindy was 34.

Barry was 29.

Leah was 28.

All of them left us far, far too soon. All of them left us in much the same way—their brains conspiring with their bodies to take them from us long before any of us were ready to see them go. Cindy was my sister-in-law; Noah’s Barry would have been a good friend, I’m sure, had I ever had the chance to make his acquaintance. Leah was an acquaintance, and her husband Jamie is definitely a friend. All three of these men now share the same grief—a lifetime that was to be lived together now suddenly lived apart.

If you aren’t familiar with Over the Rhine, well, I’m sorry for you. The music that should be playing through your computer is, I think, wholly apt for this setting. The lyrics are reprinted, below, in their entirety, with my emphasis:

it makes a difference
when you walk through a room
with that worrisome smile
road weary perfume

but this isn’t the place
and it isn’t the time
for this beautiful delusion
that is robbing me blind

I want to know
I want to know
will it make a difference
when I go

it makes a difference
that I’m feeling this way
with plenty to think about
and so little to say

except for this confession
that is poised on my lips
I’m not letting go of God
I’m just losing my grip

I want to know
I want to know
will it keep you guessing
when I go

what is a love
if the love’s not my own
this is not my home
this is lonely
but never alone

I just want to hold you
in my gaze for awhile
so I can remember
every line around your smile

then I want to know
I want to know
will it make a difference
when I go

For those left behind, picking up the pieces, let me answer the question: YES.

Geof’s New Music: 28 Sep – 4 Oct 2008

Well, uh, you see … it’s been kinda crazy for me the last couple weeks, so I just … didn’t get to the music. But now I have … 🙂

The last week of music was above average:

Geof’s New Music: 14-20 Sep 2008

I’ve worked through a lot of the music backlog, so I’m gonna drop back to two-and-five this week…

Last week:

Geof’s New Music: 7-13 Sep 2008

The studio recordings are a smorgasboard, but the bootlegs are a salute to the Bay State. [Bleu is from Boston.]

Last week was uneven, but the good stuff was very good:

  • Sandra McCracken’s Red Balloon. Predictably, I love it. There are a couple moments on the record that I don’t get, but all in all, I think this lives up to the hype that Derek has been giving it. Four stars.
  • Nirvana’s In Utero. Sadly, it doesn’t have the punch that Nevermind did, probably understandable as a sophomore major-label release. That, plus a dalliance into noise rock that I didn’t enjoy, got it two-and-a-half stars from me. The goods are great! The bads are … meh.
  • Jackopierce’s Promise of Summer. Quite, quite enjoyable. A four-star record for me, and I’ll be getting more JP records from the back catalog. [See? Giving stuff away for free works.]
  • 3 Feb 2006 [Las Vegas, NV, USA] concert bootleg of Coldplay. So meh. A distant recording from the audience, and … eh. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 26 Oct 2007 [New York, NY, USA] concert bootleg of Over the Rhine. Fan-fucking-tastic. Four-and-a-half stars. If you love OtR, get it. Go. Now. You. NOW.
  • 17 Jul 2008 [London, England] concert bootleg of Death Cab for Cutie. Also kinda distant, but with a better base to start with. Three stars.
  • 26 Jul 2008 [Anchorage, AK, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. No, I didn’t pick this in honor of Sarah Palin. 😉 This is the band whose debut release was titled A.M.; sadly, it sounds like it was recorded from an AM broadcast: over-compressed, tinny, and muddled. An example: when the band does their Wall of Noise trick in the opening cut, “Via Chicago”, everything is … the same sound level. Jeff is clearly heard. This … just isn’t the way it ought to be at all. Having looked at the mic used in the recording, I’m guessing that this is the sound guy’s fault, or perhaps just crappy mains. But, you know, if I lived in Anchorage, I really wouldn’t give a shit, because Wilco rocks. The good thing is that we get two new songs out of it, and new songs? Always good. The rating is two stars.

Geof’s New Music: 31 Aug – 6 Sep 2008

Just one shopping month left until my birthday! 😉 Y’all know I love music, to the point that I have a separate Amazon wishlist for music only. Ahem.

Last week:

And again … here’s that JP EP:

Geof’s New Music: 24-30 Aug 2008

Last week was very good to my ears:

Geof’s New Music: 17-23 Aug 2008

Last week:

  • R.E.M.’s Murmur. Admittedly, I haven’t given this enough of a listen [just getting to it on Saturday], but I’m just not feeling it yet. I’ll keep trying, but right now, it’s just a three-star record on my radar.
  • George Strait’s Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind. I don’t like a whole lot of country music, but there’s just … something about George Strait’s voice. I figure between George and Lyle Lovett, I can get all the country I ever need in my life. [And I still blame my junior-year-at-MSMS roommate, Thomas, for listening to country music in the first place. I had two choices: listen to country or kill him. I chose the former. But working in country radio right out of high school pretty well fixed me on listening to too much country.] So yeah, I’m going through Strait’s catalog some. Three stars, if you like country.
  • The Cardigans’ Emmerdale. For a band with this much rock and roll chops—Peter Svensson and Magnus Sveningsson had been in heavy metal bands prior to The Cardigans—it’s weird to hear a pop record from them, but it’s still solid, because Nina Persson’s voice is stellar. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 25 Apr 2008 [Dayton, OH, USA] concert bootleg of Over the Rhine. The mix is just off, but I’m afraid that there’s not much to be done about it by the taper, given that it seems like everything was done that was possible with the AUD part of the mix. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • 28 Apr 2008 [Los Angeles, CA, USA] concert bootleg of She & Him. Persic is one of the best tapers I know, so I lay all the fault here on the vocalists—not only Zooey [who just needs to get more stage presence, which should shock no one who’s read about her on the Internet at this point], but whoever was doing the bgv’s, too. But the musicianship of the band is great … three-and-a-half stars.
  • 16 May 2008 [St. Louis, MO, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. The musicianship is great. The recording is solid. It just … doesn’t really feel like I’m there, which is pretty much my standard for bootleg recordings. I guess I’m faulting Steve’s mix here, which rightly focuses on the music, but feels like it weighs a bit too heavy on the SBD patch. I’m not saying that it’s not good; I’m just saying that I guess I think it could be better. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • 25 Jul 2008 [Santa Monica, CA, USA] concert bootleg of Gnarls Barkley. It’s obvious that they still haven’t gotten comfortable with being interviewed, but man … a fun listen nonetheless. Four stars.

Geof’s New Music: 10-16 Aug 2008

This week is a mix of old and new: old studio releases [all at least a decade old], and new bootlegs [all from 2008].

Last week:

Geof’s New Music: 27 Jul – 2 Aug 2008

Hallelujah and praise the Lord! I’m on vacation!

Last week was pretty disappointing.:

  • Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. Okay, so the Led Zeppelin that I love is the rockin’, bluesy stuff. And to quote Wikipedia on Houses of the Holy, “This album was a stylistic turning point in the lifespan of Led Zeppelin.” And, well, on “The Song Remains the Same”, I was confused for a minute, thinking that maybe Geddy Lee had replaced Robert Plant or something. [I’m sure that several people broke things after reading that sentence.] Admittedly, it gets back to sounding a little more like Led Zeppelin as the album progresses, and I am the person that did say, just two weeks ago, “I’m a firm believer that bands have to experiment lest they [and/or their fans] become totally bored with the thing.” But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. So, yes, I should rate this now, right? Three stars, mainly on the strength of “Dancing Days” and “D’yer Mak’er”.
  • The Cardigans’ Super Extra Gravity. The phrase that I was going to use for this album was “solid, but boring” until I got to “I Need Some Fine Wine and You, You Need to Be Nicer”. I have a lot of friends who are excellent singer/songwriters, so I say this with a bit of trepidation, but … man, The Cardigans rock way too damn much to try to do the singer/songwriter+backing band thing. Sadly, that and a fusion of quasi-country stuff [although it felt like Nina Persson was channeling Sixpence’s Leigh Nash for the first few tracks] made for a boring start. But it picks up in the second half of the record, which is good. Three-and-a-half stars.
  • Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. Egad. Jacob said this about Coldplay on a forum I run: “The best way I can put it is that I like simpler Coldplay. It just feels like they’re trying to be something that they’re not right now. The indie-rock/prog-rock (good call Adriene) feel just doesn’t fit what Coldplay was. Sure that sounds like the old fan wishing their band hadn’t grown up and changed their sound…I’ll cop to that. But some of their earlier songs made me want to cry. Now their new stuff does that but for different reasons.” I can’t say it any frickin’ better. One-and-a-half stars, and if any of my friends wants it, I’ll give it to them. I don’t want it back. One-and-a-half stars. I haven’t bought an album that I’ve actively hated in quite some time, but … this is it. Gah.
  • 25 Oct 1997 [Utica, NY, USA] concert bootleg of Blues Traveler. I’m surprised that a SBD sounds this poorly-mixed, but then I probably shouldn’t be. Sound board operators don’t have time to give tapers jacking into their boards the time to give perfectly-mixed feeds. The mix is very definitely pushed towards the treble and towards John’s voice standing out above all others. For people that crap on me wanting to do SBD/AUD matrices, well, suck on this. Two stars. [Sad, because Bob Sheehan was really on this night. And before Chris Smith says crap to me … suck on it, LC.]
  • 1 Sep 2007 [Denver, CO, USA] concert bootleg of Wilco. Gah. Another week of getting burnt by a stealth rig. Venues that don’t allow tapers suck. This sounds pretty good despite being stealthily done. Two-and-a-half stars.
  • 26 Apr 2008 [Dayton, OH, USA] concert bootleg of Over the Rhine. It’s a rare case when I’m disappointed by a matrix [well, other than my own, heh], but I am by this one. Karin’s vocals are too hot in the mix, but I fear that’s probably a fault of the sound board op [which shocks me, because this typically isn’t the case with CST shows] than the taper. [After all, if she’s too hot in the SBD feed, she’s probably too hot in the mains, and you can’t compensate with the AUD part of the feed to get more of the band.] I mean, it’s still a decent recording, but I only give it three stars. I expected four-plus.
  • 27 May 2008 [Milan, Italy] concert bootleg of Feist. Feist bootlegs are hard to come by, so I was willing to chance it on a recording made by a Zoom H2‘s internal mics. [Hey, I own and use a Tascam DR-1, so I’m understanding. It’s just that internal mics aren’t going to get a big band’s sound, especially not in a room like that.] So it’s not terribly surprising that the recording is muddy and distant, but hey, it’s free, right? Two-and-a-half stars.

Geof’s New Music: 20-26 Jul 2008

I’m swimming in new studio releases, so I’m going from two studio / five bootlegs to three studio / four bootlegs for the forseeable future …

Last week: