Sep 25 2005
– Roger Miller
Half drunk, with another half to go
– Chuckanut Drive
Is there anything better than cold pasta consumed as a midnight snack after a night out with your friends? I think not. Tonight was Chuckanut Drive and Richmond Fontaine at the Sunset Tavern. Alt-country goodness, plus I was startled when I realized I knew maybe a third of the people by face or by name… not a difficult feat in a small venue with a band that I’ve followed, I realize, but still startling. It will be strange to leave Seattle; the place has grown on me. Now that I’ve finally gotten to the point of knowing what to do on a Saturday night, I’m leaving.
It was also part of the tenth anniversary party for No Depression magazine, which while I’ve never subscribed, has nonetheless I suppose formed part of my musical taste and background. Back in Arkansas, I was fairly good friends with a loose group of (what would become known as) alt-country musicians, and so was familiar with the vicissitudes of the bluegrass/folk/alt country scene. Well no shit, you might say, it was Arkansas, but that’s not really the case. These people were something new, part of something that “No Depression” tried to capture, a new reclamation of American country music. It’s a movement that only got bigger and more spread out. I like to joke with my friend G., who plays pedal steel, that I only started listening to country music when I moved out of the country — and this is true, I only really started going out to shows up here in Seattle, far from the roots of what I knew as true country. But I never really knew it before either. I mean, in my house I grew up with a schizophrenic mix of classic rock (Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix) and classical (Mozart, Brahms) — this in a place where pickup trucks with gun racks, confederate flags and hound dogs in the back are common. As a teenager I went through an equally schizophrenic genre-hopping adventure (boy bands one week, Guns n’ Roses the next) before I discovered what would later be labeled indie rock. Listening to almost anything but country was imperative; country meant some kind of redneck and proud of it attitude. My stock answer when asked what music I liked was, like every kid I knew, “everything but country.”
And it’s true still; I don’t like commercial, poppy country much. But I don’t like commercial, poppy rock much anymore either, and I find my tastes changing in other ways as well. I like to think my taste has gotten better as a result of being exposed to a wider range of things and having musicians as friends, but perhaps it’s just due to getting older. At any rate, the alt-country scene has matured as well, but a small part of the back of my mind is still cracked up every time I go to a show and see people in their early twenties rocking out to twang. It feels like full circle.
I have a lot of goals at the moment. Some are long-term, pretty much unchanging goals: be more productive. be less neurotic. be a better partner. stay in shape. Some goals have to do with the moment: find an apartment. figure out scary creaking noise from underside of car. Some goals are longer-term, but probably won’t be with me for the rest of my life: learn about chemistry libraries (I am currently working through this excellent handout on the subject). write a publishable paper about the wikipedia. or about science libraries. or both. And so on. My goals are numerous and varied; they keep me going.
But I have one a-number-one priority goal right now, and that is not to get involved in internet (or otherwise) drama, especially regarding ex-partners that I still regard as friends. So my official comment on the subject is: no comment.
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