Another Brief Check In

Saturday, August 7, 2021

 Hello all. I hope everyone is having a good summer. This is just (another) brief post. 

As I mentioned in my last post, it's been a difficult few months. Again, I prefer not to go into the specific reasons, other than to say I'm dealing with some health issues of my own, as well as those of my nephew. I will say that my nephew could use all of the positive energy and thoughts you can spare. Thank you.

This has been a particularly dark period, but the one thing that helps me without fail is music. So, I'll share a few songs from the music that's helped during this time.

First is something from a collaborative album between John Hiatt, one of my very favorite songwriters (I named one of the main characters in my old comic strip after him) and the great Jerry Douglas, who is both a solo artist and a member of Alison Krauss's band Union Station. Their album is called Leftover Feelings, and this track is "All The Lilacs In Ohio":

This is actually the second time Hiatt recorded this song; the original version was on his excellent 2001 album The Tiki Bar Is Open, with his superb backing band The Goners:

That's Sonny Landreth on slide guitar, by the way. He also appears with Hiatt on this 1988 appearance on David Letterman, performing the title track to Slow Turning:

Next is a song from what is what will almost certainly be the most moving album you will hear this year, Allison Russell's Outside Child. It is a harrowing, deeply personal, but ultimately redemptive effort, and is well worth your time. This is "Persephone," a tender song about first love, and its healing power in even the darkest of times.

She is also a member of Birds of Chicago, with her husband, JT Nero. I'm just beginning to explore their music, but one song that immediately stood out is "Real Midnight," the title track of their 2016 album:

 I'm looking forward to checking them out further. She was also in the Canadian roots-rock band Po' Girl (she's a native of Toronto), and I hope to hear some of their work as well. I first became aware of her through her participation in Our Native Daughters, a collaborative album recorded in 2018 by Russell, Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, and Leyla McCall. This is a powerful song called "You're Not Alone," performed at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival:

The entire album is equally good; do yourself a favor and give them a listen sometime.

That will do it for this post. Be good to yourselves.


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