Musikalischer Mittwoch: Whoever’s In New England

After a solid week of my playlist consisting of no English language songs other than a faint smattering of Corb Lund and a Nanci Griffith tune or two (everything else has been either Spanish, German, Norwegian, Swedish or Hindi–the U.N. barfed on my iPod), out of the blue, this classic rolled up on my playlist.

In case you’ve completely missed it, I’m a big Reba fan.  Have been since probably the age of 6 or 7.  And “Whoever’s In New England” was critical to that early addiction.  The time before I knew this song is just a kind of hazy memory.  I know from checking that apparently this was not part of the soundtrack of my existence prior to 1986, but all that time before is just so fuzzy I’m not sure much of it matters.

It’s a watershed song in the history of Reba.  The album went platinum, the song was number 1 and it was her first music video.  In any retrospective collection of Reba hits?  This song is there.

And after not having heard it in so long that I’m rather ashamed, I understand why.  It’s a good song.  It showcases Reba’s voice and particular style in a way her earlier songs hadn’t quite done.  The arrangement is undoubtedly country, but not in-your-face as so many songs can be.  It’s good, but you almost forget it’s there because it really does what it needs to do:  stays out of the way of the voice.  And, of course, the voice is fantastic.  Since it was back in the day, Reba’s voice had a slightly “lighter” quality to it, and she doesn’t muddy that up with any vocal calisthenics (sistafriend’s pipes are awesome and I’m glad she displays the up and down control, but occasionally, I can do without the trills).  Here Reba manages to strike a balance of matter of fact and emotional that’s almost creepy.

And some of the lyrics? “When the icy wind blows through you / Remember that it’s me / Who feels the cold most of all….”  I have loved that line as long as I can remember.  In general, you’ve got to give it a nod because, well, you find another country song about Boston that’s done half as well?  (Other than when Reba did a cover of “Please Come to Boston” in 1995.)

And then there’s the the video.  The only thing this video is missing is Spencer and Hawk sprinting through the background in one of the Boston shots.  At one time, it would have been a simple enough video (albeit, one with a clear storyline–Reba’s been a good one for that from early on…up until CMT went all f’d up, but that’s another rant), but now it’s a time capsule of 80s goodness.  The clothes.  The cars.  Reba when she still had chipmunk front teeth AND THE PERMED MULLET.  Oh, it’s just beauty.  And how d’ya like the shots inside Boston’s Logan airport from way the hell back in the day when people without tickets could go all over the place (remember before security, kids?).

For those looking to educate themselves on the country genre, this is a must listen.  It marks the sharp up-tick in the career of someone prominent to the genre, was a key song in the swing back into more traditional country post 70s-early- 80s crossover, and any audio tour of country music just wouldn’t be complete without it.  Also, it’s awesome.

Musikalischer Mittwoch Has “Cows Around”

My family is full of cow people.  It’s a lot easier for me to count the number of people on Dad’s side who were not dairy farmers than it is to try and tally up how many of us were Holstein-hoarders.  While the rise of consolidated farm corporations forced the last of the family to give up the dairy business in about 2009…there are still plenty of cows around.  It’s like a disease.   Cows aren’t easy to have around.  They require more work and money than you’d think.  But, even though the family has all sought work off the farms and the milking barns are closed up, they don’t know how to give up having at least a few of those mooing, bellowing, chud-chewers around.  Even I still cling to the small dream of having my own place with room for a cow, despite the realities and facts I know about the damn things.

So when I was giving my first listen to Corb Lund’s new album, Cabin Fever, and “Cows Around” came on, I found myself clutching the steering wheel trying not to laugh myself right off the road (I was driving to visit Kristy at the time).

Every Corb Lund album gives me at least one dance-able western-swing style song (like “Little Foothills Heaven” on Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer), and usually at least one song full of humor (like “Family Reunion” from Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!).  This time, the two collided in one fabulous ear-worm.  The musical style and tune are very jaunty–it’s an instant toe-tapper.  It would be great for a really fast turn around the dance floor (think of the speed and style of something like Vince Gill/Reba McEntire’s “Oklahoma Swing”).  And then the lyrics, oh my.  If you don’t have first hand knowledge of the cow-ownership malady I described above, the song will sum up the situation concisely:  “Let me bestow this western blessing / Share what I have found / May you always have cows around / What else you gonna spend that extra money on? / What else is gonna get you up, hours before dawn?….”  On the surface, it’s funny because it’s the juxtaposition is ridiculous.  And for those of us who’ve encountered this, it’s hilarious for its accuracy.

And, if the cultural education provided by this depiction of the bizarre love-hate relationship cattle owners have with maintaining a herd, then you may at least appreciate the chance at 2:34 into the song to get a nicely rhymed listing of various breeds of cattle (both beef and dairy).

 

I Don’t Know Why…I Forgot This Song

Week before last I stumbled on a $5 copy of Rosanne Cash hits.  Naturally I pounced on the CD because despite my love for “Seven Year Ache” and “Tennessee Flat Top Box” I don’t actually own a Rosanne Cash album.  Here I got both those hits plus several more I recalled from the 80s.  Sweet.

I expected I would lock in on “Seven Year Ache” but instead I’ve found a new earworm in “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me.”

How in the hell had I forgotten this song?  I can only assume that the two previously mentioned tracks as well as “This Is the Way (We Make a Broken Heart)” overshadow this little ditty, despite the fact that “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me” was what won Cash a Grammy for Best Country Female Vocal Performance in ’85–beating out Janie Fricke’s “She’s Single Again” (that should get Kristy’s attention).  For added irony, apparently the hook and a portion of the lyrics were born out of Cash’s thoughts upon losing a Grammy in a previous year.

I can’t put my finger on what it is about the song that has led me to listen to it at least 30 times in the last 36 hours.  The lyrics–amusing stories about Grammy inspiration aside–are not incredibly deep.  They’re kind of fun “I’m in the right mood / I’ve got the new shoes tonight…I’ve got the new dress / I couldn’t care less tonight…”

Being the more tune-inclined listener of the MTVMPB crew, I have a feeling the secret in the attraction lies there.  It’s catchy, it’s upbeat, and yes, that is Vince Gill on background vocals.  But is it really a musical stand out?  I can’t say.  I do know it’s a fabulous pace for getting things done–it’s now on my house-cleaning rotation, and during the past two days of marathon effort on a project at work, it’s been just the right combination of upbeat without excess speed or harshness.

Or maybe the addiction for me is more personal.  The music video for this song is at the heart of a pointless, but very vivid early memory.  This music video came on and my brother, who was about 3 or 4, was totally entranced.  Stopped playing with his cars, dead halt and fixated on the TV.  As the video wound down he asked, “Who is that lady?”  Mom told him it was Rosanne Cash.  He then announced with a firmness and conviction beyond his years “I like Rosanne Cash.  I like how she sings.  And she’s pretty.”  And then he went back to playing with his cars.  For several years after that, if asked about singers he liked, Rosanne Cash was the only female vocalist he would name.

I don’t know why the song is so addictive, and I don’t know why I ever let it slip out of my repertoire, but I know I’m glad it’s here and I won’t lose track of it again.

The Living Dead In this Musikalisher Mittwoch

Back in the glory days of 80s country music a group called Shenandoah released a song called “Ghost in this House.”  I liked the song, even though I’ve never been wild about the group performing it*.  It painted a very different image of a break up–a lonesome, desperate, defeated kind of image.  It’s like a textbook description of clinical depression–phone and door unanswered, not picking up the mail, sitting in the darkened (and unmaintained) house.

I’m just a ghost in this house / I’m just a shadow upon these walls…

And backing up this accurate description of a person who has been rendered a shell of his/her former self is a haunting, but simple tune (I can hum this on my own without cringing at sour notes–that’s no easy thing, I tell you).

The combination was potent enough that Alison Krauss covered the song in the 90s–creating an even more beautiful and haunting version than Shenandoah’s original.  This version seems to be the one through which more non-mainstream-country fans have been exposed.

And now, score one more for exposure.

I was more than a little shocked, and totally stoked and giddy, when I popped in my newly imported copy of Sissel’s new album Til Deg….** and within 4 notes of Track 7 beginning I was bouncing my chair.  “Levande Död” was undeniably “Ghost in this House” (and I totally started singing along in English).  It sounds beautiful.  This fits right in my deep love of good covers of good songs AND my deep love of hearing covers done in random languages (especially if the translation fits well….which means it’s not an attempt to do a one-to-one word swap, but still maintains the original theme/story).

I haven’t had a chance to translate all the lyrics, but the title alone tells me that the lyrical theme of the original remains in tact.  “Levande Död” was pretty obviously “Living Dead” to me (I confirmed this with Google translate).  So either Levande Död is the coolest way to refer to ghosts in a Norse dialect (fairly sure this cover is in Swedish)…..

Or maybe Sissel’s singing a really beautiful song about zombies.

That would be awesome, too.

 

*Shenandoah actually had a number of selections I loved as pieces independent of the particular performance.  I can’t fault their ability to choose gems.  They also had “Sunday in the South” and “Church on Cumberland Road.”
**In theory there will be a US version of Sissel’s album out eventually, but given it’s already been 4 months since Til Deg… came out in Europe, I’m not sure it will ever come out here, at least not with the high percentage of Norse-language content.  I’m cool with Sissel singing in English, French, Italian….but I have found more favorites when she’s singing in Norwegian, Danish or Swedish.  Unfortunately, that’s also the stuff that tends to get removed in US releases of her albums.  Apparently it’s okay to expose Americans to foreign influence if it’s a Romantic rather than a Germanic language….

Things You May Not Know About the End of Patsy

I’m never quite sure about people who don’t like Patsy Cline.  I’m neutral on those who never mention her, and I feel a bit of “kindred spirit” relation to those who love her.  For the mere handful of (count 2) people who blatantly state they don’t like her?  Well, I just can’t look at them quite the same ever again.  I’m not about to declare them “dead to me” but they aren’t quite the same people I thought I knew before….

Hard-core Patsy fans might recognize today’s date as the anniversary of her death.  Most know that Pasty died in a plane crash (I will fully admit that I spent at least 15 year assuming this was the same crash that killed Jim Reeves, the other country legend featured in my family’s musical collection–obviously I was wrong).  What you may not know was that her point of origin in that fatal crash was right here in my current stompin’ grounds.

Patsy’s last concert was over at Memorial Hall, just over in Kansas City, KS.  She was apparently battling the flu, but performed several shows anyway as part of a benefit.  After it was done she was eager to get home to her kids as fast as possible.  One of her fellow performers, Dottie West, allegedly had a bad feeling about Cline’s decision to fly home to save time.  Dottie (who, in typical small world fashion, had been the first on the scene of Patsy’s near-fatal car crash years earlier), asked Patsy to ride home to Nashville in the car with her, and her husband.  Cline declined the offer.

The plane went down in bad weather near Camden, Tennessee.  At the time, no one knew it had gone down.  The plane was missing for hours and search parties combed the area. The rest of us wound up here, wondering what musical gems we’ve been deprived of in that decision not to ride with Dottie West.

Instead of a lifetime of brash comments and indescribably awesome songs, we listeners got only the remains of the last recording session Cline had.  She had been working on a new album.  The title track was one of the last things she recorded, and due to her death, the album it was to headline was never finished.  The song was “Faded Love.”  Now if that fact doesn’t make the little ragged breath at about three minutes and 29 seconds  in (give or take a few) all the more gut wrenching….

 

The 1983 Musical Phenomenon: Country Version

As Kristy covered some time ago:  1983 was a year of some kind of musical magic.  Kristy’s original realization of the disproportionate amount of awesome that came out of pop/rock in 1983 led to me to look back at country, since that’s the music I was being exposed to–almost exclusively–at that time.  I was pleasantly surprised–and slightly weirded out–to find that the statistically improbably percentage of musical gems was present in the country world just as in the pop/rock arena.  And, like Kristy, I found that the overwhelming majority of the songs listed were basically the soundtrack to some of my earliest memories.

Now, the nature of the country niche means that, unlike the songs Kristy identified before, not all the songs will have as wide a following.  But, part of the thing that amazed me in a look at just the Billboard country charts, were the number of songs that did break out of the genre.  The biggest example is “Islands In A Stream” (which was number-one on 3 different US Billboard charts,  and several foreign charts including Austria’s…really?  Austria???).  Honestly, if you haven’t heard Kenny and Dolly on this at least once, I really don’t know what kind of intergalactic odyssey you’ve been on for the past 28 years.

But that wasn’t the only one that tends to get some love outside of country fans:  this was the year that Shelley West made sure we knew that “Jose Cuervo” was a friend of ours (oh, do I EVER beg to differ with that statement).   Anne Murray was just looking for “A Little Good News” (which has a nice, timeless message if you can overlook the whole part about “Bryant Gumble was talking about the fighting in Lebanon”) and at a time when everyone was worried about Japan taking over our jobs (yeah, remember when they were the global market threat?), the Oak Ridge Boys assured us their baby was “American Made.”  And somehow a very bizarre assortment of my friends who generally hate this genre learned that “Houston (Means That I’m One Day Closer To You)” from Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Bros.

For those more familiar with the country genre, there’s plenty that might not be known to the outside, but which that you should recognize as absolutely classic fare.  In 1983 not only were you getting the ascension of today’s mega stars like Reba McEntire (“Can’t Even Get The Blues” was the first number one of the year), and George Strait (“A Fire I Can’t Put Out” was #1 in September)  coming in with a neotraditionalist sound (which George has kept and Reba has mostly ditched), but the generally epic!fail of the country/pop crossover of the 70s had finally ripened into something awesome with the likes of Kenny, Dolly, Alabama (“The Closer You Get” although, it’s arguable that Alabama had some neotraditionalist tendencies because you also have “Dixieland Delight” the same year), Janie Fricke (“He’s a Heartache Looking For a Place to Happen”) and even Charley Pride’s “Why Baby Why” (because, yes, kids, there have been black country singers well before Darius Rucker).  You were also still getting the outlaw country, in particular the absolutely classic musical epic of “Pancho and Lefty” from Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson (I still remember the music video for that one–it was much higher quality than many videos of that time).  Even songs that didn’t make #1 were awesome (honestly, until now I never knew that George Strait’s signature song “Amarillo by Morning” was not a number one in the US).

Maybe it was this unique transition and overlap, or maybe there was just some kind of weird planetary alignment, but something was just right in 1983, and while the rest of the 80s were also (in my far-less-than-humble opinion) fantastic for this niche of the musical market, something about 1983 was just a stand out.

Musikalischer Mittwoch: A Few Women Short

In true Cammy fashion, I obtained the new Reba McEntire CD like clockwork yesterday.  I’m happy to report that the fannishness that drives me to pick up a new album on release day does not necessarily color my view of the CD:  All The Women I Am is a few gals short of awesomeness.

I had a sneaking suspicion I was in for an experience that would rate only a “meh” when the first single was released.  I was actually visiting Kristy at the time so she can attest to my underwhelmed reaction to “Turn On Your Radio.”  It’s catchy enough, I guess, and Reba executes it well, but at the end of the day the song itself and the arrangement are the same variety of drivel that’s been plaguing country music for a while now.  I’m all for eliminating the lines between genres, but there’s eliminating the line, and then there’s poorly executed hybridization that annoys both sides of the fence.

I could overlook it if this were the only track on the album that fell into the over-used sound, but, leider nicht.  The title track, “All The Women I Am”, has the same feel as “Turn On Your Radio” (rock pretending to be country pretending to be rock like some kind of frakked up Victor Victoria identity crisis).  I could forgive the recurring theme of Girl Power in the lyrics.  In fact, I am quite amused by the self reference they contain (“I’m a daughter of the red dirt / Okie dust still in my bones / But I can light up New York City with my red hair and rhinestones”), but they aren’t enough to compensate for how much I don’t enjoy the musical arrangement.

The coup de grace was the final track.  A dance remix of “I Want a Cowboy” from her last studio album.  Let’s get this straight right now:  I generally despise dance mixes.  If you’re going to do club dance stuff, do club dance stuff–there’s a time and a place where you need that style.  I’ve never heard a dance mix of a non-dance song that didn’t suck. Country songs subjected to this Dr. Moreau treatment come out particularly ridiculous.  Honestly, what the hell kinda club would play an electronica dance mix of a Reba McEntire song?!?  So with a song that was mediocre to begin with, and made worse by the dance mix treatment?  Honestly, I couldn’t even listen to the whole track.  I hit skip about 30 seconds in.

“A Little Want To” is tolerable mostly because in comparison to the previously mentioned tracks, it’s almost a gem.  It’s a little too far to the twanging honkey-tonk grind side for me, and the lyrics, while upbeat don’t really catch me.  Why is everyone in country trying so hard to “rock” a mandolin?  I appreciate the traditional elements, but the way they’ve been used on this and so many other songs is like a musical cliche.  So, meh.

There’s minor hope for “The Bridge You Burn” but nothing to blow your dress up.  “Cry”  and “Somebody’s Chelsea” are about the same–on any other album they would be those songs you forget about but never actively dislike.  On this one, I’m kind of glad to have them.

I will admit that the sap in me like “When You Have a Child” and I know myself well enough to admit that I’d like it regardless of the rest of the album content.  I won’t try to sell it though because I recognize schmalz when I hear it and while I will revel in it, I’m not going to drag you all down with me.

I kept hoping for a surprise favorite to pop up like “I’ll Have What She’s Having” cropped up on the previous album (a toe-tapping, western-swing look across the barroom at the kinda guy you’d like to see on the menu–ask Kristy how excellent the song is).  The closest I got was on a track that I had low expectations for: “If I Were A Boy.”

Now, when I heard Reba was covering a Beyonce song, I about shit a brick.  Beyonce is just not my style.  I’ve tried to listen to her, but she just doesn’t work for me, musically.  And, having heard her original version of “If I Was a Boy” I was fairly certain this listening experience was going to try my Reba fannishness.  Lo, I am surprised.  I actually like the damned thing.  Very different arrangement from Beyonce (thank you, Jesus), that fits Reba and comes off quite well (though I’d like to lose the echo).  It’s not traditionally country, but unlike the other ugly baby hybrids, this is a somewhat decent example of genre cross pollination.  It’s also an example of why I love hearing different artists cover the same song–love one, loathe another.  This one gave me a little hope for some envelope pushing out of Reba like we used to get back in the day.

“The Day She Got Divorced” is not a song I will ever like, but it’s one I can kind of respect.  Where I’m very used to the female empowerment, upbeat songs Reba puts out, as well as her tear-jerkers on the heartbreak of a divorce, this song is neither.  It’s a divorce tale without the pro-gal slant.  It begins with the image of a woman chain smoking and going about a very pedestrian morning.  The husband is rotten, but the wife’s having a crappy affair, too.  And rather than the post- divorce heartbreak, the day after this marriage ends is just like the day before.  It’s just kind of….dingy.  I dislike the woman, the man, the entire situation.  But I give props to the idea of this slightly grittier and less emotional look at divorce.  I will never enjoy hearing the song, but I can appreciate it.

All in all, I’m a little let down with this package as a whole.  That said, this is still Reba, so even her worst is a lot better than some of the best that you get out of others, and I don’t regret my purchase.  I know that eventually some of the mediocre songs may grow on me a little.  But an album like this makes me scratch my head and wonder where the days are when Reba burst out with something so different from the rest:  “Fancy”, Annie Get Your Gun….There are sparks of hope from “If I Was a Boy” and “The Day She Got Divorced” but they are pale in comparison to what we’ve seen in the past.  Reba’s shown us a lot of women over the years, but the album feels like she left out the best of them.

Musikalischer Mittwoch: Take This Genre And Shove It

If I could kick the asses of the little MBA assholes who push their marketing strategies down on music, I would.  The use of “genre” labeling to market music is annoying as shit to me.  It stands between me and the radio station of my dreams and it only serves the number-grubbing strategies of bean-counting little asshats.

Genre labeling sucks, particularly for those of us consuming the music.  Does anyone ever listen to only one genre of music?  Rarely.  And yet you try finding a radio station that mixes formats.  Good friggin’ luck.  The best you can hope for is some kind of public radio that dedicates certain hours to certain genres.

And try defining a genre and getting everyone to agree on it.  Fat chance.  I, for one, have strong opinions about what should be classified as “country”–or, more accurately, what shouldn’t be.  If I’m going to be held hostage by a system that forces everything into the labeled boxes, then they damn well better stop shoving pop shit into the jar labeled “country” particularly when that means squeezing out stuff that is honest-to-goodness-two-step-worthy-country.  It’s not that I don’t like pop, I just don’t appreciate having it packaged as country in some kind of frakked up attempt to bump up marketing (especially since aspring pop stars seem to be using country as their easier road to the top–but that’s a rant for another Wednesday).

Even after you “define” a genre, what do you do with the stuff that just doesn’t fit?  There so much great music out there that doesn’t get played anywhere because of the lack of big-business backing, and also because no one knows which of those ill-conceived categories to put it in.  Exhibit A, Eddie from Ohio.  They play some country, some folk, some rock, some pop, some blues, some gospel…what they don’t play is radio and that’s not because they aren’t good.

The only winners are the marketing gurus who have simplified the playing field and made it easier to control the creation of megastars.  In the meantime we get crappy radio stations that over-play sound-a-like junk and run screaming in fear of anything that might come from outside their ill defined boundaries.

Screw it.  I’ll just listen to Last.fm.

Is it too much to ask that there be a station out there that says “screw labels, let’s play music” and gives me Jonathan Coulton’s “Mandelbrot Set,” Reba’s “Fancy,” Arcade Fire’s “Intervention” and Aaron Copeland’s “Variations on Simple Gifts” in a back to back set?

Musikalischer Mittwoch

After a lot of procrastination, your friendly webgals at My TV, My Peanut Butter have finally decided to follow through with a column we’ve discussed since very early on, but never actually managed to move forward.  We wax stupid on TV, Kristy has the movies well in hand, and goodness knows we’ve got random famous people covered, but what about music?  Here we go.  And since Cammy’s going first (and because Monday was taken up with our coffee dates), we’re going with Mittwoch.  She might have considered Miércoles, but A) Spanish is Kristy’s forte and B) that requires an accent mark and Cammy is lazy (she’s also drinking Frankfurt-style Applewein and communing with her inner Teutonic-ness).

Musikalisher Mittwoch:  “Changes in Latitude” – Jimmy Buffet

Okay, so Cammy has had a crappy past two weeks, culminating in a crappy-beyond-crappy day today (with no sign of good weather on the horizon for tomorrow).  I am firm believer that the the right song can cure what ails you (all the more so if aided by a good beer).

It took me half the night to choose the right one from the library.  I should have known to start with the man whose music is usually like a big, happy pile o’ zen for me:  Jimmy Buffett.

With summer just abandoning us and the Gulf Coast having featured (sadly) so heavily in the news lately, Gulf Coast Native and paragon of the southern-beach lovin’ set, Jimmy Buffett has actually been fairly prominent in the public conscience lately.  For me, he’s a staple (I’ve considered just giving in and declaring myself a parrot-head, but I need too much sunblock to really qualify), and this evening, that staple came through with “Changes in Latitude”

“All of our running and all of our cunning / If we couldn’t laugh, we just would go insane….”

As I clicked through my library, numerous song-hooks seemed to apply to my current state of mind only to dissolve into the never-ending cliche of love lost or gone wrong.  While I’m sure my lack of a love life probably doesn’t result in a positive spin to my current work-life inspired depression, it’s not the bigger issue.  After a day of pure stress and being totally unable to let go of an issue that I ought to dismiss, nothing whacked it into me that I was truly going insane quite like “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude”.  And laughter had been conspicuously absent throughout this ordeal….

I can’t necessarily have the change in latitude, but I could sure use the change in attitude and this piece certainly helped.  You start with the easy rhythm you find in so many Buffett tunes.  It inspires movement, but smooth movement. One doesn’t rock-out to something like “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Attitude” –one sways. It’s familiar even when it’s new, and has that blend of south/west/island that conjures the Gulf of Mexico in a way that’s inexplicable.   Since I literally can’t remember a time before I knew Jimmy Buffett’s voice and distinctive musical style, there’s a  nostalgic comfort to this sound beyond the inherently calming, moderately-paced and utterly two-step-able rhythm.  Personally?  I could stop there.  I determined years ago that the sound of a song is often where I draw most of my comfort–words are secondary.

But, this song delivers on the lyrics.  Just as the laid-back rhythm inspires a state of zen, so does the message of letting go, looking forward and moving beyond the crap.

“If it suddenly ended tomorrow /I would somehow adjust to the fall / Good times and riches and sonofabiches /  I’ve seen more than I can recall…”

Ain’t that the truth?

However, the best fit is in the fact that while the song explains that if we couldn’t laugh, we’d go insane–it’s not a song that really inspires laughter.  Nothing in this really sounds, well, jolly.   It’s a perfect fit for the moment when you know, logically, you have to let it go.  You’re still working toward that moment when you  can laugh about that enormous fuck up you made at work, and how little it means in the grand scheme of life the  universe and everything….but you’re not actually laughing yet.  The song keeps that even-keel the entire time.  And the repetition “If I couldn’t laugh, I just would go insane / If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane / If we weren’t all crazy, we would go insane….”  is like a mantra repeated to drive that message home and convince you that you really can ditch the b.s. and have a laugh.  This is not the song you play when you know it’s all crap, it’s the song that type A’s like me play as we get to that place where we can really accept that it’s crap.

“Yesterday’s over my shoulder / So I can’t look backward too long / There’s just too much to see / Waiting in front of me…”

And on that note, I leave you all to your beverages of choice and if your day has been shit and you’re not physically able to change your latitude, commune for 3 minutes and 16 seconds with Jimmy Buffett and at least work on changing the attitude.

Coffee (and Ice Cream)…with Dolly Parton

Would we have coffee with Dolly Parton?

Cammy:  Yeah, definitely.   I happened to catch part of some Dolly Parton special the other evening, celebrating 25 years of Dollywood, and it reminded me, yet again, that Dolly’s made of awesome.  She’s a great entertainer, a great singer and musician, a far greater songwriter than she gets credit for (by some estimates she’s written over 5000 songs.  Over 300 are published), and a fantastic businesswoman who also gives back to her community.  And she’s managed to take every single thing you could knock or mock her for and capitalized on it.  Poor, rural background?  Fodder for some of her most inspired songs.  Busty as hell to start with?  Just make ‘em bigger and let ‘em get the attention for you (that’s not curves, that’s a U-turn).  Crappy thin hair?  A big ol’ wig solves the problem without having to waste time in the beauty shop.  Also, she brings the funny.  And, yeah, you know we love the funny.  I’ve seen enough interviews with her to know that coffee with this gal will mean plenty of exposure to quick wit.  People watching with Dolly is likely to be hilarious and insightful but definitely not mean spirited, and that alone is something worth appreciating.  There’s no doubt the woman has good stories and if she wanted to drop a little wisdom on running a business and maintaining creativity?  I’d sure be ready to listen.

Kristy:  HOMG are you kidding?  Of course, I want to drink coffee with Dolly!  Have I mentioned recently that my favorite movie growing up was Best Little Whorehouse in Texas?  (Possibly not appropriate for children, and evidently resulted in my sister and I innocently choreographing our own striptease with our dress-up clothes in homage to the Aggie party, but we turned out okay).  I love Dolly because she doesn’t pretend to be anything she’s not and she revels unapologetically in who she is.  And who she is is a gifted entertainer and composure with a heart of gold and fabulously tacky clothing.  What’s not to love?  You just know that girl talk with Dolly would be delicious.  And I agree about how much fun we could have people watching.  I also recently learned she loves ice cream, so if she’s up for it, after coffee, I suggest we all go out for ice cream!