Webzine Rural Intelligence hired me to interview the estimable Marshall Crenshaw for a holiday-themed piece. In addition to discussing his wonderfully offbeat taste in Christmas music (which I share) we chatted about his new record club, a throwback to subscription services of bygone days and an ingenious bit of outside-the-box creative marketing. Although the first release I Don’t See You Laughing Now hasn’t “officially” dropped, the club is already a success, thanks to a buzzworthy Kickstarter campaign.
Clearly, Crenshaw has made his mark over the last three decades, cultivating an ardent fanbase willing to pay for music they have not yet heard. It’s a good bet, though; I received a promo of I Don’t See You Laughing Now and I can attest, it is a sonic feast, and lo and behold, you can easily read the liner notes. It was fun to put the needle down on virgin vinyl. The memories flooded.
Marshall was a pleasure to talk to and very gracious. I mentioned how much I’d enjoyed his last CD Jaggedland and he surprised me by citing a review I wrote of it in 2009. He said my review was “a keeper.” That made me feel good. Jaggedland connected with me on a very deep level; when I reviewed it, I was going through a rough time personally, and the tunes lit up the dark corners, made me feel less alone, less despairing. One of the songs, “Live and Learn,” was made into a wonderful video, using archival footage of Our Gang, which I watched on UHF when I was a kid. I only just learned the sad story of what became of Alfalfa…
One video clip of a song that didn’t make it into the piece, but should be seen and, much more importantly, heard far and wide, is The Drifters’ version of “White Christmas” (below). This version inspired Marshall to seek out “interesting Christmas music.” Details in the piece.
I only regret that time did not permit me to discuss one of my favorite Crenshaw tunes, the theme song from one of the best musical biopics of all time, Walk Hard, a hilarious send-up of the trope-y biopic genre, and thus far, John C. Reilly’s finest hour onscreen. Rent it if you’ve not done so.
Hoping this finds everyone well and surrounded by love and light.