The wonderful Weeklings published my essay, Almost True: The Real, Realer, and Realest of the Music Movies in which I cite Almost Famous, That Thing Your Do!, Georgia, and Sling Blade (yes, Sling Blade) as getting as close to the experience of being in band as a film can. Bonus rockin’ video clips. (There are more films that get pretty close, but those will have to wait for Almost True, Too.) Click HERE to enjoy.
Posted in criticism, Essay, Movies, Robert Burke Warren
Tagged almost famous, billy bob thorton, billy crudup, cameron crowe, dwight yoakam, jason lee, jennifer jason leigh, John C. Reilly, john doe, mare winningham, philip seymour hoffman, robert burke warren, Rock and Roll, rock movies, schaech, sling blade, the wonders, tom everett scott, tom hanks, vic chesnutt
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.
pic by Todd Chalfant
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.
Posted in Movies, Music, Uncategorized
Tagged Alfalfa, Beatlemania, carl switzer, Dewey Cox, Drifters, I Don't See You Laughing Now, jenna fischer, John C. Reilly, Kickstarter, La Bamba, Marshall Crenshaw, Our Gang, Rural Intelligence, Walk Hard, White Christmas