Saturday, February 7, 2009

Musical Questions & More!

Hey, folks, I’m happy to announce that we’ll have another installment in the Musical Questions series here tomorrow morning—a musician & songwriter I’m really happy to have on this space, Earl Butter of the legendary San Francisco band, the Buckets.

When I lived in San Francisco in the 90s, there were tons of talented & fun bands; Saturday nights at such haunts as the Hotel Utah or Kilowatt or the Bottom of the Hill or Kommotion were raucous parties vibrant with music & energy; & of all those wonderful bands, there was none that could get the house moving any better than the Buckets, fronted by songwriter/guitarist/singer Earl Butter. Mr Butter had fantastic back-up: the amazing Wanderlean Taters on fiddle & back-up vocals (Robert Frost’s Banjo readers might know Ms Taters as Carrie Bradley), Kid Coyote playing a sizzling guitar, Bea Donna Potts driving the mix with her drumming, & Slim Volume’s bass compelling everyone to dance. There were a number of other folks involved in the Buckets, too, all with unlikely monikers: for instance, our own good pal Dani Leone brought her banjo uke to the Buckets from time to time under the guise of Jessie “Boots” Daniels.

The Buckets could rock, for all their surreal country & western personas. Earl Butter has kindly given permission for me to use some Buckets’ songs, of both older & newer vintage, on this post & on the Musical Questions post tomorrow. The two clips below are taken from the Bucket’s album Sod
& yes, it is available on CDBaby! It’s an outstanding album, tho it features a different band than the typical 90s line-up. The songs were recorded in 02, but for various reasons weren’t released until 06. To me, Sod is a sort of cowpunk counterpart to Big Star’s extraordinary Sister/Lovers album—there are some dark & even harrowing moments (see the first clip“Brown Dove”below; the second clip is "On the Wagon"), & the album seems very much “of a piece.” Even the covers—Dom Leone’s “Guess Who This Is” & Michael Nesmith’s “Papa Gene’s Blues” cohere to the overall themes. I’d really recommend this cd to anyone who enjoys alternative country, or who just likes heartfelt music.

Be sure to check out Earl Butter’s interview tomorrow. Besides being a wonderful songwriter, Mr Butter is a terrifically funny guy, & you’ll get some good chuckles from his answers—I know I did. & if you check back in later tonight—several minutes with the Buckets live! What a way to spend some time on a February Saturday evening—nuff said.

Some more blog news: I’ve added a few blogs to this week to the ever expanding blogroll here at Robert Frost’s Banjo, & they’re all well worth checking out. Amazing Voyages of the Turtle is a travel blog written by Sandra Leigh; it details her journeys thru Mexico in an RV along with her husband & some traveling companions. Amazing Voyages of the Turtle is well written, & it provides a vivid picture of the landscape; it also of course is a long road trip story, which is one of my favorite genres—I view road trips as (fun) spiritual experiences (well, mostly fun as long as the car’s working & everyone’s getting along….) Ms Leigh also gets some gratitude here for pointing out The Found Poetry Project, where she recently had a found poem published. For those who don’t know, found poetry involves taking an existing text & creating a poem by lineation, spacing, & sometimes deleting words from the text (in less strict "found poems," words may be added too). It’s a wonderful form in my opinion, & I’m jazzed to find a site dedicated to it.

Thanks to Kat of Poetikat’s Invisible Keepsakes, I also came across the delightful Keep the Coffee Coming, a compendium of song, photographs (lots of gorgeous black & white pix), & observations. The music is eclectic, which I like: you can hear old-time songs like “Ground Hog,” or relatively obscure items like “Guabi Guabi” (in versions both by the composer George Sibanda & by Jim Kweskin) to rock & roll songs like Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline” (today seems to be car themed songs: not just “Maybelline,” but also “Drive My Car,” “409” & “Fast Car”). This site will definitely reward your visits.

I’ve also added paint, poems and ponderings, where you can see some lovely artwork & photographs, & read insightful (& sometimes poignant) musings about life & creativity. I became aware of this blog, by Sukipoet, as a result of a discussion about copyright issues at the excellent Life at Willow Manor. I’m very glad the discussion led me to her blog.

I mentioned The Gold Puppy when I participated in the “Fourth Annual Bloggers’ Silent Poetry Reading," & I've added this to the blogroll as well. The Bloggers' Silent Poetry Reading event was the brainchild of The Gold Puppy’s author, Reya. In addition to conceiving that wonderful idea, Reya also has a very engaging blog—some stunning photos mingle with memoirs & observations—almost meditative at points.

& almost as I was posting this, I ran across thisandthat, a relatively new blog that combines observations about motherhood & family life with some nice photos. Although I obviously haven't gotten familiar with the blog, I was interested in my first visit, & placed it on the blogroll here; please pay thisandthat a visit when you get a chance.

& hey, special thanks to Robert Frost’s Banjo followers & subscribers, as well as the other wonderful folks who come here (some quite regularly) but, in Googlespeak, don’t strictly fit into either of these categories—your support means a lot to me. When I started this blog back in August of last year, I decided I wouldn’t do any tracking of hits, etc., because I felt I needed to write this for myself first & not get caught up in numbers. I still don’t track those statistics, but I happily see the icons of Robert Frost’s Banjo followers, & I do check the subscription numbers in Google Reader: I’m gratified that both are increasing; & I’m delighted by what folks bring in terms of support & commentary—many heartfelt thanks.

So—later this evening: about 7 minutes from a 1994 Buckets show at the Hotel Utah in Baghdad by the Bay (yours truly may have been in the crowd that night). & especially: check in tomorrow for Earl Butter & his Musical Questions.

pic up top shows Earl Butter with what looks like a Telecaster; to the left, Dani Leone with what definitely is a banjo uke

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