“The Wilderness” by K.S. Rhoads
It’s been five years since K.S. Rhoads’ breathtaking debut, Dead Language, and his time hasn’t been wasted. Anyone who follows Nashville’s dynamic music scene has seen that he’s been playing, touring, and collaborating the whole time.
Today he’s released his new album, The Wilderness and it’s a thing of cool beauty. Much like Dead Language, he seems to have thrown everything he has into it. And it’s another awesome gumbo of sound and song. Go buy it. And if you don’t have Dead Language, buy it too.
As beautiful and unique as Dead Language was, The Wilderness is no attempt at repeating. He makes more use of looping and layering, more beatboxing and rapping, and strings strings strings. So, there are similarities. But he has more moments of pop-catchiness, he gets more orchestral, he’s got more swagger, and the range of songs is even wider than on Dead Language. The overall feel of the album seems to come from some different place.
“She’s A Sparrow” by Matthew Ryan
There’s this kind of straight-forward, personal, confessional songwriting that gives itself so honestly, that it’s much more like listening to someone’s spontaneous conversation. Matthew Ryan’s new track is that conversation. And the production of the recording emphasizes that perfectly. So, stripped down and crisp that you can hear the slit on his voice. And it’s unsettling how intimate that kind of sound is. So that it leaves an uncomfortable feeling on the song, which – given the subject – seems perfectly fitting. It’s not a cry-with-me kind of song. It’s more of an I-shouldn’t-know-what-this-guy’s-thinking song. Like you walked in on a private moment of vulnerability.
But I guess that’s part of songwriting sometimes.
And I really dig the imagery of “She’s a sparrow, and i’m a street.” One’s living and growing and flying and moving on. One’s asphalt and gray and trodden-on and stationary. Very nice indeed.
Somewhere between the mixtape and the streaming playlist lived the compilation CD, or mix CD. I recently came across a treasure trove of these CDs that I hadn’t listened to in a few years. And half the fun of discovering them again were the vague, cryptic titles written (or drawn) on them. Titles like “My Mind Was Changed With a Gun and a Case of Vinegar” and “Lucas Blasto’s Brilliant Kazoo Corps.”
So, in memory of the lost art of mixtape and mix CD making, here are a few songs I rediscovered listening to the CDs.
So, I’ve never made a secret of my admiration for Fred Rogers. He was a solid person and a great influence on childrens programming. I loved his show when I was young and I’ve shared it with my kids. One of my kids developed a connection with the books of Eric Carle after seeing him on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Awesome. Just awesome.
“The Sparrow” by Lawrence Arabia
“It feels like there’s only two sane people and they’re leaving soon.”
Man, I can’t wait to hear this one.