Crossing - December 2005 Edition
Hello again. It’s december
in mid-America and if all went well it’s December where you are too. No
one can believe that it is indeed the last month of the year. Well, at
least, I can’t. Well, I suppose I could. I’ll try. I’ll work on it. How’s
that sound? Like last year’s December edition of The Crossing, I chose
not to do an artist of the month and instead, took up the enormous task
of trying to recapitulate an entire year’s worth of music. Always a head-scratcher!
For starters, last year I
made a small list of artists ‘expected to have new albums in 2005’. Let’s
see how that turned out:
The Badlees - this Pennsylvania
quintet seems to have either broken up or are busying themselves with solo
projects. Firmly in the ‘where are they now’ file.
Better Than Ezra - Released
‘Before The Robots’ and are currently touring as far as I know.
Buffalo Tom - Believe it or
not, this Massachusetts trio has reconvened, been out playing shows in
the Mass. area and are expected to deliver their first album since ‘Smitten’
sometime in 2006.
Casbah Club - Let me remind
you, this is the band made up of Simon Townshend (brother of Pete of The
Who fame), two former members of Big Country and one former member of The
Jam. There has been squabbling among the ranks, but their debut may see
the light of day finally at trackrecords.com and all will rejoice!
King’s X - Released the return-to-form
‘Ogre Tones’ and are currently touring.
Son Volt - Released the solid
‘Okemah and the Melody of Riot’ and are currently touring.
Gin Blossoms - The long-time
‘original’ five members are back together (minus the ‘really’ original
member, the late Doug Hopkins) and are apparently re-recording a new album
and looking for a record deal. Hopefully this will appear in 2006; ten
years after the release of ‘Congratulations I’m Sorry’.
Jayhawks - On indefinite hiatus....which,
of course, only means they will be back ‘someday’.
Will Kimbrough - Still guesting
on albums by Jeff Black and Kate Campbell, while indeed working on a new
album. Let’s hope he finally gets that released!
I also had a short list
of hopes for 2005. Let’s take a look:
To see U2 - this will come true
when they visit St. Louis this mid-month. Can’t wait!
For Bill Mallonee to front a
full rocking band! - This has been and still is a ‘work in progress’ that
will, if I could will this into actualization, will really will actually
really, really will happen really, we can hope, please! Pretty please!
Sugar on top! etc. Bill’s ‘body of work’ deserves this more than anybody
For Marcus Hummon to release
a new record - Notable Nashville songwriter Marcus did indeed release ‘Nowhere
To Go But Up’. Note-to-self:need to listen to this more.
For Rush to return to the studio
- Apparently this has been and is currently happening. I have read that
Rush has been in pre-production for a new album. This ROCKS so bad that
only true Rush fans could possibly understand!
For Bruce Springsteen to return
to the studio - Bruce not only returned to the studio, but released ‘Devils
& Dust’ in March of this year. Can you say ‘stealth’?
And maybe for these bands to
reform (Midnight Oil - they reformed for a benefit show for last year’s
tsunami disaster. I don’t think you can ever really rule them out in reforming
and doing another album. James - former singer Tim Booth released a solo
album and the band hasn’t done a thing without him as far as I know. Del
Amitri - singer Justin Currie has been busy and is expected to release
a solo album this year or a new album with Del Amitri or possibly even
both. Cross fingers.)
On to the live arena:
I only went to a handful
of shows this year and all were pretty excellent.....including Son Volt,
The BoDeans, John Mellencamp with John Fogerty, Over The Rhine, Bill Mallonee,
Social Distortion and Stroke 9. U2 this month might top them all!
As we are all aware of, there
were many albums released in 2005. A pretty stellar year I’d say overall.
My top albums for 2005 (not
in any order):
Over the Rhine - “Drunkard’s
Prayer” (Listening to Karin Bergquist sing these decidedly more ‘personal’
songs with her beautiful voice is just not a difficult thing to do even
if the subject matter is troubling.)
Bill Mallonee - “Friendly Fire”/”Hit
And Run” (The ever-prolific Bill has been stalled as of late, but he did
manage to release two albums this year. I prefer the really stripped down
immediacy of “Hit And Run” but both albums are very welcome additions to
an already extraordinarily impressive canon of work. Look for “Permafrost”
Bruce Springsteen - “Devils
& Dust” (His days of writing more ‘personal’ albums may be over, but
Bruce can still write a song like no other.)
Black 47 - “Elvis Murphy’s Green
Suede Shoes” (Leader Larry Kirwan has turned it up a notch with this mostly
rocking follow-up to “New York Town”.)
Son Volt - “Okemah and the Melody
of Riot” (A solid return under the Son Volt name for Mr.Jay Farrar. I’ve
been on a massive Jay Farrar kick as of late listening to Son Volt and
his solo albums as well.)
King’s X - “Ogre Tones” (I thought
the weak spot of this album was with the lyrics, but the overall sound
is exactly how King’s X fans like their King’s X. They sound absolutely
awesome on this Michael Wagener produced set.)
Charlie Sexton - “Cruel and
Gentle Things” (Much more low-key than his previous album “Under The Wishing
Tree”, this is an album that rewards with patience and grace. The first
track ‘Gospel’ may be the song of the year in my book.)
Neil Young - “Prairie Wind”
(What a career Neil Young has had and if this is anything near the coda...let’s
hope it’s not...then he has done his work just fine with this accessible
album of songs about life and looking back on a life lived well. Simply
Nanci Griffith - “Hearts In
Mind” (Nanci always seems like she’s on the verge of retirement, but when
you don’t hear from her, she pops up with another collection of great songs.
I think this is her best since “Flyer” back in 1994. Full of richly observed
songs about today’s world.)
Stryper - “Reborn” (An experiment,
take ‘hair band’ from mid to late '80’s and insert them in the middle of
the '00’s. What would they sound like? Take 70 parts nu-metal makeover,
add 30 parts Stryper as you remember them. Result: old band comes alive
again with new sound with added familiarity. Not bad and fun to listen
Blue Rodeo - “Are You Ready?”
Great Big Sea - “The Hard and
Cowboy Junkies - “Early 21st
Kate Campbell - “Blues and Lamentations”
David Gray - “Life In Slow Motion”
Glen Phillips - “Winter Pays
Doug Pinnick - “Emotional Animal”
The Proclaimers - “Restless
Nickel Creek - “Why Should The
Sufjan Stevens - “Come On Feel
The Illinoize!” (Just seeing if you’re paying attention. Actually I haven’t
heard this yet. I know. Shock! Horror! But, I have heard “Seven Swans”,
so there! ;-) It’s on my list to hear.)
new albums from:
Tom Petty (in March)
....and the aforementioned artists
already mentioned above.
On to the new stuff....
Many, many DVD’s coming out
this time of year. Almost seems like there are more DVD’s than CD’s and
that may be the case until things start to heat up again sometime around
February and March.
And now a note from the editor,
actually, just me, Chris, your host. If you are new to this CD and DVD
buying game, always remember that titles and “especially” release dates
are subject to change. I’m sure you are all well aware of this by now.
Let me tell you a story, once upon a time I went up to the local Best Buy
to see if I could find the latest album from Neil Young. Now, I had written
on this here Crossing that it was available on such and such a date. Well,
the date was a totally different such so I was just as miffed as probably
you were when you realized The Crossing had got it wrong. Anyhow, to make
a long, uninteresting story short, we here, that means me, at The Crossing
try our best to get release dates as accurate as possible. To help from
being overly panicked the next time a release date falls thru and you know
The Crossing says it is etched in stone, maybe it’s best to start thinking
of The Crossing, from time to time anyway, as something like a horoscope....it
gives you a guide that something may happen, but it may not actually happen
as foretold. Good advice, is it not? I’m starting to remind myself of this
advice myself. Did that make sense? Oh well, nevermind. Another thing to
remember is that there are always different versions of things now-a-days...such
as dualdiscs with the audio on one side and the video on the other side.
There’s also single CD’s, two disc sets, sometimes limited edition sets,
also CD and DVD combo sets. My advice, and I’ve been doing this since I
could crawl, is to always check all of the stock from any given artist
and pick out the one you want. Most of you know this, but for the younger
set and for those buying for others. You know who you are. It’s good advice.
Also, with somethings you can’t find, it’s just a waiting game and will
eventually come out. The most important thing is to NOT panic! Are we all
Okay, happy hunting and as
always thanks for reading The Crossing and visiting the Phantom Tollbooth.
If we didn’t know you were
there, we may or may not be here also! Think about that one.
Okay, ......let’s get to
Recently released and not
mentioned in last edition:
* Bright Eyes - Motion Sickness (live album.)
* Over The Rhine - “Live” (Limited edition signed live album available
for preorder at overtherhine.com.)
* The Mob - “The Mob” (This should be out as of 11/29.)
* Diana Krall - “Christmas Songs”
* Kate & Anna McGarrigle - “McGarrigle Christmas Hour”
* Rick Danko - “Cryin’ Heart Blues”
* Robin Trower - “Another Days Blues”
* Tony Martin - “Scream”
* City & Colour - “Sometimes” (import.)
* Christy Moore - “Burning Times” (import.)
* Alex Lloyd - “Alex Lloyd” (import.)
* Omar Rodriguez - “Omar Rodriguez” (import.)
* Place Vendome - “Place Vendome”
* Nightwish - “High Hopes”
* Various Artists - “She Will Have Her Way” (Tribute album to Tim and Neil
* The Who - “Tommy & Quadrophenia” (DVD compilation boxset.)
* Journey - “Live In Houston on the Escape Tour. (DVD/CD combo set.)
* The Outfield - “Live” (Available at theoutfield.com)
* INXS - Rockstar: INXS (DVD.)
* Murderball - DVD
* Rush - “Complete Tour Books: 1977-2004” (Combined tourbooks throughout
the years; limited to 500 signed copies; 400 pages with
introduction by Neil Peart; available at rushbackstage.com.)
Stripes - “Walking With A Ghost” (EP.)
- “Start Static”
Mayer - “Midwinter”
- “See You On The Other Side”
Anderson - “In Elven Lands: The Fellowship” (Singer of the band Yes; inspired
by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien could you tell?)
Amos - “Original Bootleg Series” (12 CD boxset.)
Eurythmics - “Boxed” (8 CD boxset.)
Artists - “Our New Orleans”
Folds - “Live In Perth” (DVD.)
Floyd - “Pulse” (2 DVD set; first time on DVD.)
Man - DVD
Four - DVD
The Monkey - DVD (1994 film; first time on DVD.)
In Lavender - DVD
* Beck - “Guerolito” (Remix album; new date.)
* Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Score.)
* Outkast - “Idlewild” (w/DVD.)
* Howie Day - “Live From...” (6 track EP.)
* Link Wray - “Law Of The Jungle”
* Neil Peart - “Anatomy Of A Drum Solo” (DVD; Rush’s drummer and lyricist.)
* The Island - DVD
* The 40 Year Old Virgin - DVD
* Bad News Bears ‘05 - DVD
* Valiant - DVD
* Guns ‘N Roses - “Welcome To The Jungle: The Very Best of G’NR” (Available
in 1 and 2 CD sets.)
* Ryan Adams - “29”
* Jamie Foxx - “Unpredictable” (yes, the actor.)
* Serenity - DVD
* Four Brothers - DVD
* The Brothers Grimm - DVD
* The Exorcism Of Emily Rose - DVD
* Must Love Dogs - DVD
* Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill - DVD
* Dark Water - DVD
* Grizzly Man - DVD
* Cafe Lumiere - DVD
* Wedding Crashers - DVD
* Broken Flowers - DVD
* The Cave - DVD
* We Are Scientists - “With Love And Squalor”
* The Constant Gardener - DVD
* Red Eye - DVD
* Hustle & Flow - DVD
* Transporter 2 - DVD
* Be Good Tanyas - “TBA”
* Lord Of War - DVD
* Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room - DVD
* The Man - DVD
* Two For The Money - DVD
* Junebug - DVD
* Roseanne Cash - “Black Cadillac”
* The Strokes - “First Impressions Of Earth”
* Yellowcard - “Lights And Sounds”
* Duncan Sheik - “White Limousine”
* Flightplan - DVD
* The Aristocrats - DVD
* Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride - DVD
* A State Of Mind - DVD
* Proof - DVD
* Queensryche - “Operation: Mindcrime II”
* Evanescence - “TBA”
* The Greatest Game Ever Played - DVD
* Live - “Songs From Black Mountain”
LYRIC of the MONTH:
(Actually, this is the whole
song recorded on only a twelve string acoustic guitar by Charlie Sexton.)
Don’t you look
out your window.
Charlie Sexton from the song
“Gospel” off the album Cruel And Gentle Things.
Don’t you peek through
Cause you just might
find the thing that scares you
I ain’t talking about
the devil man.
Ain’t talking about ghost.
Just that shapeless thing
that’s made us sorrows host.
Too much information might
cripple your soul.
The world is challenging
your faith, more than you
If you’re looking for
You better hit your knees.
If you’re asking Jesus,
you better ask him please.
Now everybody’s searching.
So many are lost.
They serve themselves
no matter what the cost.
Yea the path is narrow
and the ground is hard.
No streets of gold, down
here only broken and marred.
A lonely night is a recurring
Empty rooms and not a
word to sing.
So I look to the hymns
when my spirit sinks.
Don’t look for Jesus,
he’s closer than you think.
Now when the preacher
Yea the preacher lied.
He may say you’re damned
but it ain’t he who decides.
And the people shunned
you like some people do.
But the words they spoke,
were as useful as one shoe.
Happiness is a slippery
Like a pig and grease.
Something’s coming and
I hope it’s peace.
Well it’s bound to happen.
I know he understands.
I’m sure that Jesus holds
it in his hands.
Merry Christmas and Happy
New Year everybody!
Be good to each other.