October 4, 2017

Book Notes - Jeffrey Schultz "Civil Twilight"

Civil Twilight

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Jeffrey Schultz's collection Civil Twilight brilliantly captures the power of poetry as political statement in the 21st century.

Library Journal wrote of the book:

"Already the winner of National Poetry Series honors for 2013's What Ridiculous Things We Could Ask of Each Other, polished poet Schultz shows his craft in long, cleanly reticulated lines. ... The title poem is masterly, moving from the 'bland abstract expressionism' of America's landscapes to the 'beauty of transgression,' as demonstrated by 19th-century Parisian rioters and Sixties students, whom Ronald Reagan said he wanted to meet with a bloodbath, to the speaker's absorption in life's superficialities as a friend suffers. VERDICT Weighty but worth it for serious poetry readers."


In his own words, here is Jeffrey Schultz's Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Civil Twilight:



I wrote the poems in this book over a period of about five years, and during that period my relationship to music—and, I think, culture generally—changed pretty substantially. I tend to hear music a lot differently now. The eight poems in the book are long and dense and layered, so I'm going to lean on multiple songs in some cases. This feels a little like cheating, but some of the poems have like three epigraphs, so maybe the sense of excessiveness captures something about the poems themselves.

"Stare Decisis et Non Quieta Movere"

Billy Bragg and Wilco, "California Stars": Woody Guthrie's never-recorded lyrics are set to music by Bragg and Wilco here. This is maybe what the poem would like to say but can't in good conscience say. The song's nostalgic, plaintive longing is almost irresistible, but in Los Angeles today, it all sounds impossibly romantic. Guthrie wrote "This machine kills fascists" on his guitar, but I think we all have to recognize at this point that our musical forms coexist happily with fascism and can even be used to brand it. So far as I know, Trump still plays the Rolling Stones at his rallies; he even used Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" at one point. Reagan used Bruce Springsteen. They all do it. It's hard, and probably quite dangerous, to pretend that there's anything inherently resistant in these forms.

The Clash, "Know Your Rights" & "Car Jammin'": These are the opening tracks from the Clash's finale, Combat Rock. "Know Your Rights" tries as directly as possible in its lyrics to confront the deep contradictions in the distribution of our supposedly universal, supposedly fundamental rights, e.g., "You have the right not to be killed. / Murder is a crime! / Unless it was done / by a policeman / or an aristocrat." Joe Strummer's sneer is in really fine form here. "Car Jammin'" is I think an interesting culmination of the Clash's project of trying to incorporate pop forms from around the world, and is much more successful as a pop synthesis than most of the attempts on Sandinista. The range of reference both in the lyrics and the basic musical material of the song has the effect of collapsing events that are perhaps widely separated in time and space into a single musical moment, a single image. I've tried, through different means, to create a similar effect in the poems in this book. Of course, even the Clash couldn't find forms not amenable to fascism. "Rock the Casbah," from this same album, was the opening song of Armed Forces Radio's in-theater broadcast during the first Gulf War.

"Habeas Corpus"

Arcade Fire, "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)": Though this is one of the last poems in the book I finished, I've had pieces of it floating around since 2004 or 2005, when I was definitely listening to the Arcade Fire's debut, Funeral, pretty incessantly. My Ludditesque tendencies weren't so highly developed back then: I had an iPod and everything and used to listen to this when taking our dog out for a walk on winter mornings in Oregon. My wife and I moved to Michigan in 2006 and the ice images deepened there. I remember thinking that the songs on this album seemed to strain against their own formal confines, seemed to want to shake themselves to pieces and be free of themselves. Of course they couldn't, and in that they seemed more honest about what they were. That feeling of being trapped inside of something beyond our understanding came to be the core of this poem, which also cannot become free, but tries to get closer to glimpsing a vision of what binds it.

"Civil Twilight"

Pixies, "Debaser": For a while I adopted this song as a sort of personal anthem. There's a good deal of hostility in and behind this book. A fair amount of it is directed at certain aspects of poetry itself, but in this poem, Ronald Reagan may get the worst of it. I've always enjoyed this song's the reference to Buñuel and Dalí's Un Chien Andalou. Though I'm not much of a surrealist, I admire surrealism's iconoclastic ethos.

Drugstore, "El Presidente": I can't pretend I'm a good person; I really genuinely enjoyed imagining the detail of Reagan's stagnation into death in this poem. I've listened to this song more than a few times since last November. I just yesterday found myself saying "We even assassinated a president once," where "we" meant anarchists. Obviously some careful backpedalling and clarification was necessary. Everyone carries listening devices on them these days. I'm not going to be assassinating or attempting to assassinate anyone. Not really my speed. But I like how the chorus in this song sounds like it could almost drift off toward somewhere where things are entirely otherwise.

"Deleted Scene"

Grant Lee Buffalo, "Sing Along": This is the most direct connection between a song and a poem in this book, though there's no direct reference in the poem to the song. I've been fascinated by the scope of this song since the mid-90s, when I first heard it. Grant-Lee Phillips's lyrics—and this is similar to what the Clash were able to accomplish in "Car Jammin'"—sometimes manage to collapse great expanses of time and space into a single, luminous line or verse: "Man built a furnace, / A Mercedes Benz. / Man built the cities of / Kansas and Berlin." Or "Man built a market, / For Mohammed Ali, / Evel Knievel and the legacy / of John Wayne / Gacy, Gacy." The chorus gets at the heart of the problem: a soaring and perfectly harmonious declaration that the singer cannot sing along. Lovely as it sounds, it has nowhere to go at that point, which I think means it points toward something true, even if it can't say anything about it.

"Offering of Two Burning Calves"

Dolly Parton, "9 to 5": It would make a lot of sense to point to Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" here, but, as I allude to in the poem, I've always hated that song. This poem is concerned with having to push a car that's broken down in traffic. I've had my share of unreliable cars, but had a particular 1964 Ford Galaxie—by far the heaviest car I ever had to push—in mind here. "Me and Bobby McGee" pretends it's found freedom in destitution and thereby degrades the image of freedom to an image of destitution; Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" pretends the oppressiveness of the everyday is something we should bop along happily to as we struggle to survive it. This is the cardinal sin of all work songs, a genre I have a soft spot for, particularly this one. I love the mimicry of typewriter sounds, an updated echo of the hammer and rock mimicry of earlier chain gang and coal mining songs. For how many more generations will we even be able to hear such references? Can we now? Seems to me that we've now largely let such mimicry go; we've let the computers that so structure the horror of the everyday take over the production of music wholesale. Because they sound exactly like themselves, there's no more difference to tell.

"Sort of Like, Um, the Falcon & the Falconer or Whatever, but Sort of Not"

The Velvet Underground, "Who Loves the Sun?": I've also always had a soft spot for songs that indulge that most basic formal irony of pairing a straightforward, upbeat, major key verse-chorus-verse with "sad" lyrics. This poem maybe tries to play around with and reverse certain aspects of that formula: it tries to draw out, against the pull of their own gravity within the negative form of the poem's imagination, images of something like social happiness that are in reality nothing but the delusions of mass conformity.

Hole, "Rock Star," a.k.a., "Olympia": Speaking of the delusions of mass conformity, I really have to thank the 90s of my adolescence for orienting me to these at an early age. With all the new technologies of media distribution and the progressive splintering of what once seemed like movements into mere styles that might be reassembled in any number of supposedly novel configurations, it hardly seems possible anymore to have a moment like we did in the early 90s, when both rock and hip hop became newly hostile to what their genres had hardened into. Of course, this was really only another return to the punk or roots moment in the cycle of popular styles, but now that cycle seems to have been endlessly interrupted, perpetually layered on top itself over and again; everything now is available all the time and style has become far more a matter of personalization. If that sounds like it has freed us from conformity, freed us to become our individual selves, I'm certain nothing could be further from the truth: conformity is a matter of adopting a supposedly personal style, and this has been made inescapable: even stylelessness has been made a style. There's no position outside the whole.

But anyway, Hole and Courtney Love in particular were treated terribly. When I was in high school and playing guitar and in a band, all guitar playing high school boys had to agree that Love had no business even trying; this was part of the price of admission to the fraternity of guitar playing high school boys. Obviously, she was better, infinitely better, than any of us, but we refused to even listen. I secretly liked the Hole songs I heard (though I did not seek them out on my own), but felt I couldn't admit it much. Hole deserves credit.

"Resolution in Loving Memory of Sky & Gooseflesh"

Beethoven's Grosse Fuge in B♭Major, Op. 133: I think, at the end of the day, there's something fugue-like about all of the poems in this book. This poem and the final poem are probably the most conscious of this fugue-like aspect, are probably the most densely and complexly interwoven, but all of the poems strive toward something like the development of complex and contradictory thematic simultaneity. Beethoven's tremendous Grosse Fuge is certainly beyond this poem, but it's maybe the sort of thing the poem aspires to. I listen to this piece often, and struggle to hear it more and more fully. More and more, in the poems in this book, and certainly in the poems I've been working on since completing this book, I've become interested in forms that are too large to fully grasp in any single moment, but that are nonetheless whole and unified. In a totalized global social system such as ours, it seems to me that such forms still have some ability to reflect something of the objectivity of our experience.

"& Plays It One More Time, with Feeling, in the Rotating Piano Bar atop the Grand Hotel Abyss"

The Coup, "Laugh, Love, Fuck": This song has essentially nothing to do with this poem, which wants to be a song all of its own terms, but it does maybe speak to my own state of mind when I completed the poem.

Jeffrey Schultz and Civil Twilight links:

excerpt from the book (the title poem)

HuffPost review
Library Journal review
The Millions review

Fogged Clarity review by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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October 4, 2017

Excerpt: "Listening to Rumours" by Todd Pasternack from This Message is Undeliverable: Writers Respond to Trump


“Listening to Rumours” by Todd Pasternack


Dysfunction. Threats. Turmoil unfolding on the world stage. It sounds like the state of the West Wing, sure, but it’s also an accurate description of the recording sessions from Fleetwood Mac’s best-selling album Rumours. The West Wing and Fleetwood Mac are two separate groups—“bands,” if you will—though only one of them has the professionalism, talent, and self-awareness to rise above even their darkest moments to come together in support of their overall message. The other does not. Not even close.

THE CHAIN

Fans are vital to keeping a band advancing and progressing throughout its career. While bands and music artists may not create their songs solely based on how they think their audience will respond to them, they do use fans’ reactions to the music as signals to inform them of “what’s working” and “what’s not working.” Whether in terms of number of streams, downloads, or ticket sales, bands are ultimately in the service of their audience. It’s the uniting force. Fleetwood Mac knew they could build on top of the positive reaction to their 1975 self-titled album to create an album like Rumours, pulling from a confidence only acquired by being completely aligned with their fans and themselves.

As leader of his band, President Trump seems completely content to ignore his audience, the citizens of the United States. And this is where the chaos originates from. Ousted chief strategist and bandmate to the President Steve Bannon was not thinking about servicing this audience, either. He was always more interested in rewriting the playbook for American governance without regard for its eventual, disastrous outcome on everyday Americans—not to mention the rest of the world—if implemented. The most frightening component of this mindset is not that he wasn’t thinking about how his decisions and thinking would impact the world. He was. He just had zero regard for anyone. He was playing a private show to an audience of one: himself. Maybe two, if you included his former boss, the President of the United States, though even that’s iffy. Imagine back in 1977 that instead of connecting to tens-of-thousands of devoted fans each night in stadiums across the world, Fleetwood Mac had just packed up their gear, shawls, and cocaine, and then played for five days straight at an empty Denny’s in Dubuque, with the doors locked and the windows curtained.

The President shares what was Bannon’s mindset of singularity of audience, and perhaps this is why behavior of this sort is still running rampant in the West Wing: it’s acceptable, it starts at the top, and the entire Trump band is simply following the leader. Fortunately, the government is designed to operate slowly so that it’s not completely driven by a single voice. It was created to foster debate, promote the sharing of ideas, and bring the voice of the people into the mix.

While recording Rumours—featuring mastermind talent Lindsay Buckingham, proficient songsters Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, perfect bottom-end support from John McVie, and the drive of band leader Mick Fleetwood—even loud, opinionated, genius, ego-driven rivals worked in an open way, collaboratively creating throughout the sessions. The band even leaned on engineers Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat at times for feedback on their takes—which went far beyond typical mixing duties. The band needed outside perspective, the “ears of a listener.” And through that ability to listen, respond, and embrace new ideas—the best ideas—they created a masterpiece.

GO YOUR OWN WAY

Sean Spicer spent his seven months singing what seemed like a completely different song from what the President was singing—or rather tweeting—almost every day. With Melissa McCarthy now owning our memory of Spicer, Scaramucci an unexplainable blip, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders as one of the only “backup singers of the President,” all signs point to this band’s continuation towards a major break up. Even Jeff Sessions is also caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s unhinged emotional frailty for recusing himself from the Russia investigation—or, rather, for following the rule of law. Reince Preibus, James Comey, Sally Yates, and others were all dragged off the stage. Michael Dubke, Walter Shaub, and Sebastian Gorka seem to have quit the band.

John Kelly has an almost impossible and unrealistic job ahead of him. Can he bring order to the White House staff and cabinet? Can he institute discipline and organization to unify the administration? Even Stevie Nicks has been known to say: you never miss a Fleetwood Mac rehearsal; the band comes before everything. Contrast that to Trump’s White House, where you never go against the President and his ideas come first. And if you do say something contrarian, you may want to turn off Twitter for the next decade. Will Kelly be able to appease his boss, accumulate buy-in across the cabinet, find advocates and champions in Congress, and reign in the contentious tone blaring out of the White House? This is an impossible and unrealistic job under the conditions in which Kelly is playing. He’s under constant scrutiny from President Trump to show loyalty and support for Trump’s meandering, unpredictable, and narcissistic messaging—irrespective of what the rest of the band members are trying to play. It’s a session filled with players in isolation booths, each creating their own noise, following a conductor with a smartphone for a baton and no sheet music.

It’s no secret that Christine and John McVie were completely avoiding each other throughout the sessions for Rumours. Lindsay and Stevie were fighting all of the time. Their relationships were volatile and irreparable, but their professionalism was unshakeable. When the “record” button was pushed on the 3M 24-track machine at the Record Plant in Sausalito, a switch turned on inside the artists. Pushing all differences away for the take, Buckingham and Nicks would intimately sing their background parts together on the same microphone. As if they were a single instrument, they blended their voices and followed each other’s dynamic changes.

OH DADDY

By the time Rumours was recorded, Fleetwood Mac was managing themselves with Mick Fleetwood at the helm. It's possible being autonomous as a band helped them navigate through tough musical and business decisions throughout the sessions and the seemingly endless world touring immediately following Rumours' release. It was the interests of the five of them as a single unit that took precedence over everything else, all in an effort to maintain Fleetwood Mac as a band and as a brand.

Trump made a calculated move bringing Ivanka and Jared into his administration. He’s trying to create the semblance of a sustaining band. This may ultimately prove to be a win for him, while not ideal for the American people. Trump accomplished two important objectives for himself in doing this: Ivanka and Jared help advance the Trump brand and its businesses on the world stage using the leverage of the oval office, and they are representative of “loyalty through family” for Trump. Cabinet members may come and go, but Trump recognizes his family is bound to him and he uses that to his advantage. It’s no different than the power of “band” when it acts singularly. A band’s devotion to preserve and maintain a mindset for this must be unwavering and even obstinate for it to work.

SECOND HAND NEWS

Loyalty and dedication to their music is what kept Fleetwood Mac together longer than seems possible with any band’s career. It was not the strength of their interpersonal relationships. Rather, they united around servicing the songs they created together. The band was bigger than any one of them on their own and they recognized that. Even through all of the amplified reflections of their personal lives in the rock and roll media at the time, Fleetwood Mac surfaced stronger as a band almost in spite of everything. The Trump White House should listen up and learn something from the Mac’s success in navigating emotion and negative media coverage to remain professional in order to produce something great for its audience.

With Trump’s current line-up, there’s almost no hope for multi-platinum success, a hit, or even a single. The White House’s audience is dwindling because of that. Even the fans who bought the bootlegged, Chinese-made “Make America Great Again” T-shirts after the show may not come back for the next tour. Maybe this is what happens when a solo artist tries to start a band.


Todd Pasternack is the author of Lessons From the Road: Musicians as Business Leaders, forthcoming in October 2017 from Archer Books. This essay is excerpted from This Message is Undeliverable: Writers Respond to Trump, forthcoming in October 2017 from Rare Bird Books. Used with permission of Rare Bird Books. Copyright © 2017 by Rare Bird Books.

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Shorties (National Book Award Finalists, Tom Petty Covers, and more)

The finalists for the 2017 National Book Awards have been announced.


BrooklynVegan shared 18 covers of Tom Petty songs.

Cloakroom covered Tom Petty's "You Don’t Know How It Feels."

Stream and/or download 25 covers of Tom Petty songs at Largehearted Boy.


Vol. 1 Brooklyn previewed October's best new books.


Ryan Adams covered Tegan and Sara's "Back in Your Head."


Tor.com recommended obscure horror fiction.


Stream a new St. Vincent song.


The Literary Hub podcast interviewed travel writer Jan Morris.


C-ville Weekly profiled singer-songwriter Joan Shelley.


Flavorwire shared an excerpt from Paul M. Sammon's book Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner.


Stream a new Breeders song (their first new music since 2009).


The Guardian profiled poet Ocean Vuong.


Stream a new Selene Vigil (of 7 Year Bitch) song.


The winners of the 2017 Dayton Literary Peace Prize have been announced.



eBook on sale for $1.99 today: Claire Fuller's novel Swimming Days.


Stream a new Boys (AKA Nora Karlsson) song.


Jeffrey Eugenides talked books and reading with Literary Hub.


Cultured Vultures previewed October's best new music.


Cynan Jones has been awarded the BBC National Short Story Award for "The Edge of the Shoal."


Stream a new version of Sharon Van Etten's "i wish i knew."


The OTHERPPL podcast interviewed author Ayobami Adebayo.


October's best eBook deals.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

October 3, 2017

Book Notes - Josh Weil "The Age of Perpetual Light"

The Age of Perpetual Light

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Josh Weil's once again proves himself a master storyteller in his brilliant short fiction collection The Age of Perpetual Light.

Kirkus wrote of the book:

"A rich, often dazzling collection of short stories linked by themes while ranging widely in style from Babel-like fables to gritty noir and sci-fi.... engrossing, persuasively detailed and written with a deep affection for the way language can, in masterful hands, convey us to marvelous new worlds."


In his own words, here is Josh Weil's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection The Age of Perpetual Light:



I've always thought a story collection was similar to an album, so putting this together felt completely natural. Maybe it's just showing my age, but I first turned into music—my brother's at first, and then my own—in the late '80s and early '90s, and back then you'd buy a cassette tape and there was no skipping around from song to song, no picking out a single song (you listened to the album and you listened to it in order, and that was how it was made to be experienced) and I still prefer to listen to entire albums that way. I prefer to read story collections that way, too. The Age of Perpetual Light certainly works best that way—honestly, almost requires being read that way. The first and last story are linked, but in ways that are most powerful if experienced as bookends. And the rest of the stories move through over a century in chronological order but, more importantly, build the themes of the book and complicate them as we move on s that they begin to take on different tones, different angles, different meanings. Much as an album, created out of some concern in the artist's life at the time, will churn through a theme, an idea, a feeling, getting at it in ways that are both distinct and create a more complete whole.

For this book—this album of stories—the animating idea was the way that humankind has tried, throughout its history, to decrease the amount of darkness in the world and increase the amount of light, both metaphorically (our pursuit of progress and knowledge) and actually. Beginning at the dawn of the past century, in the early days of electrification, and moving into an imagined future in which the world is lit day and night, each tale in The Age of Perpetual Light follows its characters through a different era in American history: from a Jewish dry goods peddler who falls in love with an Amish woman while showing her the wonders of an Edison Lamp to a 1940 farmers' uprising against the unfair practices of a power company; from a Serbian immigrant teenage boy in 1990's Vermont desperate to catch a glimpse of an experimental satellite to a back-to-the-land couple forced to grapple with their daughter's autism during winter's longest night. Through it all, I try to explore our most complex and fraught desires, focusing on the all-too-human aspiration for advancement and the struggle of wounded hearts to find a salve, no matter what the cost.

1.) "Gypsy Hora and Sirba" from Doyres (Generations): traditional Klezmer Recordings 1979-1994 by Zev Feldman and Andy Statman

"No Flies, No Folly" is set in rural Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century, but its heart is back in Russia, in the Pale of Settlement, because that's where it's protagonists' heart still lies—much as he tries to pry it away. He's a Jewish peddler—first on foot, then on horseback, then in a cart—and there's a repetitive, driving, almost plodding rhythm to this song that just seems to fit his life to me, his wandering all day, every day, for months on end, from farm to farm.

2.) "Sail on, Little Girl, Sail On" from Blues in my Bottle by Lightnin' Hopkins

This might seem an odd choice for "Long Bright Line", a story about a girl (she's a child when it starts) who becomes a woman (she's in her seventies by the time it ends) who rebels against the constraints society places on her, primarily through her determination to push at the boundaries of what's acceptable for a woman to do—especially in terms of the selfishness and focus it takes to be an artist. But the rolling quality here, the ceaseless slide of it forward and forward, the sail on repeated over and over: it all fits the feeling of the story. There's a kind of headlong plunge the story takes through the years that, I hope, feels drive by the world turning as by what the protagonist, Clara, does. But what she does also drives her away from family and love, and so the lyrics here feel right too:

Sail on, sail on little girl sail on
Well you know you gonna keep on sailing
Till you lose your happy home

3.) "Which Side Are You On?" from The House Carpenter's Daughter by Natalie Merchant

"The Essential Constituent of Modern Living Standards" isn't a union story so much as a commune story, it isn't industrial and manufacturing, but, instead, about farming. Still, it's wholly about the collective, and a community's attempt to stand up the bullying of big business (in this case a power company), and it's set in the 40s, when unions were coming into their own. Finally, it's a story about a battle, a story full of fight, and I know no better song for that than this.

4.) "Dear Mrs. Touma" from Field Day by Dag Nasty.

We shift gears here—and leap ahead in time. "Angle of Reflection" is set some 50 years after "Essential Constituent", but it has a communal aspect, too—if a smaller community. It's about four boys, high school friends, who hang out together at night at an abandoned concrete mixing plant out in rural Vermont, smoking pot and dreaming of escape from their quiet lives. Except that one of the boys has already escaped from a much worse, more violent past than any of the other three have ever known. And what he does, at their urging, changes his life—and theirs—forever. In the end, the story, told from the point of view of one of the boys who feels the most guilt, is about the loss of someone, the collapse of a cluster of friends and a time of innocence. And for that reason this story, about the death of a friend, feels right. That and, way back when I was in high school, hanging out at an old concrete plant and night with my buddies, this is exactly what I was listening to.

5.) "Even if Love" from Master and Everyone by Bonnie Prince Billy

I just love the mixture of emotions that this songs captures: there's a darkness and sense of foreboding in it, a near creepiness, and yet a tenderness, too, a love-filled feeling—just amazing, haunting. Everything I wanted "The Point of Roughness" to be. And this stanza fits the story so perfectly:

And love will protect you

To the edge of the wood

Then a monster will get you

And love does no good

6.) "Blue Miss Sunday" from If You Forget Me by Devics

I'm just a sad girl

Some say a blue girl

I wanna be a new girl

Is that so bad

The main character in "Beautiful Ground" seems to be asking this the whole story; it's what drives the story—her need to break the malaise that has settled over her and her marriage, to push it (her, them) into a new place, to shift them into new people. There's a dangerousness to this story that is driven by sadness, a risk-taking that is all about trying to break away from what daily life has become. Not to mention a sexiness, a sultriness. Of which this song has plenty.

7.) "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" from Forever Blue by Chris Isaac

But the previous story doesn't hold a candle to "The First Bad Thing" when it comes to sexiness (at least according to my wife). This is probably the most sex-driven, heat-propelled story I've ever written and there's good reason for it: I wrote it when I was living alone in the western desert of Egypt, in a little town, wholly isolated for half a year. Also, it was inspired by my first serious relationship, when I was still a teen, with a woman who blew open my world. So it's rooted in a kind of wildness, in an embrace of that, and in an insistence in clinging to badness in ourselves, to the things we can't know and maybe shouldn't, to the dark corners of our hearts and pasts that might just also be the things that kindle the biggest flames between us. There's no subtlety here when it comes to that. No more than Chris Isaac brings to this. But there is fun, a lot of it. And that's the other thing Isaac brings to his ballads, a sense of sheer pleasure in the crooning, in the full-out "come to me" call of it.

8.) "Forn Forstu Fun Mir Avek (You leave to travel far from me)" from Ashkenaz Songs II: Work and Revolution by Zahava Seewald & Psamim

Just the title of this song would be enough to make it fit "Hello from Here", a story that brings us back around to the Jewish-Russian peddler in the first story, but before he leaves for America, when he is fresh from abandoning his family and everything about life he's ever known, waiting for a ship to take him even farther away. But add to it the specifics of this line—"You go, and I pray heaven that you will not be drafted into the Tsar's army"—and there could just be no other song to fit the story. Especially since the tone is so spot on, the low, eerie, notes rumbling beneath the wistful, yearning voice: it's everything I want from the story and, in the end, the entire book, wrapped up in this sad, beautiful, somehow tense and dramatic and yet sweetly soft piece of music. I can only hope the collection might leave a reader in as mesmerized and thoughtful a place as this song always leaves me.


Josh Weil and The Age of Perpetual Light links:

the author's website

Kirkus review
Publishers Weekly review

Largehearted Boy playlist by the author for his novel The Great Glass Sea
Largehearted Boy Book Notes essay by the author for The New Valley


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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Book Notes - Peter Stamm "To the Back of Beyond"

To the Back of Beyond

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Peter Stamm's novel To the Back of Beyond is a brilliant examination of freedom and rejuvenation.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:

"Stamm's superb descriptions of alpine nature and internal human conflict (Thomas, wandering through the Alps, often reflects on his wife and family fondly but doesn’t want to return home) are aided by Hofmann's excellent translation. Even when Thomas’s actions cause pain for those he has promised to love, his introspection makes his impulse to walk away from everything less condemnable. This is a moving work about freedom and wanting."


In his own words, here is Peter Stamm's Book Notes music playlist for his novel To the Back of Beyond:



I have a playlist on iTunes that's called "Arbeitsmusik," or "Working Music." It consists of a lot of Keith Jarret, some tango, and some classical music. But when I started to work on To the Back of Beyond, a story that is told from two different points of view by two interlaced voices, I immediately thought of the fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach. So that was my main playlist writing the book.

Bach, "Great" Fugue in G minor, BWV 542

The working title of my book was "Fugue" at first, as I tried a play with different voices that come close to the beauty and perfect construction of Bach's fugues.

Thomas, one of my main protagonists, is wandering through the countryside for most of the book. So of course I thought about the German Romantic literature that has influenced me deeply. To me the greatest poet of the German language is Joseph von Eichendorff, and when I think of his poems, I always hear the music of Schubert and Schumann, for example:

Robert Schumann, "Mondnacht" or "Zwielicht" (Twylight)

I don't know why the Romantics started to interest me a few years ago, but perhaps it is because they lived in a time not so different from ours, a time of big technological changes and at the same time a strengthening of the irrational.

I usually have a hard time finding titles for my novels. Good places to hunt for titles are the Bible, Shakespeare and, in the case of this book, I turned again to Eichendorff. I found my title in the wonderful poem "Im Abendrot," that was used by Richard Strauss for the last of his "Four Last Songs".

Richard Strauss, "Im Abendrot"

Writing is all about moods. The music I listen to while I'm writing has no other duty than to put me in a certain mood (sorry, musicians). When I write I forget the music after a while and don't even realize when it stops. Music that puts me in the mood for my last book came from, among others, Dino Saluzzi, an Argentinian tango musician.

Dino Saluzzi, Andina

As Thomas is outside for most of the book, he does not listen to much music. At some point he completely stops hearing music as he sees it as a mere distraction from the really important things (Sorry again, musicians). But once when he is on an abandoned alp in autumn, he hears from afar the "Alpsegen," that is the nightly prayer that to this day the herders sing in the Alps at nightfall. You won't find that on CDs, but on YouTube there are some videos like this one from close to where I grew up:



To appreciate the beauty of this very special music, you probably have to be in the mountains and far from civilization.

Much of the music in the book is probably the music of nature, bird song, the sounds of rain and wind, water dripping and flowing, and the sounds of silence.


Peter Stamm and To the Back of Beyond links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry

Financial Times review
Guardian review
New Statesman review
Publishers Weekly review
Spectator review

Economist profile of the author
Granta interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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Shorties (Roz Chast Interviewed, An Excerpt from a New Lou Reed Biography, and more)

Roz Chast discussed her new book Going Into Town with Fresh Air.


Rolling Stone shared an excerpt from Anthony DeCurtis's book Lou Reed: A Life.


The 2017 Giller Prize shortlist has been announced.


Stream a new Rural Alberta Advantage song.


R.I.P., Tom Petty.

Rolling Stone listed his greatest songs.


Full Stop interviewed author Gabrielle Calvocoressi.


Stream a new Daphni (Caribou's Dan Snaith) song.


Literary Hub and Book Riot recommended October's best new books.


Paste recapped September's best albums.


The Guardian Books podcast interviewed Nicole Krauss and Orhan Pamuk.


Stream two new songs by The World.


Publishers Weekly profiled Lumberjanes' author Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Brooklyn Allen


Paste profiled singer-songwriter Luke Elliot.


Banned Books Week listed poetry collections that have been banned.


The Quietus debuted a new column about pop music.


The Millions recommended October's must-read poetry collections.


Stereogum interviewed singer-songwriter Jessica Lea Mayfield.


The Believer interviewed poet Ishion Hutchinson.


Aquarium Drunkard Transmissions podcast interviewed Hiss Golden Messenger's M.C. Taylor.


October's best eBook deals.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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October 2, 2017

Book Notes - Adam Gussow "Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition"

Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Adam Gussow's Beyond the Crossroadsis a fascinating exploration of the devil in American blues music.

William Ferris wrote of the book:

"At once affable and frightening, the devil is forever partnered with the blues. Beyond the Crossroads is a beautifully written exploration of what Adam Gussow calls 'the blues' most malleable, dynamic, and important personage.' This is a work of exquisite detail."


In his own words, here is Adam Gussow's Book Notes music playlist for his book Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition:



My recently published study, Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition, began with my surprised discovery, back in 2006, that no such book existed. Most people were familiar, of course, with the phrase "the devil's music" and the mythology surrounding Robert Johnson's deal at the crossroads. A few online discographers had pulled together Top-10 lists of devil-blues songs. But nobody had assembled a complete discography, addressed the religious, cultural, and sociohistorical contexts, then drawn some broader conclusions about the way in which the tradition had evolved over the decades. So that's what I set out to do.

I brought to the task not just my background as a blues scholar, but my experience as a blues musician: since the mid-1980s I've been the harmonica-playing half of a duo called Satan and Adam, partnered with a Mississippi-born guitarist/vocalist/percussionist named Sterling "Mr. Satan" Magee. Back in 1998 I published a memoir about our Harlem streetside relationship entitled Mister Satan's Apprentice; although I mentioned Magee only briefly in Beyond the Crossroads, my understandings of the dispute between preachers and bluesmen was informed by his coruscating cynicism about ministerial greed and hypocrisy.

I began this project by tracking down more than 125 different blues recordings that invoke the devil and/or his hellish home. (Hell is sometimes a way in which black southern blues singers signify on the evils of Jim Crow—or so I argue.) I added a sprinkling of sermons, jazz, and gospel recordings that treat the same theme. One surprise: although the 1920s and 1930s were peak years for devil-blues songs, there's been a notable surge in the new millennium—a result, I speculate, of several different dynamics, including increased interest in crossroads mythology thanks to Robert Johnson's renewed popularity and, in the aftermath of 9/11, a sense among some that we've entered a new Dark Ages in which Good and Evil are struggling for dominance.

Here are fourteen essential devil blues songs, in chronological order:

Clara Smith, "Done Sold My Soul to the Devil" (1924)
The very first devil-blues recording is set not at a Mississippi crossroads, but in an urban locale during the Jazz Age. It's a prostitute's lament but also a modern woman's brash, prideful declaration that she has broken all the way bad.

Sippie Wallace, "Devil Dance Blues" (1925)
The 1920s in New York City were marked by a moral crusade against so-called "devil dance dens," bustling dance halls where lonely men paid "taxi girls" ten cents per dance. Here the Texas-born Wallace offers a dream vision—now fearful, now wistful--where a sweet, tempting devil in a "robe…made of gold" puts on a "great big show."

Bessie Smith, "Devil's Gonna Get You (1928)
Smith, the daughter of a Baptist preacher in Chattanooga, was both a brilliant blues singer and a sexual dynamo who, according to scholar Jana Evans Braziel, was "philandering, infidelitous, unreliable, unfaithful, and perverse" in a way that enraged her jealous husband, Jack Gee. In this recording she condemns a faithless lover by summoning the devil with a preacher's stern judgmentalism. "I don't want no two-time stuff…from my regular man," she sings. "The devil's gonna get you…just as sure as you are born." Change "man" to "woman" and she's singing Jack's song, not hers.

Lonnie Johnson, "She's Making Whoopee in Hell Tonight" (1930)
Johnson—no relation to Robert—recorded half a dozen devil-blues, all of them informed by a rage that seemed grounded in his own failed marriage. His wife, blues singer Mary Johnson, gave him one child a year for six straight years, then abandoned him. (It's hard to blame her; while she'd been producing and nurturing children, he'd been touring with—and sleeping with—Bessie Smith.) "You'll be making whoopee in hell with the devil tomorrow night," Johnson sang, bitterly. Whew.

Peetie Wheatstraw, "Devil's Son-in-Law" (1931)
Although most black southern bluesmen insisted that blues was not the devil's music and that the term was slander leveled by ministers and parents, Wheatstraw defiantly embraced the charge. But there's a catch: since the devil was sometimes a way of gesturing at the evil southern white man, the black bluesman who called himself the devil's son-in-law was slyly claiming that he was sleeping with the devil's (white) daughter: an incendiary brag indeed. Wheatstraw lived what he sang: he had a white woman on his arm and a little white dog on a chain that he promenaded daily through East St. Louis, to the amusement of his fans, black male migrants from the South who knew what a dangerous game he was playing.

Skip James, "Devil Got My Woman" (1931)
James's haunting song invokes the devil, as some devil-blues do, in contradictory ways. He'd "rather be the devil," he insists, "than to be that woman's man," but "nothing but the devil" he also argues, "changed my baby's mind." The devil is both an aspirational ideal and a malicious antagonist. Black southern blues people trying to make sense of their complicated romantic lives on the post-Emancipation landscape turned to the devil as an all-purpose totem.

Robert Johnson, "Hell Hound on My Trail" (1937)
Forget everything you think you know about this "tortured" and "haunted" Delta artist. A playful, irreverent, and lusty young modernist, he sings in the second verse of this song about how "If today was Christmas Eve and tomorrow was Christmas day," all he'd need was his "little rider"—his lover—"just to pass the time away." "Aw, wouldn't we have a time, baby" he chuckles as a spoken aside. This is flagrant sacrilege—and pretty good game.

Big Bill Broonzy, "Hell Ain't But a Mile and a Quarter" (1938)
This relatively unknown song by the well-known Broonzy signifies pointedly on the idea of a Jim Crowed southern town just a short walk across the tracks, harshly unfriendly to black men, where you "will have to obey the devil's orders" and accept "brimstone for water." In the final verse, the singer insists he's going to marry the devil's daughter, then boot the devil and "rule this hell myself."

Cousin Leroy Rozier, "Crossroads" (1957)
Although Rozier is far less well known than Robert Johnson, his "Crossroads" does what none of Johnson's celebrated recordings actually do: sketch a scenario in which the bluesman goes to the crossroads, meets the devil, and is instructed in how to play the guitar. Johnson arguably gestures at such mythology; Rozier serves it up hot.

Jerry McCain, "My Deal at the Crossroads" (2000)
Once Robert Johnson's Collected Recordings (1990) had thrust the Delta legend back into the public eye with a vengeance, other blues artists began not just to cover his songs, but to update the mythology associated with him. Alabama bluesman McCain revisits the crossroads after making "a deal with the devil for the woman I love" and finds "nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine black cat bones all stacked up in one pile." Scary!

Popa Chubby, "Somebody Let the Devil Out" (2002)
Ted Horowitz, a.k.a. Popa Chubby, is a New York City blues-rock guitar shredder; I knew him as a fellow busker who worked the World Trade Center area back in the mid-1980s. He wrote "Somebody Let the Devil Out" to convey the shock we all felt when the towers went down on that fateful day.

Denise LaSalle, "Hell Sent Me You" (2007)
LaSalle, native of Belzoni, Mississippi, the Delta's catfish capital, has long been a brassy, truthtelling elder on the soul-blues scene. This track, with its cheerful disco beat, shows hope shredding into despair, then hardening into the sort of burning revenge that energizes blues people. "I was looking for a good man, someone honest and true," she sings angrily, as though pronouncing final judgment. "I prayed to heaven…oh, but hell sent me you."

Jason Ricci and New Blood, "Done With the Devil" (2008)
The devil of the new millennium services white blues singers, too—including my friend Jason Ricci, the best blues harmonica player of his generation. He had a substance abuse problem for a while, one that led him briefly to wander the streets of New Orleans half-naked, selling his ass for crack and abandoning his soul into the bargain. He's much better now, it would seem. But the devil is always there, ready to jump. This song speaks to that.

Anthony Gomes, "The Blues Ain't the Blues No More" (2015)
Gomes, a blues-rocker from the Robert Plant school of hyper-emotive vocal stylings, isn't to everybody's taste. He knows that and relishes his role as a late modernist, here to yank the rug out from underneath your tired clichés about, for example, the devil and the crossroads.


Adam Gussow and Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition links:

the author's Wikipedia entry

Ole Miss News interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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Book Notes - James Grady and Keir Graff "Montana Noir"

Montana Noir

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Montana Noir is yet another impressive anthology in the Akashic Books series.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"Terrific...Montana Noir is one of the high points in Akashic's long-running and justly celebrated Noir series...Editors Grady and Graff's selections...are all sharply attuned to their settings and to the ways those varying landscapes reflect the darkness within the people who walk the streets or drive the country roads."


In his own words, here is Keir Graff and James Grady's Book Notes music playlist for their anthology Montana Noir:




Playlist for Montana Noir with Liner Notes


Keir: My tastes have always run to noir, even when I was a better songwriter than prose writer. I loved the story songs of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, and when I became a father, I used to serenade my little sons with folk songs about hangings, shipwrecks, and other kinds of misery and misfortune. (The tunes were always pretty!) Creating a playlist for Montana Noir was a challenge, though—of my vast collection, which songs best matched up with the stories? Because Jim and I have different catalogs of music playing in our heads, we thought it would be fun to offer an A-side and a B-side for each story.

Jim: I was a boy when rock ‘n' roll exploded into our global culture. That wondrous music's fusion of beat, melody, and story won my soul, but it wasn't until one night walking into my sophomore Montana college dorm room and hearing "Hey, Joe," by either Jimi Hendrix or Johnny Rivers, that I realized the music I loved and the kind of fiction I was yearning to write could walk and rock the same noir street. The biggest problem Keir and I had was culling the thousand-plus perfect songs for Montana Noir down to one song apiece per story. But what a wonderful opportunity to share and enjoy the forces in all our lives.

Spotify playlists: Grady / Graff
You Tube playlists: Grady / Graff

Introduction

Jim: "Atlantic City," by Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen is the great American author of my generation—those of us who were in junior high or high school when JFK was shot, and then about to enter or just entering "the real world" when Nixon fled the law in a government helicopter. "Atlantic City" isn't just about trouble in a New Jersey, it's about the chaos, catastrophes, and choices we all confront. Some time in our lives, we all have a "meet me tonight" moment. That is the heart and soul of noir.

Keir: "Gun Show," by Bobby Bare, Jr.
This haunting tune, seemingly about a stickup gone wrong, is the perfect scene-setter for our tales of bad luck and desperation. "I was calling out your name / To help when the bullets came" is rendered even more poignant by the deceased narrator's recognition that " . . . my girls are gonna wonder why / Why did my daddy have to die / And does he hear us when we cry?" Bobby Bare, Jr. is an underappreciated national treasure.

"Red, White, and Butte," by David Abrams

Jim: "I Feel So Good," by Richard Thompson
London-born, globe-conquering RT transcends justified labels like "wonderful songwriter" or "best guitar player ever," a funny, brilliant, insightful genius whose song here completely gets the self-image of David's Butte-born narrator: "I feel so good I'm gonna break somebody's heart tonight / I feel so good I'm gonna take someone apart tonight." Admit it: most of us have surged with those feelings one time or another in our lives (some of us more), and David's remarkably real and thus believable "hero" in Butte has the ethos of that song banging inside his skull.

Keir: "Search and Destroy," by the Stooges
"I'm a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm," opens this song, capturing for me the bad mission of Abrams' National Guardsman who returns from Iraq bent on becoming "Widow Comforter" to wife of the soldier he killed. Later, the "world's forgotten boy" yelps "somebody gotta save my soul"—something our antihero is vainly hoping the widow will do. Iggy Pop's inspiration was another ill-conceived American conflict, Vietnam.

"Constellations," by Caroline Patterson

Jim: "American Pie," by Don Maclean
Caroline's wonderful coming-of-age story drops her teenage heroine into Montana's real-life "modern" coming-of-age Constitutional Convention in 1972—the same exact time that Don McLean's mystifying ode about America's Vietnam era's own coming-of-age dominated the radio and was widely discussed by the real life Con Con staffers Caroline portrays. Both the song and her subtle, strong storytelling take us back to when fundamental questions of how we should live filled our daily lives with unavoidable, powerful, lasting effects. A more perfect fit of song-to-story is hard to imagine, driving any Chevy to the levy.

Keir: "Save Me," by Aimee Mann
"You look like a perfect fit / For a girl in need of a tourniquet," sings Mann—an almost perfect echo of Patterson's heroine's quest. Traumatized by sexual abuse, Elizabeth wants to stop her emotional bleeding by losing her virginity on her own terms. The bittersweet tone of the song matches tone of the hard-won partial victory in "Constellations."

"Ace in the Hole," by Eric Heidle

Jim: "Lawyers Guns and Money," by Warren Zevon
Eric's compelling story sounds like a lost track of that Warren Zevon album that haunts you, and thus in subject, sensibilities, soul, and savagery, the great transcendental noir singer-songwriter Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money" fits Eric's "Ace In The Hole" like a street-fight-scuffed glove. Father issues, betrayal, women, lives on the line as shit hits the fan—what more could readers and listeners ask for?

Keir: "Bad Luck," by Social Distortion
We've got a character named Chance in a story called "Ace in the Hole" . . . the first song that came to mind was "Bad Luck." But while Chance does indeed have the cards stacked against him, he ensures he's not going to be the only loser in a rigged game. Imagine this one pounding out the dashboard speaker of an old International pickup that has seen better days.

"Fireweed," by Janet Skeslien Charles

Jim: "Country Girl," by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
Again, this song and story matchup is eerily perfect. Janet delivered a short story of lasting literary joy and worth, the story of . . . a country girl confronting the changes in her life, in her rural Montana roots, and people she's known since she could toddle through her father's wheat fields. These are changes she can't ignore because suddenly, there's a murder under her tiny, "innocent" portion of Montana's Big Sky.

Keir: "Time (The Revelator)," by Gillian Welch
This song may not be about murder in a small town, but it works anyway, with lyrics about someone who is not what they're supposed to be: "But who could know, if I'm a traitor?" Time seems to pass more slowly in small towns, echoing Welch's real theme, and most of all, the elegaic tone and stately pace of this tune capture Charles' beautiful story about a waitress biding her time before she can leave.

"Dark Monument," by Sidner Larson

Jim: "Reason To Believe," by Bruce Springsteen
Sid's haunting tale of a middle-aged man struggling to cope with the legacies of his own life, justice he couldn't bring to an awful crime, his own proud Indian heritage shot through with subtle and harsh racism, and above all, the love of the great woman he let slip away reads and feels like a thousand classic heart-tugging songs, but finding just the right one to match this story was one of my more difficult challenges here. And then I realized Sid's story is powered by all our desire to believe that something more and something good can come from all the struggles and sorrows of our lives. Once I groked Sid's core of "reason to believe," well, for the best noir song of that . . . you gotta go to The Boss.

Keir: "Crown of Love," by Arcade Fire
At the end of Larson's story, a man walks away from the woman he loves—the only way he can save her from a powerful predator. This song about two lovers, one yearning and the other apologizing ("If you still want me, please forgive me"), captures that poignant feeling as well as any I can find.

"All the Damn Stars in the Sky," by Yvonne Seng

Jim: "Suzanne," by Leonard Cohen
Yvonne's wondrous story swirls with crowded and frantic complexity, a dozen important American issues essentially all captured by a day in the life, but all that is presented in simple, clean, honest revelations of one young woman's come-home struggles. The all the way down in your bones feelings Yvonne's heroine gives the readers requires an enigmatic, poetic songwriter to match this story's power. Not only is Leonard Cohen up to that task, his song here focuses us on a woman, who, like Yvonne's heroine, is not to be let go from your life, no matter what. Besides, Yvonne has her heroine listening to Leonard. This connect just has to be.

Keir: "Let Me Be It," by The Flaming Lips
There's only one band equal to the psychedelic, phantasmagoric magnificence of Seng's story that incorporates everything from a circus worker, right-wing militia, undocumented workers, a mysterious multinational corporation, FOX News, Montana's lone congressman, and . . . UFOs? But at its heart it's a love story with a scarred, bald heroine reunited with her long-lost forbidden love. Or as Wayne Coyne sings, "Let Me Be It." (I almost went with a song that better captures the chaos: "Everything's Explodin'"!)

"The Road You Take," by James Grady

Jim: "We Travel as Equals," by Joseph Arthur
Picking your own soundtrack for your work is almost impossible, even when others hear the choice clean and clear. What I realized about my four strippers and their enforcer/pimp cruising Montana's highways from town to town is that, ultimately, the heart of noir and of all of our fates is Joseph Arthur's simple and clear defiant epiphany: "We travel as equals or not at all." Plus his powerful tumbling musical poetry grabs you from its first word and deserves to be heard by everyone.

Keir: "Goin' Nowhere," by Chris Isaak
For Jim's story about a manager/pimp piloting a van full of strippers across Montana's Hi-Line under the endless sky, Isaak's nasty groove captures the cynicism and empty promises of a hustler: "Like the clothes like the tan like the way you shake it / You're the kind of a girl I can tell you make it." (There's even a line referencing the big sky that is so prominent in Jim's descriptions.) And, naturally, he offers a relief from hardship: "So take a ride with me now baby / Hop inside and maybe baby / We can find a way to make it all OK." But the only way to make it all OK, as Jim shows us, is to get out of the van.

"The Dive," by Jamie Ford

Jim: "The Boxer," by Simon & Garfunkel
"The Dive" is a wholly original and wildly fun story that at its heart is poignant and proud amidst the blood and betrayals and beat-downs. Matching the world of Mixed Martial Arts for women to any great song of any genre is especially hard because co-ed MMA is a relatively new cultural force. So to give Jamie's terrific story the justice it deserves—and it's a noir story punched through with issues of justice—I felt compelled to go with a classic. Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer"—probably recorded before Jamie was walking—can't be beat as a saga of everyone as a fighter, going down and, yeah, getting back up again.

Keir: "Now You're Defeated," by American Music Club
To whom is this song addressed? Like many of Mark Eitzel's lyrics, it has just the right amount of ambiguity. As Ford's story opens, Carla "Train Wreck" Lewis, a mixed-martial-artist who refused to take a dive and then got beaten down anyway, is definitely brooding over having had her ass handed to her. Lyrics "They sing now you're defeated baby" and "At the strong open crowd, want the great fight" evoke the public loss, and "Now you're defeated baby / You're worth more to me than gold" suggests the fixed fight. But what this song DOESN'T have is Lewis's near-fatal rope-a-dope that puts her back in the winning column.

"Bad Blood," by Carrie La Seur

Jim: "Lawyers in Love," by Jackson Browne
Carrie's story is classic collision of conscience, circumstances, convictions, and choices, all set within the legal profession that's laced through every aspect of our American lives and here driven by a woman with a heart yearning for love —a woman lawyer yearning for love and confronting those four C's. Jackson makes that all sound so simple and so does Carrie, but each of their tales portrays the issues before the court of our lives where justice—sometimes we hope, sometimes we fear—is blind.

Keir: "Beds Are Burning," by Midnight Oil
I can't say the vibe of this song matches La Seur's cool evocation of Billings, Montana's largest city, but I also don't know a song that better matches the issue at the heart of her story: who owns the land? Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil may be singing about Aborigines in Australia, half the world away from the Tongue River, but his unequivocal cry "It belongs to them" falls on deaf ears of Vera Ingalls, who considers the generations of her own family and decides that "No piece of paper could make it any less theirs."

"Oasis," by Walter Kirn

Jim: "The Ghosts Of Saturday Night (After Hours at Napoleone's Pizza House)," by Tom Waits
One no-nonsense poet of America's streets deserves another, so for Walter Kirn's better than journalism account of the after-hours souls who drive through our towns to bring us what we can order and expect to eat, the great, gravel-voiced Tom Waits was an obvious choice. Add on the topping that both their odes concern pizza and hard women, well, call that a Deluxe Special. Walter's story takes you there: you can smell the journey-cooled tomato sauce, taste the cardboard crust, feel the late-night diner's hard cushion give a little to your weight as you slide into the booth but give little back as you listen to your sort-of friend's tale of woe. And if Tom Waits is on the jukebox . . . wow, what a wondrous slice of noir.

Keir: "Dirty Girl," by the Eels
This dark but relatively innocent song about a guy who misses his dirty-talking girlfriend takes on new meaning when set against Kirn's pitch-black account of voyeurism, obsession, and . . . pizza. In the short story, narrator Brian Schick relates the unhappy love affair of fellow pizza-delivery driver Crush, who finds himself making car payments for a video-sex worker until she "deactivates" him. It doesn't end well. "We had our time but it didn't last too long," sings Mark Oliver Everett, "And that time is good and gone."

"Motherlode," by Thomas McGuane

Jim: "Fallin' and Flyin'," by Jeff Bridges
The great actor, singer, artist, and activist Jeff Bridges signing, "I was going where I shouldn't go . . . " is the perfect matchup for his friend and fellow Montana legend Tom McGuane's story of how the wrong curiosity kills more than the damn barn cat. Both song and story are wow sagas to be experienced, not just read or heard. This is a timeless matchup to be savored again and again for visions of Montana's noir Big Sky.

Keir: "Cool Water," by The Sons of the Pioneers
Because it's in the story. Picture McGuane's memory-blasted rancher Weldon trying to retain what's left of his dignity by balancing a peanut on his nose while a scratchy 45 spins this tune on "a small plastic record player."

"Trailer Trash," by Gwen Florio

Jim: "Dancing in the Dark," by Bruce Springsteen
And the song goes: " . . . sick of sitting around here trying to write this book"—the struggle for the hero at the heart of Gwen's funny and scathing portrait of academia versus trailer-court life. Gwen's story is full of posers and arrogance masquerading as of-course brilliant cultural stars (with a side of the never really finish and deliver and risk common in Ivy Towered delusions). Gwen gets more sexual whoompf out of a character's sideways glance than many authors do with pages of "poetic" prose. And out of all the fun and flashes of truth she creates comes a laugh-out-loud last line that delivers noir justice where everyone pays to play.

Keir: "Johnson's Plumbing Supply," by The Model Rockets
I don't know a single song about envy, murder, and a creative writing program, but this old favorite by the Model Rockets captures something in the tone of Florio's story. Sung from the point of view of a small-town plumbing-supply clerk watching his former bandmate rocket to fame, it's got envy, humor, sadness, and resignation—the feelings we've all experienced as we watch an acquaintance rise above us. Fortunately, most of us don't kill that person to get even.

"Custer's Last Stand," by Debra Magpie Earling

Jim: "Up Where We Belong," by Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy wrote this song that others made into a hit, but she still does it best and the way that only she can. Debra's story of love, racism, and life on and near a Montana Indian reservation is also told the way that only she can. This match of song to story echoes justice, just as Debra's characters caught in noir shadows that pre-date their lives and play out with their every breath show us the power of hope and love in spite—or perhaps, even because of noir.

Keir: "Things That Scare Me," by Neko Case
I tried and tried to find a song to match Earling's story of a drifter, a coffee-shop clerk, a bad cop, and powerful medicine on the Flathead Indian Reservation—but each song that matched one aspect of the story seemed wrong for all the others. (At one point I was even leaning toward NWA's "Fuck tha Police.") Finally, I realized I was overthinking it: Case's spooky tune captures the feeling of the story if not the particulars.

"Red Skies of Montana," by Keir Graff

Jim: "Burning Down the House," by Talking Heads
David Byrne's blow you away song where fire is much more than a limited experience becomes a furious, ironic soundtrack to Keir's wonderful and—in a tragic noir fashion—incredibly prophetic story of the beautiful, tree-covered mountains of Keir's native Montana in this year when Montana Noir first hits the stands. This story captures the fires of reality that threaten us all with rapid, clean prose about heroism, dreamers, back-alley crime, and the consequences of human greed on our fragile planet. While this may be the most timely and important story in our anthology, with eyes-wide-open honesty, we wish it were just another work of great fiction.

Keir: "Burnin' It Down," by Steve Earle
Like songs about murder and creative writing programs, songs about arson are in short supply. And while Earle's protagonist's desire to burn down the Walmart comes more from his frustration at how things have changed and left him behind, this plays in harmony with my not-so-bright protagonists, who accept money to burn down a ski resort an out-of-state corporation failed to develop—on prime land that is rightfully part of their community's shared heritage.

Coda

Keir: "I Believe," by Chris Isaak
Please welcome Chris Isaak back to the stage to play us out. Wait for the chorus . . . .


Keir Graff and James Grady and Montana Noir links:

the book's website
James Grady'swebsite
Keir Graff's website

Booklist review
Kirkus review
Library Journal review
Publishers Weekly review

Don't Need a Diagram interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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October 2017 eBook Deals

eBooks on sale for $1.99 this month:


Men We Reaped Abandon Me


Abandon Me by Melissa Febos
An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch
Basquiat: A Quick Killing in Art by Phoebe Hoban
By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano
The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
Emotional Rescue by Ben Greenman
Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times by Anne C. Heller
The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector
Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music by James Rhodes
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain
Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi
Solo Faces by James Salter
Typhoid Mary by Anthony Bourdain
Van Gogh: A Power Seething by Julian Bell
The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton
The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton


eBooks on sale for $2.99 this month:


The Emigrants Hocus Pocus


The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
Exposure by Helen Dunmore
A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
Greek Gods and Heroes by Robert Graves
Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut
How To Be a Muslim by Haroon Moghul
Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler


eBooks on sale for $3.49 this month:


Aspects of the Novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater


Aspects of the Novel by E. M. Forster
Ball Four by Jim Bouton
Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina by Robert Graves
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut
Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut


eBooks on sale for $3.99 this month:


The Hunters Moshi Moshi


Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut
First Love, Last Rites by Ian McEwan
The Hunters by James Salter
If This Isn't Nice What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry
The Memory of Old Jack by Wendell Berry
Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto
Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry
New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry
Night Class by Victor Corona
Our Only World by Wendell Berry
Sam Shepard: A Life by John J. Winters
Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella
This Day by Wendell Berry
The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry
What Are People For? by Wendell Berry
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)

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Shorties (An Interview with Jeffrey Eugenides, Julien Baker on Her New Album, and more)

Jeffrey Eugenides talked to Weekend Edition about his short story collection Fresh Complaint.


Julien Baker discussed her new album Turn Out the Lights with Rolling Stone.


The Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed author Chelsea Martin.


Stream a new Simon Joyner song.


Tom Bissell talked videogame and storytelling with Kotaku.


Donita Sparks discussed the L7 reunion with Pitchfork.


Joanna C. Valente interviewed contributors to the book at A Shadow Map: An Anthology by Survivors of Sexual Assault at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.


Stream a new Beck song.


Paste listed the best audiobooks of 2017 (so far).


Drowned in Sound interviewed Eirik Glambek Bøe of Kings of Convenience and Kommode.


BuzzFeed shared an excerpt from Masha Gessen's new book The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.


Pussy Riot's Masha Alyokhina discussed her new book Riot Days with Weekend Edition.


Bustle recommended October's best fiction and nonfiction books.


Gorilla vs. Bear shared a playlist of September's best songs.


Vox listed the best short stories published by Playboy.


Salon reconsidered R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People album 25 years after its release.


Author Andrew O'Hagan discussed is favorite books at The Week.


The National covered Queen and Cat Power.


James McBride discussed his short story collection Five-Carat Soul with All Things Considered.


PopMatters interviewed musician Dan Deacon.


The Quietus interviewed author Santiago Gamboa.


The Tallest Man on Earth covered Nick Drake's "Bird Flew."


Book Riot previewed October's best books by British authors.


St. Vincent's Annie Clark discussed her new album Masseduction Pink with Financial Times.


Author Fiona Mozle shared her writing routine at the Guardian.


Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett shared a playlist of their favorite duets.


Sarah Shun-lien Bynum talked to the New Yorker about her short story in this week's issue.


The Young Folks reconsidered Rilo Kiley's 2002 album The Execution of All Things.


Literary Hub interviewed author Paul Auster.


Rolling Stone shared an oral history of Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind sessions.


The New York Times Magazine profiled author John McPhee.


The Guardian recapped September's best new songs.


Literary Hub interviewed author Minna Zallman Proctor.


The Quietus recapped September's best albums.


Literary Hub shared an excerpt from Armistead Maupin's memoir Logical Family.


The Guardian shared an excerpt from Anthony DeCurtis's book Lou Reed: A Life.



also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

previous Shorties posts (daily news and links from the worlds of music, books, and pop culture)

Atomic Books Comics Preview (the week's best new comics and graphic novels)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
weekly music release lists

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September 29, 2017

Book Notes - Melissa Fraterrigo "Glory Days"

Glory Days

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Jesmyn Ward, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.

Melissa Fraterrigo's Glory Days is a dark, compelling, and powerful novel-in-stories.

Booklist wrote of the book:

"If Willa Cather and Cormac McCarthy had a love child, she would be a writer such as Fraterrigo, whose imagery is equally evocative and unforgiving and whose characters are every bit as anguished and forlorn."


In her own words, here is Melissa Fraterrigo's Book Notes music playlist for her novel Glory Days:



I don’t listen to music when I write. I’m a distracted person to begin with and I don’t need any more temptation. I mainly listen to Pandora and I have yet to figure out what to do with all those jewel cases from the 1990s. When I do listen to music I always get swept up in the narrative, that’s usually what I seek. But the thing is that I don’t just want to understand the narrative thread of a song—I want to actually feel it—the song’s motivation for being and its particular way in the world. Most of the songs I love capture both—a good narrative hook and an artist who experiences the song on an altogether different level and is able to convey that depth to listeners.

I can’t think of anyone who does this better than Patty Griffin. In the song “Sweet Lorraine” from Living With Ghosts, you have the basic story of a girl who comes from “a long line of drinkers and dreamers.” Her parents never wanted her, so they pretty much beat her down even though she’s a good girl, trying to do what’s right.

In the battle of time in the battle of will
It’s only your hope and your heart that gets killed
And it gets harder and harder Lorraine, to believe in magic
When what came before you is so very tragic.

Goodness, Glory Days is tragic as well, and I think it encapsulates how no matter how hard we try sometimes we just can’t overcome our personal histories—these are our ghosts, the voices in our head, and the characters in Glory Days, like many of us, spend much of their time trying to learn to live with them.

“Astral Plane” by Valerie June. I heard an interview with June where she described “receiving a song” and how she heard voices during the songwriting process. I think that’s just lovely. I also frequently hear a voice at the start of a piece, and if the voice is really strong, it can propel the narrative to the point that I have a visceral sense of the characters and the place and every item within the world of that story.

A good example of this is the first story I wrote for the book—“Teensy’s Daughter”—which begins with the line “Gardner hears dogs scrambling up the trees after a squirrel or a neighbor’s cat, he tells himself, eager to be calmed. It’s not Teensy’s he thinks. The same thing he’s been telling himself for months. Teensy doesn’t want anything to do with him. Isn’t the sort who craves revenge.” At the time those lines came to me, I had pretty much stopped writing prose. Someone very dear to me was diagnosed with cancer and my nerves were shredded and I was just getting by.

At the time I was only reading poetry and yet here these lines came to me fully dressed and with the allusion to the strained history between Gardner and his childhood nemesis Teensy. At the opening of the story “Teensy’s Daughter” Gardner is on house arrest after causing the death of Teensy’s daughter Luann. One two three—I had three characters, only the three of them had known each other for some time and I had to work backwards to figure out why Teensy and Gardner hated one another and what happened with Luann—what was she doing taking up with Gardner, a guy as old as her dad?

The poetry I read began to teach me to look at words in a new way. I started keeping an image journal and I found that the more images I captured on the page, the more came to me. These images served as a sort of portal to deepen my understanding of the novel as a whole and it also made the town of Ingleside feel as rich as any character.

Because this novel-in-stories spans about 25 years, we have the chance to experience the complicated relationship between Teensy and his adopted daughter Luann over a significant time. Loudon Wainwright III is another guy whose relationships with his kids have been challenging. In “A Year” he explores what it’s like to feel hesitant around someone—to be uncertain of your place in this person’s life, and Teensy and Luann duplicate this repeatedly. Luann has never felt like she fits in to the small town of Ingleside, Nebraska, and she also feels like she’s never been good enough for her dad. She gravitates toward the attention men can provide—and this is the attention they offer her in the backseat of a pickup or on an afghan along the riverbanks. She craves her dad’s attention but doesn’t know how to be the girl she thinks he wants her to be. Fathers and daughters. Could anything be more complex?

“Revelator” by Gillian Welch just has this ache to it and every time I hear this song I think that this is exactly what Gillian Welch is meant to do—to sing this song and play the guitar and recreate this rural place.

Darling, remember when you come to me
I’m the pretender, not what I’m supposed to be
But who could know if I’m a traitor
Time’s the Revelator.

During the writing of Glory Days I was really swallowed by the small plains town of Ingleside, Nebraska, a place that is very much undergoing a transition. As it becomes impossible to make a living farming, developers come in and buy up farmland and erect an amusement park—Glory Days—and this brings new money to town. Suddenly we have wealthy landowners alongside folks who were already struggling to get by and this really ushers in dark times.

I have long loved amusement parks. I love being outside, whipped around by some colorful contraption that hurls me into the sky. I love hearing people screaming, their inhibitions stripped away. I love food on a stick and people chewing with open mouths as they walk on the blacktop. I love the way bodies begin to smell after a long day in the sun and how at the end of the day your legs ache and your feet are ripe. “Back in Black” by AC/DC – I don’t think I’ve ever been to an amusement park without hearing some AC/DC and it’s always on some spinning ride, like the Hay Baler where the ghost-boy Jeremiah, accidentally starts a fire. Jeremiah is caught in a sort of purgatory outside the Glory Days amusement park and the only person who can see him is Fredonia the Great, a seer who shares with park-guests visions of their deaths. On the night of the fire Jeremiah’s frustration with his in-between place reaches a crescendo and Fredonia the Great sees the engulfing flames as a chance to actually help those who she’s long abhorred.

“Miss World” by Hole. In a book with a clairvoyant named Fredonia the Great, a tornado, ghosts, drugs, blood, violence, cows, and despair, we need an angry fist-thumping song like “Miss World,” where you can almost visualize Courtney Love swearing at the audience while playing her heart out—

Now I've made my bed, I'll lie in it
I've made my bed, I'll die in it
I've made my bed, I'll cry in it
I've made my bed, I'll lie in it

Her angst reminds me so much of Luann—the obvious heartache that she tries to disguise through self-medication and casual sex. Luann’s disdain for herself and her need to belong underpins the whole book.

“Alberta” by Doc Watson - While this song has been sung by everyone from Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan, I love Watson’s version and the way he is able to get inside this song and belt out the lyrics as if every moment in the song is one he’s personally experienced. It’s a heartbreaking song, reflective of the heartbreak that opens Glory Days, where Teensy and his adopted daughter Luann are facing the double loss of both their farmland and the death of Luann’s mother. Teensy and Luann are not the only ranchers in town challenged by the economic realities of farming and poverty. Despite these hard times the characters in Glory Days take comfort in the land—both the memory of what it once was and in the growing sense of what it might become. In this longing to begin again, residents of this small town take comfort in one another—and go on.


Melissa Fraterrigo and Glory Days links:

the author's website

Booklist review
Foreword Reviews review
Journal-Gazette review
Necessary Fiction review

The Review Review interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Support the Largehearted Boy website

Book Notes (2015 - ) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2012 - 2014) (authors create music playlists for their book)
Book Notes (2005 - 2011) (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlist essays

Largehearted Boy's 2017 Summer Reading Suggestions

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
guest book reviews
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Books of the Week (recommended new books, magazines, and comics)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
weekly music release lists

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This Week's Interesting Music Releases - September 29, 2017

Torres

Torres's Three Futures is one of the year's finest albums.

Other new releases I can recommend this week include Florist's If Blue Could Be Happiness, Loney Dear's self-titled album, and Protomartyr's Relatives In Descent.

Archival releases include the 11-CD (or 13-LP) David Bowie box set A New Career In A New Town (1977 – 1982).


This week's interesting music releases:

Action Skulls: Angels Hear
Belinda Carlisle: Wilder Shores
Ben Frost: The Centre Cannot Hold
Beth Orton: Central Reservation (reissue) [vinyl]
Cap'n Jazz: Analphabetapolothology (reissue) [vinyl]
Clint Mansell: Loving Vincent (soundtrack)
Concrete Blonde: Bloodletting (reissues) [vinyl]
Concrete Blonde: Walking in London (reissues) [vinyl]
David Crosby: Sky Trails
David Bowie: A New Career In A New Town (1977 – 1982) (11-CD box set)
David Gilmour: Live at Pompeii
Demi Lovato: Tell Me You Love Me
Depeche Mode: The Best of: Volume One (3-LPs) [vinyl]
Echosmith: Inside A Dream
Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robot (Vinyl Picture Disc) 9reissue) [vinyl]
Florist: If Blue Could Be Happiness
Four Tet: New Energy
Glenn Gould: The Goldberg Variations - The Complete Unreleased Recording Sessions June 1955 (8-disc box set)
Green Day: Dookie (Vinyl Picture Disc) (reissue) [vinyl]
Herb Alpert: The Christmas Wish
Hurts: Desire
Ibeyi: Ash
J Roddy Walston And The Business: Destroyers Of The Soft Life
Jessica Lea Mayfield: Sorry Is Gone
Kamasi Washington: Harmony of Difference
Katy Perry: Witness [vinyl]
Keep Shelly in Athens: Philokalia
The Lemon Twigs: Brothers of Destruction [vinyl]
Loney Dear: Loney Dear
Lucinda Williams: This Sweet Old World
Michael Jackson: Scream
Midland: Fabriclive 94
Miley Cyrus: Younger Now
Monolord: Rust
Neil Finn: Out of Silence
Pearl Jam: Let's Play Two
Pere Ubu: 20 Years In A Montana Missile Silo
Primus: The Desaturating Seven
Propagandhi: Victory Lap
Protomartyr: Relatives In Descent
Shania Twain: Shania Now
Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer: Not Dark Yet [vinyl]
Solange Knowles: A Seat at the Table [vinyl]
Ted Leo: The Hanged Man [vinyl]
Steve Earle: Jerusalem (reissue) [vinyl]
Steve Earle: Just an American Boy (reissue) [vinyl]
Steve Earle: The Revolution Starts Now (reissue) [vinyl]
Torres: Three Futures
Wolf Alice: Visions Of A Life
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die: Always Foreign

also at Largehearted Boy:

Support Largehearted Boy

weekly music release lists

Book Notes (authors create music playlists for their book)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Short Cuts (writers pair a song with their short story or essay)
Shorties (daily book and music news and links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)

Posted by david | permalink | post to del.icio.us

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