(one day by the river…)
Grant Wallace Band & Ross Gallagher — The Battenkill
Two Labyrinths Records
releases August 17, 2018
pre-orders are available now!:
Grant Wallace Band is hitting the road this week with Ross Gallagher in support of our forthcoming album The Battenkill -- which releases August 17. Dates dates dates, with facebook events, for those still brave enough to use social media:
8/1 — Grant Wallace Band with Ross Gallagher at Radio Bean (Burlington, VT)
8/2 — Pre-Game & National Anthem, Vermont Lake Monsters (Burlington, VT)
8/3 — Grant Wallace Band with Ross Gallagher at the Frost Stone House (Bennington, VT)
8/4 — Porkstock 2018 (Eagle Bridge, NY)
8/7 — Cantab Lounge (Cambridge, MA)
8/8 — Fishkill Listening Club at Bath Dance Works (Bath, ME)
8/9 — Grant Wallace Band at HiLo (Catskill, NY)
8/10 — Friday Night Dinner and Music with Special Guests The Grant Wallace Band at Finger Lakes Cider House (Interlaken, NY)
8/11 — House Concert (East Setauket, NY)
Also on 8/11, Chicago Composers Orchestra plays my high-lonesome wind canticle kaze no denwa at the Thirsty Ears Festival. That concert is 3:30pm at All Saints Church in Ravenswood.
For some reason, none of my friends seem to publish their lyrics on Bandcamp. I’ve always done this, since I started releasing music there in (gulp) 2010. Bandcamp offers arguments in favor: people will google your lyrics, they suggest, and you want those googlers to end up here, where they can buy your album, and where the lyrics will be correct: “If you haven’t added lyrics on Bandcamp, those fans are likely ending up on lyriczzzbay.com instead, who’s showing them ads for Applebee’s.”
Ben has the best counter-argument. They’re lyrics, he has told me, not poetry. They’re meant to be heard, not read. I suppose there is valuable mystery in this. The words are supposed to be music, and like music maybe they should fly past you and disappear. Maybe if you sing a word ambiguously and people can’t understand it, maybe that’s part of the experience; mondegreens are a tradition unto themselves.
Me, I just can’t resist carefully telling everyone how I like my lyrics punctuated, where the line breaks are. I like precise capitalization—it’s one of my preferred methods of resisting the current presidential administration. I like revealing the spelling of fictional place and character-names. I like specifying that I’m using “O” rather than “Oh,” in the sense of Shakespearean ecphonesis. I like supplying quotation marks where a quotation is taking place. Looking back, I see that the only exceptions are Crazy Cloud in Dream World (probably because I didn’t write all of the lyrics), Captivity Songs (probably because I was depressed), and the song “Red (for Sam Amidon)” from On Blue Trails (probably because I was quoting, and because I wanted it to be mysterious).
I think I’ll keep doing it. If nothing else, it’s nice to have them all archived in one place. Did you know that Bob Dylan’s official website has a complete listing of all the songs he’s released, with lyrics, discography, the first time he played it live, the most recent time he’s played it live, and the total number of times he’s played it live?
Apologies for missing the week of June 24 — the first time I’ve missed a Tuesday since I started this format in January. I was at a residency at a place called Playa, in the dreamy wilds of south-central Oregon. I was situated next to Summer Lake, a seasonal desert lake fed by snowmelt, 20 miles long by 10 miles wide. The locals say it dries up entirely most summers, but this year it has water. A few of the dancers walked halfway across it. They said it was about a foot deep.
I was busy with three things really: (1) I’d get up in the morning and write songs, (2) I’d go for a run in the nearby Fremont National Forest, finding sections of the 175-mile Fremont Trail, (3) I’d head back to Playa and jump in the pond. Also met some lovely artist fellows and did a lot of thinking. I’m thinking about my residency at Joshua Tree, when I started writing songs in earnest, nine years ago. I’m thinking about controlling the stage as a solo artist. This is relevant for all performance of course, but I’m especially interested in how one person with a guitar can manage the flow of a set and rapport with an audience. I’m thinking about Anaïs Mitchell, who I heard last year and this year at Eaux Claires, who does this as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.
I’m thinking about swing. I wrote a song at Playa about fiddles, and how I’d like to have one. It’s called “Fiddle Song.” I’m thinking about Tommy Peoples, who has about the most unique swing-concept I’ve heard. I’m thinking about the national forests opening back up as the rains come to New Mexico. I’m thinking about another visit to Rio Grande del Norte National Monument this coming weekend. I’m thinking about jumping into the river and saying thanks.
Here are the lyrics to one of the tunes from at Playa, a song called “The Loom”:
I’ll take my coffee with some grit
I’ll take some tapes of Springsteen, some ‘70s shit
And I’ll hop into the van some night, heading some place where it rains
The warp and the weave will wobble
We’ll be willing, wishing, and wise
Waiting for the storm clouds to lift
And the bridge to arise
It’s only half a centimeter wide
So you can’t take your backpack or the precious things inside
It’s a filament of memory spun from our pleasures and pains
When our place in the pattern presents itself,
Our porous persistence will pause
This tapestry is what it will be,
Not what we thought it was
Yes, the warp and the weave will wobble
We’ll be dumbstruck, drunken, and torn
Waiting for sunset to come
So the bridge might be born
To mark the holiday I am tempted to remain in mute horror, wordless outrage. But let me give it a few words. The people running our executive branch are villains. The people running our legislative branch are neglecting their responsibility to check that villainy, and are hence fully culpable. These people are doing horrible things in the name of our country, and I will not let the past and ongoing political and systemic problems of that country, some of them grievous, unconscionable, tempt me into shoulder-shrugging bothsidesism. We have never been perfect. Perhaps we have never even been great. Actually, the fact that we are individually and collectively flawed is a basic premise of every religious tradition these people purport to respect. None of this absolves us of the responsibility to try and be better. There is no a priori assumption that just because we’re America we will always get a functioning government that isn’t actively trying to kill us. Our government is exactly as contingent as everyone else’s, and it hinges on real ethical questions. I will not let them muddy the waters: I am against everything these people are doing, and I’ll say it in any platform I have and to anyone who asks. Happy Fourth. Don’t set the woods on fire.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
Notes on The Accounts