Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jim is vacationing in Massachusetts. His recent listening has included Neil Young's latest album with Crazy Horse, Americana. By this point, picking up a Young/Horse album is like slipping into an old shoe: beat-up but irresistibly comfortable. The novelty of this record is that it consists of covers of classic songs that span centuries, from "Clementine" to "Get a Job." Sometimes, as in the case of Steven Foster's "Oh! Susannah," the music is stretched so far to be unrecognizable, and yet it manages to retain its undeniable catchiness. In what might be termed more an act of homage to the Sex Pistols and Queen Elizabeth, the album also includes a version of "God Save the Queen." All in all, a lot of fun.

Another recent acquisition: Mary Chapin-Carpenter's Ashes and Roses. The veteran Brown-bred singer-songwriter continues to craft sophisticated country songs with clear ties to the troubadours of the seventies like James Taylor (who makes a cameo appearance here). Though an air of melancholy suffuses the record, Chapin-Carpenter nevertheless chronicles the quiet joys of middle class life in tunes like "Transcendental Reunion," which oxymoronically makes air travel seem alluring.

Best to all in summer sojourns.