There comes a time in every music writer's life—especially in a small town—wherein they think to themselves, "OH GOD! I AM SO SLAMMED WHAT DO I DO?!" That time is now; that place is here. But never fear, for we are getting through it together with this big ol' overview of things I currently find musically notable or worth mentioning.
I've said it before and I'll say it again—Bill Palmer is a kickass songwriter, and he's got the new songs to prove it. For my money, Palmer's solo efforts always hit me harder and more meaningfully. Take "Little Bird from the Woods" from last month's release, A Whisper in the Trees. Whether deliberate or not, Palmer channels our dearly departed Tom Petty, had Petty written jams with Townes Van Zandt. Oh, it's a love song alright, but subtly dark and rife with minimal and excellent mandolin flourishes. Palmer even strays into stripped-down piano pop with "The Gathering Time," a self-reflective number with a surplus of them sweet, sweet feels. Ugh, there's something about songs that read like diary entries that really works.
We came really soooooo close to hosting rock legends Smoking Popes in Santa Fe this month, but I'm hearing they went with a house show in Albuquerque. If anyone knows anything about this—such as how I and my dumb friend Jasper might attend—please, please, please let me know immediately. In the meantime, if you think you don't know them, remind yourself about "Need You Around" from the Clueless soundtrack and be like, "Oh, yeah! That song!" They've got tons of great other material, too—just pick up the reissue of their very incredible Destination Failure album next month.
When we heard celebrated guitar noodler Buckethead would appear at Meow Wolf on Monday March 12 (with the assist from AMP Concerts), we immediately jumped on Facebook to make fun of celebrated local guitar noodler Mikey Baker. He took it like a champ and stuck it to us right back, but we also learned through his Facebook this week that the show sold out. Yikes; too bad. But y'know, them's the breaks when we live in a town that conditioned us to never worry about pre-sale tickets. Godspeed if you're looking (and maybe try Craigslist as we get closer). You might also like to know that hip-hop titan Talib Kweli appears at Meow Wolf on Tuesday March 13 (with the assist from Albuquerque-based promoters Too Zany). As of this moment, it appears there are still some $25 tickets left. We mention this now so you'll have plenty of time to make plans. Aaaaaaaaand—GO!
Meanwhile, Matron Records founder and creator of Scissor Lift (a totally cool and weird looping and vocals project), Eliza Lutz, is off to Tasmania (that's an island nation, y'all!) to party with her brother, field recording genius and former Warehouse 21 staffer James Lutz. The pair is reportedly set to produce Scissor Lift's debut record while there and that's just, like, pretty cool. You may also know James Lutz from his work with Santa Fe Audio Visual during Railyard and Plaza shows alike. What a sibling team!
I stumbled across an article I wrote a few years back about DIY venues and house shows, and it got me wondering about who might be doing similar and/or new spaces, where they are and how a dude like me might learn about/come by. If you have any good information, lemme know, because house shows are cool and I like them.
Gotta give a shoutout to The Candyman Strings & Things, too, for not only helping me order a totally bithcin' guitar case but for being friendly, courteous and fast about it. They're honestly heroes who do a lot for the community, too.
Speaking of music merchants, NAMM—or, the National Association of Music Merchants—just wrapped their big fat convention in Los Angles recently, and we saw some pretty great photos and gear and are now lusting over cool pedals and ridiculous guitars the like. A trend that's super exciting is this thing where equipment can make lesser equipment sound like better equipment. To think of all the time and money we wasted buying nice things! Boo!
And, finally, I'd like to give advice to people who've been feeling burned by this year's Grammy awards: The Grammies are and always have been trash. Skip them next year, don't pay attention anymore and give up on looking for meaning in mainstream music (not counting "Toxic" by B Spears—that's a jam)!