Friday, August 25, 2006

Dwight Yoakum

I saw Dwight Yoakam at the State Fair--following the mules, pigs, and sheep--which were a fine opener. (By the way, sheep do not say "Baa." That's just pro-sheep propaganda. They actually stick out their tongues at you and say, "Bleeeeehhhhhhh!") It was general admission in a stadium, but our seats were pretty good and the sound was also nice and clear. He put on a great show. My favorite part was probably his trio of Buck Owens tributes plus "Bakersfield." He was playing new stuff from Blame the Vain and greatest hits: Little Sister, Turn it on... Guitars & Cadillacs, Muehlenberg County, etc. He's a great showman as well as interpreter of the songs. He mentioned that Guitars, Cadillacs came out in 1984. Yikes, we're old! That seems fairly impossible. It doesn't seem that long ago that he was new on the scene with the skin-tight blue jeans and flop of blonde hair. He's traded that look in, I guess, for the traditonal Western suit--Porter Wagoner without the sequins. I'm not sure who he traded Sharon Stone in for, however.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tom Waits at the Palace

I went to see Tom Waits last night. I mostly know his early stuff: Closing Time and The Heart of Saturday Night, so I was only noddingly familiar or new to most of the set list, and that was fine. I'm such a completist, I'll be working my way forward in the Waits canon. He is a mesmerizing performer--that strange howl of a voice, which can still hit a softer, sweeter note every now and then, and his slightly derelict, street-person-prophet persona are distinctly him. The way he was lit throughout really struck me. I don't know how much was art, and how much was my imagination, but it was like watching a magic lantern show. His lanky silhouette would often form a dark shadow and it reminded me of a circus showman, an Old Testament figure, a conductor of the apocalypse.

On a side note, I thought it was funny and charming that in the stifling heat and humidity of Louisville, standing behind me in the Will Call line, MMJ's Jim James and Patrick Hallahan were all dressed up in their Sunday best--dark suits, tie, vest, shiny shoes--going to Church! That's serious devotion.

Here's a great link to Waits' Top 20 essential records as published in the London Observer. I love his descriptions. Interesting stuff.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Domesday Online

For all of you history nerds, this is very cool: The National Archives at Kew in England just put the Domesday Book online. It is William the Conqueror's survey of his new lands commissioned in 1085! For a small fee, you can select an image of the page you want and download it. So if you can trace your family back that far, you can search the fully-indexed tome and find them in the book. There are also modern English tranlations of the pages. There is a lot of great information about the book's history and the exhibition. In addition, the National Archives site has many more resources online for those researching family history.