Amy Mantis
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Posts tagged dawes
Dreariness, Originality, and Donald Fagen

Steely Dan played at Coachella this year, and Donald Fagen kept a journal throughout their stay.  I haven't read all of it yet, but there was a piece on Stereogum titled After Coachella, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen Not Psyched About Modern Music.  I skimmed over the entire entry on Rolling Stone and he said he's been "hearing this stuff for nearly half a century and it's getting pretty dreary."  This "stuff" is "c. 1965 Dylanesque mode, minus genius or anything like that."

Genius is both objective and subjective.  I think Jackson Browne is a genius.  I think Dawes is a brilliant band.  I describe Dawes to someone unfamiliar with them by saying imagine Jackson Browne as a band, and you get Dawes.  Is Dawes or Jackson Browne completely original?  No, and they'll tell you that.  As for the dreariness that Donald Fagen speaks of, I can see where he's coming from.  He admitted that at one point he, too, was doing Dylanesque stuff.  How can anyone who calls himself a songwriter not pass through Bob Dylan?

Will the remainder of the bill at Coachella grow into their own?  Sure.  Some already have.   Will they meet Donald Fagen's or any of the titans of rock standards?  Not likely.  I say that tongue-in-cheek.  I love those titans of rock.

Anyway.  I guess what I'm saying is, you can't please everybody, and you're not perfect out of the gate.

You Say You Want An Evolution

This was written on February 12, 2014

One of my guitar students is big into modern folk artists.  Or folk rock - I'm not sure what to call it, but think Amos Lee, the Felice Brothers, Deer Tick, and, the one that led me to this post, Middle Brother.

A year ago I did not like Middle Brother despite loving Dawes and Delta Spirit.  But I HATED Deer Tick.  Mainly I hated John McCauley's voice.  Ugh.  No thanks.

But my student was gushing about Deer Tick and Middle Brother.  I've had friends over the years tell me I need to get into Middle Brother and Deer Tick.  And as a lover of two-thirds of Middle Brother, I gave them another shot.

I'm so glad I did.

I don't know what caused the evolution of my musical taste to include Middle Brother, but I'm glad it happened.  Older and wiser?  Perhaps.  Friends?  For sure.  Whatever it was, the moral of the story is our tastes change.  It's weird, but thank god it happens.

It's weird.  It's life.  Get used to it.