Friday, April 28, 2006

15 Miles on the Erie Canal

Good afternoon. I hope all is well. Today we shall riff on a number of topics, none of which involve naked old men. Not that I'm aware of anyways.

This has been a long week and I am tired, tired to my bones. My beautiful bride was traveling this week visiting the Kansas City, which put me in charge of the household. Now while I am not so far removed from the caretaking of my children to have it devolve into some sort of Keatonian farce, I will say that it was a trying and tiring experience. When there are two of you, it allows one of you to tend to the ministrations of the young, while the other runs interference, or at least prepares the props needed for the next act of the show. One person plays with the children, distracting them from their hunger while the other person works on getting dinner. One person draws the bath while the other begins the nightly cleaning up rituals. One person holds down the child while the other administers blows. That sort of thing. When there is only one person, all those duties fall on that person and it can be exhausting. I have always had a great deal of respect for those that raise children alone, either by choice or by circumstance, and that respect has only grown. I would say that I hope to return the favor soon and leave my wife alone with the children, but she being alone means that I have to be absent and I kind of like being around her. I am quite fond of her. Fancy that.

The new Springsteen album dropped on Tuesday and you would not be wrong if you were to describe it as "rollicking", an odd description given that it's a cover of folk tunes. I don't know how large Bruce's farmhouse is, but I can say that were he to sell it, he could truthfully state in the MLS listing that there is ample space for both bango players and horn sections. After hearing the album, I desperately want a house with a horn section permanently stationed in the hall. I think that the ability to yell "Horns!" and hear their rousing fanfare would be priceless. It would be very difficult for someone to construct an argument against your current position if you could easily drown out their speaking with plentiful brass. At first listen, I thought that some of the songs had too much going on, but subsequent listening sessions have cured me of this notion. I like the idea that we are hearing the music as it was made, rather than a construction of many disparate parts, all put together in some production studio.

The songs pack an enormous amount of vitality and musical craftmanship, even the low key ones. The overwhelming feeling one gets when one listens is that Bruce has a real affinity for the songs, and that he is having a geniuinely good time performing them. Such enthusiasm is infectious and makes it easy to let go the fact that there are something like 19 accordian players on the album. As an added bonus, to me anyways, the album contains the waterways classic "Erie Canal". As a child of upstate New York, I am well versed in this song, having sung it on the bus many, many times while growing up. I don't know what it was about our bus that we needed to daily pay our respects to the canal and to the men and mules that traversed it, but we did, and I remember it fondly. Low bridge, everybody down, indeed.

The new Pearl Jam album drops Tuesday and I am swelling with excitement. I have preordered it, so I can download it the minute it releases, as they won't be shipping it until Tuesday. Why this is, I have no idea. Surely, if they can ready copies for the retail behemoths to have it in their collective hands on Tuesday, they could throw it in the mail for us, the PJ faithful to have it on Tuesday as well. If they are that worried about postal expediency ruining the surprise for us, they could mail it on Monday. Whatever. Tuesday shall mark a new era of both rocking and a-rolling, with a possibility of splishing and a-splashing.

Finally, and I won't get too much into it, as I'd like to reserve my comments for Monday's gaming post, where they fit more readily, but Nintendo has decided to released the official name of their new console, up until now, known as "Revolution". We have met the console, and it is Wii (pronounced "We"). There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the online space at the moment, which I shall address on Monday. I'd like to say that by then the furor will have died down and people will resume their lives, but gamers seem to have an ability to hold grudges rivaled only by my mother-in-law and Jimmy.


Kojubat said...

Thanks for making me look at the Boss's new album again. I've never been a big fan of tribute albums, so I pretty much just wrote it off. This sounds a bit different than your typical tribute fare, though. Maybe I'll give it a shot.

suburbanjoe said...

Don't think of it as a tribute album. It's more just Bruce playing folk songs, all of which, at some point, were played by Pete Seeger. It's an excellent piece of musical craftmanship and well worth a listen.

redheaded said...

i was a single mom of 3 when i went to college. believe me, i understand being tired to the bones.