Mark Grube's blog

War and Fashion

I went to the High Falls Brewery show yesterday. G. Love & Special Sauce headlined. Their PR - “tasty, post-hip-hop, Beatles-influenced blues-rock; spicy tropical island rhythms; well-seasoned Chambers Brothers-style funk-rock; sweet, blue-eyed Philly soul” - sounds better on paper. The band was pretty loose, at least for the first half-dozen tunes I heard. The highlight of the evening came earlier.

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Pieces

“Things fall apart.”

So begins the New York Times review of the Guggenheim’s Ad Reinhardt exhibit. It’s about art preservation, about “the moment when it becomes clear to the eye that a thing of beauty, while always a joy, will not last forever, at least in its original form.” It gets a bit academic, but the central questions are interesting. How do you arrest gravity? How do you freeze time?

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The Persistence of Memory

Someone once teased me that Tom Waits just does stupid bad boy stuff all the way to the bank. Well, I’ll plunk my money down. It’s true he’s a poseur. He’s a persona built out of Bukowski and the Beats, Brecht and the Bible. He doesn't sing from his heart, so it's all the more to his credit that he can make you believe.

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Free Jazz

Ken Vandermark doesn't even like the term jazz so he probably resists the free jazz label, too. His sound is actually more wide-ranging anyway, but there are moments on his new CD when things definitely feel unmoored...the furious scribbles from an amped up cello, for example.

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The International Language

I always thought music was the international language, but Paul Oldfield has a different definition. Fans of The Spice Girls and Rimsky-Korsakov will be blown away by this story from The Guardian.

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Duh

This’ll be old news to most people but Bobby Henrie & the Goners are really great! I know. I need to get out more. I’m workin’ on it.

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Calf Abuse

Forget about veal. Real cruelty involves a relatively sedentary life for 361 days of the year and then 4 days of non-stop dancing. My legs are killing me. The 2008 Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance wrapped up Sunday night. I can still feel the sunburn and the creekwater. I can still smell the potato pancakes and chicken satay. And I can still hear the music.

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A Music Lover's Paradise

My trip is all planned out. First, to Appalachia, for some old time fiddle tunes. Then it's on to Plum Branch, South Carolina to enjoy some foot-stomping gospel. Arizona is next, the home of hypnotic Navajo dance music. After that we'll head back east for an extended stay in Louisiana: zydeco in Soileau, dancehall cajun in Breaux Bridge and brass band music in New Orleans. Next up, San Juan, for some bomba and plena, and then to Africa. We'll hear music from the Yoruba culture in Nigeria and the sounds of the Tuaregs and Wodaabe tribes in Mali.

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Northline

Movies have 'em. Why not books?

I was already sold on Willy Vlautin's "Northline." Something about the black and white cover shot got me. But then I saw a CD in the back. The novel comes with its own soundtrack.

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Soul Stew Revival

“We’re at the brewery and they’re out of cans?!”

The woman behind me was incredulous. But it was a good problem to have. The first of the High Falls Brewery Jams welcomed an overflow crowd on Friday, as Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks kicked off the new summer concert series.

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