Author: CB

Solitude Deprivation

Reading Cal Newport’s excellent (and recommended) Digital Minimalism. He coins the term “Solitude Deprivation”: “A state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds.” Our current “obsession with connection” (connection having always been marketed as a benefit) yields widespread Solitude Deprivation — especially among young people born between 1995 and 2012. Many members of the “iGeneration” “have lost the ability to process and make sense of their emotions, or to reflect on who they are and what really matters, or to build strong relationships, or even to just allow their brains time to power down their critical social circuits, which are not meant to be used constantly, and to redirect that energy to other important cognitive housekeeping tasks.… Continue reading

Big Ears Festival 2019

Big Ears Thursday evening: Welcome to Knoxville! Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan at the Standard were superb. I’ve wanted to see Bill for a long time, and getting to stand three feet in front of him and watch his fingers was mesmerizing. Since they play so quietly the sound was excellent. Can’t say the same for Mercury Rev at the Mill & Mine. The music would’ve been nice, but it was overpowered by a booming cloud of muddy bass guitar colliding with oh-so typical howitzer-level body-assaulting kick drum. Obnoxious “rock” drum sound in general. Do sound guys go to asshole school to learn this technique? I’ve seen so many concerts ruined by this kind of drum mix… On the other hand, I loved the Mathias Eick Quintet at the Standard — Norwegian jazz (piano, bass, drums, violin, trumpet) — inventive, dynamic, and soulful — and played at a very comfortable volume, so you could hear every element.… Continue reading

More Big Ears 2019

Busy since we got back home from Big Ears Tuesday night — right back to work Wednesday and Thursday. I’m working on consolidating Big Ears music reports (including the previous two Journal posts) into one blog post. And a lot of great music there was!

Big Ears 2019 Thursday

Big Ears trip day one: We stayed at a delightful Air BnB in McGaheysville VA, and in the morning went around the corner to the Thunderbird Cafe — best french toast ever (big puffy donut-flavored slices). Crispy spicy home fries drenched in maple syrup. We’re in the south now, so of course Valerie had a biscuit (and strawberry jam) with her omelette. Picked up grilled cheese sandwiches at Pop’s (grilled cheese their specialty) in Roanoke for the ride to Knoxville.

Feature creep

From Paul Jarvis: “Lately it seems like there are very few technology features I think are good ideas. Too frequently new “features” are touted as tools we can use, when more often than not they become annoyances we allow into our lives.”

Delirious desire

It’s easy to understand why we remember songs when we’ve heard them dozens or hundreds of times. But there are also songs that seize a permanent spot in our memory despite being heard only, say, four or five times.

For me, one of those songs is “Say You” by Ronnie Dove. It barely cracked the Top 40 in late September 1964. It was the last track on the B-side of Ronnie’s Right or Wrong LP — kind of a weird position for a single… The follow-up single, a cover of Wanda Jackson’s great “Right or Wrong,” and a bigger hit, was the last track on side A. (Incidentally, Wanda’s song is another of those I heard only a handful of times back in the day, but never, ever forgot — like “Say You,” it’s one of my favorites.)

“Say You” is a great-sounding Nashville record (maybe recorded at Studio B, like Dove’s “Right or Wrong”?… Continue reading