Friday, April 20, 2012

JBM...sad music for a sad week

"Winter Ghosts" is a very bleak, lonesome, beautiful track from the songwriter, Jesse Marchant. He's a Canadian, classically trained on guitar, rootsy but not hokey. So far, he's operated mainly, under the radar, but he is starting to get some comparisons to Bon Iver (and NPR nods, see above). His second full-length, Stray Ashes, is out May 22 on Western Vinyl.

You can also listen to "Only Now", if you want.

Bon Iver is the gorilla in the room, but you could also easily draw connections to Damien Jurado's spooky, echoey melancholia, actually you could do that side by side, on the fly, when the two of them come to your town. (Or someone's town...not mine, unfortunately.) Here are dates for the Jurado/JBM tour:

5.16 Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern w/ Damien Jurado

05.17 Pittsburgh, PA @ Andy Warhol Museum w/ Damien Jurado

05.18 Somerville, MA @ Radio w/ Damien Jurado

05.19 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge w/ Damien Jurado

05.20 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's w/ Damien Jurado

05.21 Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Damien Jurado

05.22 Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade w/ Damien Jurado

05.23 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl w/ Damien Jurado

05.25 Nashville, TN @ The Basement w/ Damien Jurado

05.26 Bloomington, IN @ The Russian w/ Damien Jurado

This has been another terrible week for stuff running...I wrote four reviews this week, BTW, most of them for a print issue of Blurt which not appear online for probably three or four months.

In personal news, also bleak, I am supposed to be coaching track again, but for reasons that are too complicated to go into (and really not very good reasons, if you ask me), I have to wait until I get Homeland Security clearance AGAIN, which may take two weeks, and in the meantime, i cannot have any contact with the kids. Our season is about a month and a half long, so the bureaucrats are essentially killing it. I passed homeland tests four years ago as a volunteer, but am getting paid this year (a very little bit, actually), so must go through the whole fingerprint/background check again. I also had to have a physical, which is a joke; I estimate that I am probably the third fittest person in the system, after one national class runner who happens to teach fifth grade and the XC skiing/running coach. There are coaches who weigh at least 300 pounds. (Football, naturally).

Anyway, I spent the whole day running errands for the Fall Mountain School District, and am just sick at heart about not being able to participate. We have a huge team this year -- 82 kids -- so obviously we are doing something right. Every town has a handful of people who make things happen...and an army of people who try to stop them.

So yeah, I'm working really hard, all the time and have basically nothing to show for it, across, really, all aspects of my life. Any suggestions?

My son turns 17 tomorrow, so that's something happy, anyway.


Ian said...

Homeland Security... to coach runners?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure there needs to be some minimal vetting there, but Homeland Security? Sheesh.

jenniferpkelly said...

Well, it's a criminal check, too, and I understand that they want to keep sex offenders and murderers out of our track program. However, I did pass once as a volunteer, and it seems really unnecessary to bar me from saying "hello" to kids I've been coaching for three years while we're waiting for another check. I had to pay for it, too. $51.50, which is, let's see 7% of what they're paying me for the season.

I also wonder why we're outsourcing all judgment on human performance and integrity and behavior to a fingerprint database. The six years that I've been coaching track seem to count for zero. (And, listen, I've had dozens of parents come up to me and say what a great program it is, and how good the coaching is.)

Anyway, the only way I could fight the system would be to quit and that would be bad for the I'm trying to behave.

Jean-Luc Garbo said...

That's really fucking discouraging, but I hope they recognize what it means that you're still at it. What you say about outsourcing is funny because when something goes wrong people get surprised by anything that falls between the cracks. Anyway, best wishes for your son! I hope your weekend is good.

jenniferpkelly said...

Actually, yeah, we had a pretty good day yesterday. Sean seemed to like all his presents, modest as they were (Mass Effect 3, A Dance with Dragons, an iTunes gift certificate and a couple of dress shirts), and we all had a really nice birthday dinner. I was toying with the idea of taking him to NYC for a play (he is way into theater), but just didn't have the money for it. We also did a bunch of normal Saturday stuff -- going to the Y to work out, having lunch after, going to the record store, getting a video (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, what a snooze!), which felt good after a week of dealing with hostile authority figures.

Also, just have to brag about two cool things about my son:
1) he's in the poster for "rent" (the musical at his high school this year; he's Roger) wearing a WFMU tee-shirt
2) he high jumped 5'6" last week at a meet, despite the fact that he really doesn't high jump and his previous best was 5'0". Since I'd been warned off going to middle school practice, I got to watch, which was the best thing that happened to me all week.

Jean-Luc Garbo said...

That's good news to hear! It's also really cool he's in Rent. Do you help him rehearse? Hope the performances go well.