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Tuesday, December 8, 2015


the milestone, charlotte nc
I've put on some music. I never have music on when writing. The music takes over my mind completely, whatever it is. If it's Prince or Thelonious Monk, Burning Spear, Muddy Waters, Nina Hagen, Joy Division, the list goes on and on, Philip Glass, the Alban Berg Quartet, Steve Reich, 20th century Russian and Eastern European composers, Thomas Mapfumo the Lion of Zimbabwe, SE Rogie a palm wine singer of Sierra Leone, Baaba Maal of Senegal, Femi Kuti of Nigeria, Ralph Stanley of the Virginia mountains, I am unable to do anything but listen. I put on a band called Tinariwen from Mali, Sahara Desert. Some electric guitar, regional instruments and singing. Complex rhythms, North African desert music, contemporary descendants of the kind of music King David used to play, where they have a one-string violin and other curious instruments that look easy and only a master can play well. I've had this album about ten years. Didn't care for it much first time I heard it. Waited awhile, still didn't care much for it. Put it on last week and have been listening to it since.

dirty south revolutionaries @ the milestone
I feel in tune with it today. It's exactly what I want to be hearing right now. Before, my head was probably going too fast for it. Now, the music is telling me what I want to hear. The music makes me move my shoulders and head with it. It's music you'd make if your daily rhythm was riding a camel. I like singing in a language I don't understand. Pop song lyrics are most often so boring I don't even want to hear them. I saw Taylor Swift is up for Grammy or something and likely to win. I've never heard her and don't want to. I've never heard Justin Bieber and don't want to. Corporate music. In the Sixties I got used to music you could not hear on the radio, had to buy the albums to hear them and listen to albums of friends. By the time the radio started playing Sixties rock, it was popified and I quit listening to it and shifted to punk at the beginning. Only college radio stations played punk for the first twenty-five years.

turd/cutter @ the milestone
Then I heard old-time hillbilly music and later did what I knew I would do, dove into it. Punk had been going on a few years when I went to my first fiddler's convention in Independence, Virginia, and heard the first hillbilly music of my life. I heard acoustic punk. A band of young musicians played, The New River Ramblers, James Burris on fiddle, his brother on banjo, and they rocked the place. It was raw hillbilly music for square dancing. The audience went crazy over them. I remember seeing legend Kyle Creed play his banjo and Albert Hash play fiddle. In old-time music, the whole band plays together, no fiddle breaks, no banjo breaks, the whole band plays all out. Fiddle, banjo, guitar and bass, as they say, jist a gittin it. Nobody in the band stands out. It's the whole band. It was like that in early punk and early rock n roll, everybody playing together and no lead guitar. Old-time had a list of standard songs to play from. The bands write their own songs in punk. One band is acoustic. One band is electric.

dollar signs @ the milestone

Punk was so vibrant and new at the moment, I wanted to follow where rock was going, its evolution, having been with it from the beginning, back to Lonnie Donegan and Eddie Cochran. I never wanted to lose interest in rock. I've taken an interest in punk bands playing in Charlotte and Winston-Salem now, regional bands. It appears a vibrant punk scene is happening all over the country in every city. Charlotte's punk scene is an awful lot like the beginnings of the London punk scene in 1975. Bands travel in vans from city to city. They're making a new kind of punk now. I should hope so. Punk has been going for forty years. I've been waiting to see where it's going next. Punk seems to have so much potential for self-expression, the changes happening are inside punk instead of leaving it and going someplace else. A couple decades ago, some punk musicians discovered old-time music. They'd become so familiar with electric guitars, they wanted to expand their abilities with acoustic and took up old-time. It became a trend that goes on today. The young now play old-time with a rock n roll drive, which is natural to old-time. In the old-time music world, it isn't music if it doesn't have that drive.

the seduction @ the milestone
photos by tj worthington

1 comment:

  1. Much love TJ you were a friend. -Johnny Moss