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Jul 22

Firecracker – So Long Someday

Filed under: albums, books | Back to: Homepage

I don’t feel music like I used to.  In high school and college I would get albums that I would listen to over and over and over and over again.  Stuff by Lyle Lovett and Cowboy Junkies and Dwight Yoakam and Chris Isaak and whoever else really grabbed me wound up in high rotation for months before I even thought about listening to something else.

But as an adult, that doesn’t happen to me that much any more.  I have a lot of theories for it:

  • Too many albums at my disposal
  • More discriminating
  • Not enough time to absorb new material

Daniel J. Levitin has a better theory in This Is Your Brain on Music (great book!).  I’m paraphrasing, but one of the points he makes is that teenagers’  brains are better wired to be overcome by the effect of music – to really feel the sound in a way that adults can’t.

image I would buy into that theory except for the fact that occasionally an album comes along that I play all day, every single day, for months on end.  Firecracker – So Long Someday is one of those albums.

I picked up So Long Someday after finding out that a Rhett Miller song was on the album.  The music is right up my alley – pop/rock songs above love lost with a little grit thrown in on the side and some great lead guitar work.  Scout, the lead singer and songwriter, has an appealing voice, his lyrics are heartfelt, and the sound crafted on this recording is soothing.

The sad thing about all this is that these guys are local and were playing gigs right down the block at the Hotel Utah.  By the time I became transfixed by this album, I only caught a few acoustic gigs before they seemed to disappear.  I still hold out hope that Scout or the band will resurface in some form somewhere in the City.

Note to self – go see more local, live music so that I don’t make this mistake again.

Jul 18

Further to Fall

Filed under: wip | Back to: Homepage

This one is probably the most polished of the new batch of songs.  I introduced a recent performance of it with the fact that I’m from the South and a lot of my songs have some twang in them.  After I finished playing, somebody said to me "nah, man, not too much twang at all."

As if twang was a bad thing.

So when you listen to this one, close your eyes and see if you can hear some heavy pedal steel guitar in the background.  That’s how I hear it when I play it.

Further to Fall

Jul 18

Rattlesnakes and Relatives

Filed under: family | Back to: Homepage

Cheyenne in better days...FYI – the tag line for this blog is "a blog sometimes about music."

Apparently centuries of Australian breeding didn’t teach my Mom’s Blue Heeler, Cheyenne, that she shouldn’t go sticking her nose around things that rattle.  At the ranch this past weekend she took a bite from a North American rattlesnake and lived to tell about it.  There’s Cheyenne in better days to the right…

That’s not my story.

While talking about Cheyenne’s pitiful state, my Mom dropped this gem about my grandfather, Bliss Wilson.  Papaw did not like snakes at all, though his job as a soil conservationist in rural Oklahoma probably kept him in close proximity to them.  One day, on a drive back from fishing at the farm, he and Mamaw heard a loud buzzing in the pickup.  My grandfather, thinking it was a rattler, jumped out of the moving truck while it was still in gear, leaving my grandmother to fend for herself as it rolled to a stop.

Ultimately the sound was snagged fishing line being pulled through a reel.  No harm no foul I guess, but my grandmother still hasn’t forgiven Papaw for leaving her in a moving truck that he thought had a rattlesnake in it!

Jul 11

Broken Wings

Filed under: wip | Back to: Homepage

the tele w bigsby #1 on my list of things to record when I get the time is another version of Broken Wings.  The emotive quality of this song makes it really fun to play, but I can’t seem to capture a recording that sounds like what I’m hearing.  I specifically asked for opinions on this song the last time I played it live at the Bazaar and got a thumbs up, but maybe folks were just being nice?  Judge for yourself – here’s the latest acoustic recording:

Broken Wings

I originally wrote this on the telecaster with a real dirty, bluesy electric guitar part.  Maybe that’s what’s missing?  Or maybe it needs another stanza?  Or a really good bridge?  More to come…

Jul 09

Hey, look at me, I’m writing a blog!

Filed under: about | Back to: Homepage

I started a personal blog this week.  Theoretically it’s now tied to my Facebook profile, which means there’s a chance someone might actually read it.  Here’s what this thing is all about…

imageI needed a new web site (Brad Meador) to support my music habit and it had to have a simple way to post gigs and new material.  I’m no stranger to blogging, so a personal, music-focused blog seemed way to go.  The result is downtime.  If you use an RSS\Feed Reader you can subscribe here.  If you have no idea what that means, sign up for email updates here.

In addition to upcoming gigs and new music I’m working on, I’m likely to post about albums I really like (does the term "album" date me?), some great concerts, and anything else that captures my attention.  So, instead of sending you emails like "OMG I have listened to Greg Garing’s Dream Too Real to Hold 20 times today and can’t stop" or "I had no idea Kathleen Edwards could rock until I saw her at the Independent last night" I’ll just post that stuff here.

I also have some crazy notion that writing a little bit about music will help me clarify thoughts, stimulate creativity, and maybe – just maybe – make me a better songwriter and performer.  I guess that all remains to be seen.

On a final note, why did I name the blog downtime?  First, that’s the name of my album; a collection of largely melancholic songs recorded while between jobs.  Second, most of the stuff I listen to and perform tends towards tales of heartbreak – what I consider to be a very liberal definition of the blues (see About Brad Meador).  Finally, music remains my primary hobby, something I do to relax.  Downtime.  Perfect, right?

Jul 09

Upcoming Gigs

Filed under: gigs | Back to: Homepage

I’ll be posting upcoming gigs on the blog.  If you’re interested in following just the gigs and not the rest of the blog, you have two choices – sign up on my mailing list or subscribe to get only the gig posts in your feed reader of choice.  If you’ve gotten email from me about new shows in the past, you’re already on the mailing list.  If you want to switch to the reader, let me know.

And yeah, there’s not an upcoming show on the calendar right now because I’m really really busy with the day job.  That said, I try to make it to the Bazaar Cafe every Thursday for open mic.  It’s all acoustic, all original music.  Robin Galante is a great host and the performers are usually awesome.  So stop by sometime.

Jul 08

Gwendolyn

Filed under: wip | Back to: Homepage

I wrote this one a while ago – right after I completed downtime – but put it away for a while (explanation below).  Picture a rocking Old 97s-type arrangement (blistering telecaster and driving, shuffling drums) when you listen:

Gwendolyn

So I submitted this to Nashville Songwriters Association for a song evaluation right after I wrote it.  As part of your membership, the NSAI allows you to send in a tape of your compositions.  A “professional” will listen to the song, record their thoughts on the tape and send it back.  All in all it’s a great service and one of the main reasons to pay your dues.  When I first completed this one I was a member and dashed off a recording of the song, anxious to get feedback.  When the tape came back, the reviewer said it was the worst song he’d heard all day.

It was then that I realized I wasn’t mature enough to handle criticism of my music.

Jul 06

It’s Complicated

Filed under: wip | Back to: Homepage

This is the latest one that I’ve finished.  Believe it or not, it was actually more depressing in an initial draft, but now I think it has a slight bit of hope at the end:

It’s Complicated (6 String)

This guy sounds better with the 12 string, but I can’t seem to capture a good recording of that guitar.  Judge for yourself:

It’s Complicated (12 String)

And yes, I know this sounds a little bit like an Eagles song.  Maybe Don Henley will be flattered.

Jul 06

Those Legendary Shack*Shakers

Filed under: live music | Back to: Homepage

img053 Tonight at The Independent, Those Legendary Shack Shakers held up my #1 theory about live music – if the band has an upright bass in it, they won’t suck.  Think SCOTS or Reverend Horton Heat with a scorching harmonica and 10x energy; the kind of band you’d expect to see in the Star Community Bar back in the Bubbapalooza days.  JD Wilkes is billed as the "…the last great rock and roll frontman."  I believe it.

This video gives an idea of the energy I’m talking about.

Jul 04

Nothing Left to Lose

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Though I’ve been tweaking it for a while now, this song came about as easily as a song ever has:

Nothing Left to Lose