Monday, December 03, 2007

If we make it through December

I feel no shame in appropriating a Merle Haggard lyric for a title. None whatsoever. It's been on my lips and mind for the past week or more. This month has come screaming in and promises to beat us into submission and lead us into one bitter and cold season. Hold tight!

One good reason to live through winter this year is the (promised and speculated) 2008 release of the documentary on the late and wonderful Arthur Russell. I wasn't totally thrilled with the Scott Walker documentary that made me put away the noose last year and foolishly push into 2007 but I am keeping high hopes for this one whether wise or not. I think when you choose to profile an artist that isn't so common, you are forced (through financiers?) to use some hip and cool, known artists in there to draw the crowds and get some tickets sold. I was suspect of that when I watched the Scott Walker film and seeing Jens Lekman here makes me feel the same. Still, I am going to keep drawing frozen breaths into the next year so that I can see anything at all to do with Arthur Russell, so deep is my love for the man.

I first read about him in that stuffy British music-snob magazine, The Wire, back when they were starting to compile compilations and re-release his music and go through the archives of his huge, self-recorded output. I actually found a few cool bands through that rag but I haven't seen a copy in ages. Anyway, nothing I've listened to since falling for Mr Walker all those years ago has affected me quite like Mr Russell. There's this absolute beauty that is infused in everything from the solo, voice and cello stuff through the disco music and there is a healthy dose of melancholy as well and his voice is so perfect that it's nearly unreal. There are a million magical variables, actually. It's too tough to pinpoint but it is absolutely attracting to me and I am always stilled by listening to him, as corny as that sounds. If you're new to him, you should definitely seek him out any way that you can and I suggest you get it all. Then you can be obsessed and have a reason to smile through this bleak season without resorting to superabundant bourbon, like Haggard would.

All the info on the documentary can be found here.


Jeff said...

I've been anxiously awaiting this film. Sooooon.

mike said...

arthur russell is so rad. my friend who turned me onto him spent some time in cali a couple of summers ago transcribing some of his pieces for the arthur russell foundation (maybe?) and I think he mentioned helping out with something on the doc too. i look forward to seeing this as well.