Thursday, August 29, 2013

I got a plan

Ok. Trying something new with the Monthly Mix. Underneath the track listing you will find an embedded playlist from YouTube to hear the entire mix...kind of. The mix has mostly studio versions but YouTube provides a chance to grab some live performances of the same songs, so where available, and where the sound quality was good, I took that route. There was only one song that I couldn't find an acceptable cut of so track 19 won't be found below. Enjoy.

1. Get Me Golden    Ξ  Terraplane Sun
2. I Want You Back  Ξ  Lake Street Dive
3. Sunshine  Ξ  Court Yard Hounds
4. Live Oak  Ξ  Jason Isbell
5. Silver and Gold  Ξ  Trampled By Turtles
6. Highwayman  Ξ  The White Buffalo
7. Sinners  Ξ  The Rouge
8. She's Gone  Ξ  The Morrison Brothers Band
9. Dig Down Deep  Ξ  Vandaveer
10. Love Will Be Enough  Ξ  Seabird
11. Ya Never Know  Ξ  Terraplane Sun
12. Further On  Ξ  Bronze Radio Return
13. Love Like This  Ξ  Kodaline
14. Operated  Ξ  Rogue Wave
15. What It Is  Ξ  Kodaline
16. Grow  Ξ  Wake Owl
17. I Don't Want to Know  Ξ  The Swell Season
18. Rivers  Ξ  Bipolar Sunshine
19. Bastards of the Highway  Ξ  John Moreland & The Black Gold Band
20. I Need My Girl  Ξ  The National
21. Memories & Dust  Ξ  Josh Pyke
22. Des Fois (Sometimes)  Ξ  The Revelers  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Old Buck is Turning 80

About 130 years ago, James Louis LaBar Sr. was born and started off a chain of events that would lead me to the side of a pond yesterday in East Texas, listening to a pretty blonde woman in an aqua colored sun dress explain to me how a nest of water moccasins had made a home next to their house which led to a weekend chore of "sitting up on this hill and popping them with my 17." Shelby is my cousin, who I am meeting for the first time. She grew up on 40 acres of God's country with grass that crunches under your feet on a ranch built by her father Bruce off the sale of timber. 

It's times like these when you wonder where North Branch, NJ went but these thoughts are quickly overtaken by the discovery of a Tarzan lunch box rusted over, keeping a set of bull horns company in Bruce's shed out back where fish and deer are cleaned and old bottles of Wild Turkey are used to collect some sort of miscellaneous liquid that could either be moonshine or grease. 

My Aunt Jeanette passed away in July, Uncle Gary back in 2009. Their family home in Natchitoches, TX, our shelter from multiple storms not only provided us a safe haven but also provided an immediate stage for stories from my family's past. With this as a home base this past summer, we've seen the family grave of James Sr. as well as the old family house where my father grew up that is now a Vietnam War memorial and a monument for the work done by Lufkin locals to recover pieces of the space shuttle Columbia that scattered itself throughout town. We've found the abandoned drive-thru movie theater that my Uncle Gary used to manage and jokingly dreamed about re-opening its doors to the public to launch a new adventure.

Grave site of James Louis LaBar, Sr in Lufkin, TX

Me and Aunt Judy on the old LaBar family lot in Lufkin.

Natchitoches is where we first met Buddy Williams, a cousin of mine who turned 80 yesterday. A side of the family that I have never known and still cannot quite follow through the web of a rather confusing family tree that has roots in East Texas, winds its way up to Canada and spreads west to California. It's here that I meet Buddy's son Scott, who has traced our family back to 1654 when Abraham De LaBarre, a Royal Guard of the King of France disobeyed an order to save the King's daughter and gave rise to the family name. It is Scott who introduces me to "one of the last real cowboys," who in between large quantities of chew, accent and stories about the tires on his truck declares that all the new ones are really just "hats."

Williams Ranch in East Texas

It's not often you get to eat fried catfish and hush-puppies with a side of your family that you did not really know existed, celebrate the 80th birthday of a cousin you are meeting for the second time, meet a friend of his who worked in the Lufkin paper mill for your grandfather Jimmy, possibly side by side with your own dad, or even chat about popping water snakes with a pretty cousin of yours all in a single day. Happy Birthday Buddy!

Me, Carlee and our cousin Buddy Williams

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mandolin Orange

Discovered this band this weekend courtesy of Hear Ya and am pretty sure that not only is it excellent, it makes me want to use the adjective "pure." Great for some lazy weekend reading out on the back porch here in Lafayette.

Train Song:

Runnin' Red

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Best Friends

These two hang out in our back yard a lot. I'm not quite sure that the squirrel understands most of the things Jozy says to him...but she is pretty persistent in trying to get her message across.

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Book of Jonas - Stephen Dau

"Where do you go in your mind?" asks Paul, and Jonas tells him that sometimes he doesn't know, that sometimes he looks up to realize than an hour or more has passed as he sits in the library, or on the edge of his bed, or on a park bench, and that he has no recollection of it.

"Doesn't that worry you?" asks Paul. "How much time do you spend in this way, drifting and unaware, in your head?"

At first, Jonas doesn't understand the question. Or thinks that maybe he understands it differently from the way Paul intends it. But then he thinks that he does understand, and his face lights up with comprehension.

"Oh, lifetimes," he says at last. "I've spent lifetimes unconscious."

Inspired in part by my recent read of The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, I picked this book up recently and found it an interesting follow-up to Powers' book. While The Yellow Birds focused on the impact of the Iraq war on young soldiers, The Book of Jonas focuses on the impact of an unnamed Middle Eastern war on a refugee and his connections to the mother of an American soldier responsible for saving his life. This book was dark. You can feel the shadow of the painful secret that is revealed towards the end from the minute you finish the first paragraph and read this line "In the village they tried to make sense of it."

The Yellow Birds was dark too. Both seemed fitting given the nightmares that come from the inability to find peaceful resolution to our differences.