And now, prompted by this afternoon's trip to Tower Records, we move on to the (perhaps less interesting) question of: what is on Father WB's ipod? And before you get all indignant and start clamoring about how ipods aren't anglo-catholic, take a moment to reflect on the fact that the Queen owns one, as does the Pope -- which to my mind makes them both anglo and catholic, and therefore pretty definitively anglo-catholic.
To the point: Q: what's on my ipod right now? A: Several things you should consider putting on yours.
Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times
Many people don't like "new Dylan." I'm not one of them. The band he's playing with these days is pretty tight (not in the Earnest Hemingway sense), as tight as any he's ever played with (including THE Band), and this album is God-haunted and good. The first track, Thunder on the Mountain, is particularly terrific.
M Ward's new album, Post War
M Ward makes music that all sounds the same: good. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. He hasn't fixed it; and I recommend this album just as much as I recommend his others. M Ward sounds to me kind of like Chuck Berry after the death of a lover. The second track, To Go Home, strikes me particularly: "God its great to be alive / takes the skin right off my hide / to think I'll have to give it all up some day." Trite + several layers of the ironical = profound.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy's newish live album, Summer in the Southeast
I've blogged before about how I think Bonnie Billy is most comparable to John Donne. I stand by that. And, like Bob Dylan, he is both genuinely poetical and genuinely God-haunted. The questions he raises are worth considering. E.g. "Why can't I be loved for what I am: a wolf among wolves, and not as a man among men?" And after you consider such questions, you should give your life to Jesus (as should the Bonnie "Prince" -- but I don't think he reads my blog, and I don't know his email address). This one might be for fans only.
Next we have Steve Earle's bluegrass classic, The Mountain
It truly is a classic. I bought this album when it first came out, in 1999, but it was stolen out of my car in New Haven, along with most of the rest of my cd's, before I had gotten around to MP3-ifying it. So I bought another copy of it today. Highlights include the whole album. But some highlights hilightorum (as it were) are Dixieland (though Earle seems to be rooting for the wrong team), Harlan Man, and Carrie Brown (which also happens to have been my great-grandmother's name).
And continuing the country classics theme, lastly we have the recently released Gram Parsons The Complete Reprise Sessions
It comes with a half-interesting booklet, some radio interviews, an extra cd's worth of alternative versions of songs, and such like nuggets. But the meat of the thing is the meat of Parsons' musical career in general: his two solo albums, GP and Grievous Angel. And on a personal note, before dropping out of Harvard, Parsons had been in some kind of a cappella group with my uncle at the Bolles School.