Saturday, November 06, 2004


Ohio:Songs, Volume Four

Listen to Jason Isbell sing Ohio (live) The down side with theme mixes is the obvious picks. If you're going to post a bunch of songs about Ohio, you can go with Bonnie Prince Billy (who re-recorded the Ohio Riverboat Song for Greatest Palace Music, one of my favourite records of this year) or you can go with Johnny Cash or Doc Watson or Sun Kil Moon or the Jayhawks (if you're willing to forgive them for the nightmare that was Smile). Sifting through the choices, I honestly didn't realize the Buckeye State took up so much room in my record collection. At the end of the day, though, Neil Young's Ohio is the 500 pound gorilla of Ohio songs. Now, you don't need my encouragement to buy Neil Young records (and I don't want to post two of the man's tracks in a week) but in an Ohio mix, how can you avoid Neil Young? Well, by covering him, of course. Jason Isbell is the newest member of the Drive By Truckers' singing/songwriting trio (along with nominal "front man" Paterson Hood and Mike Cooley). Don't make me pick a favourite of the three, but Isbell's got fantastic songwriting chops for a 25 year old (Don't believe me? Pick up a copy of Decoration Day and give Outfit or the title track a few minutes of your time . . . damn!) Thanks to Stereogum for posting this Isbell track where I found it and to Largehearted Boy for diggin it up in the first place. (sorry for cross posting, but it fit far too well into this week's theme for me to pass it up). Buy a DBTs record. It'll put hair on your chest.
As someone from Ohio (who voted for Kerry), I'm enjoying this a lot. If you aren't already aware, you might want to know Randy Newman has 2 Ohio songs I'm aware of: "Dayton, Ohio 1903" and the better one "Burn On", about the Cuyahoga River catching fire.

I prefer it to REM's Cuyahoga actually.

If you need a copy, I could try to e-mail you one. --- Mindy
"Smile" is a dream come true, not a nightmare.
I have to disagree on the Smile assessment, Pat. Gary Louris himself said it was their attempt to make an appeal-broadening pop record. In my experience when twangy bands try to make broad-based pop albums (Marah's "Float Away . . . " comes to mind) the results are less than good. I don't use the term sell out (as I think it's pretty much meaningless) but some might.

As for the offer of Randy Newman tracks, Mindy, thanks very much. You can forward them to me via my gmail account. I may not post them as: a) I've said pretty much all I can about this whole Ohio thing and b) I try to only post songs from records I own or from artists who have made the songs available for free on their own web sites. That said, I'd sure like to hear them.

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