Tuesday Six – 12/13/11 – That Guy at the 9:30 Club

Ok, so I know doing 2 guest Sixes in a row is kind of a cop-out. Lame. Whatever. There are two reasons for this:

1. I’m being admittedly lazy this week. Too much shit goin on in my brain. and

2. This guest six was too damn good to wait to post.

I have mentioned before on HUA about having different views at times on what “heavy” means when it comes to music, and Josh has truly embraced this and chosen a fantastic Six for this week. Look for more guest Sixes in the future, and I promise more stuff from me soon. 

For those who may not know, Josh, a.k.a. “That Guy at the 9:30 Club” has been a fixture of the DC music scene for years. If you ever visit the 930 Club, you will always remember seeing or talking to “that guy”. Read on…it may surprise you. – Jon

i have been tasked with creating a “tuesday six.”  i don’t know if you know how exactly how hard an assignment that is for me.  first, i have to pick SIX bands/artists out of the hundreds that i think that people should be exposed to.  then, i have to pick ONE song from each artist to share?  this is killing me, but i have come up with something.  i had to make some tough cuts.  there’s no clutch on this list, even though there should be.  i left off my boys in king giant because i figured they would be covered here already.  i tried to focus on some artists that the audience of this website might not know as much about.

first, some backstory.  i know the site is focused primarily on “heavy” music.  i like my fair share of the heavy stuff, and i like it loud from time to time, but lately my musical taste has been changing.  evolving.  this list will not be “heavy” by the standard definition.  some of these songs are heavy with soul, or heavy with emotion, or heavy with pure awesomeness, but there won’t be much headbanging going on while listening to my list.  lately i’ve been on this mission to find what it is about music that i like, to find out what all of the music that catches my ear has in common.  i don’t claim to have the answer quite yet, but i feel like i’m getting closer to figuring it out.

my first memories of music are from very early in my life.  my father used to play an acoustic guitar and sing me to sleep at night.  this is not to disparage my father’s musical skills in any way, but part of what i remember is the squeaks and squeals of his fingers on the strings.  acoustic guitar, and particularly that playing style, has appealed to me since then.  a lot of the music i love the most could be seen as “sloppy,” especially if you see it live.  it ain’t perfect, but that imperfection is what makes it so good.  there are times in songs when voices tremble, the notes might not come out quite right, a string breaks, or the emotion behind the songs can sneak out and show itself even if it is a little bit ugly.  this is what i love about music.  keep your autotuners and your prerecorded tracks out of my music.  i want the real deal, even if that means that sometimes you screw up the song and have to start over.  if you are writing songs honestly and performing them with all that you have every time you get on stage, i’m in.

so, the music might not be loud or heavy, but it’s got heart.  and balls.  i promise you that.  ok, enough rambling.  all of the video links are live performances, because these artists need to be seen live.  i’m sure there are cleaner versions out there somewhere if you want to look for them. now, on to the songs (in no particular order):

murder by death: “boy decide”

i can’t even begin to describe murder by death accurately.  they need to be experienced firsthand.  songs of drinking, gambling, and murder have never sounded so damn beautiful.  the line that always gets me in this song is: “you’re too old to fuck around and too young to die, time to try life on for size.”

 

chuck ragan: “done and done”

chuck ragan is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.  his music lifts my spirits, and he is quite possibly the most positive person i’ve ever met.  he was in an amazing band called hot water music, and i think his solo albums are even better.  he is responsible for the creation of revival tour, which is not to be missed.  what more motivation do you need than this: “wake up now, we’ve got to go.  somewhere higher’s all i know.”

 

william elliott whitmore: “lift my jug (song for hub cale)”

i have a soft spot for the banjo (thanks to jim henson and “the rainbow connection,” probably my favorite song ever), and william elliott  whitmore can make a banjo sing.  will has the soul, and he brings it out on stage every night.  if you want honesty in your music, look no further. “i don’t care about my sorrows.  i don’t care about my woes.  i put my knees down in the sand, down where that river flows.  i put my hands in the water, up to my elbows in the cold.  let it wash my dirty face, let it cleanse my troubled soul.”

 

lucero: “chain link fence”

lucero shows are always an adventure.  there’s a setlist, and they usually start off like most other shows.  at some wonderful point in the evening, the whiskey has flowed enough to create a magical time where the band takes requests from the audience, ben forgets the words to his songs, and john says things like “make sure to watch out for all the women-ladies out there.  shake your hips, not your fists.”  this song always reminds me of my summer trips to michigan as a kid, where i had a few short lived summer flings as a kid. “hold on, hold on, hold on to me, sweet girl.  don’t let go for the world.  i’m not from here, and i’m afraid that i might never see you again.”

 

two cow garage: “what dying is for”

two cow garage has a great energy live, and not enough people know who they are yet.  i find new things in the lyrics of their songs that i have heard a hundred times before.  for me, this song is about figuring out what it is about life that is worth dying for.  “we’re running bright eyed into the slaughter, with anthems and hearts to the sky.  we move towards the light to sleep through the night, and come running back for more, to remember what dying is for.”

 

frank turner: “i still believe”

if there’s an anthem for the kinds of things i’m talking about here, about the kind of music that i love, it’s this song.  frank turner shows are like going to church for me.  there’s an energy there that is unmatched.  music still has the power to make everything ok, and frank is leading the charge.  “who’d have thought, that after all, something as simple as rock and roll would save us all?”

there you have it.  my tuesday six.  i’m going to cheat right now and tell you to also go listen to dave hause and the reverend peyton’s big damn band and audra mae and tin horn prayer, the artists that it hurt the most to cut from this list.  enjoy!

You can follow the adventures of That Guy on Facebook by clicking here.

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