As some of you might know Justin is good friends with The Avett Brothers
from way back, and has toured with them a few times recently. We don't know much about Twitter, but apparently The Avett Brothers have been gabbing about us over there on their Twitter
On Sept. 18th somebody asked them:"What music are y'all listening to these days? Anything we MUST HEAR now to shape our own ears and musical taste?"
And they answered:
"Justin Gordon, Alela Diane, David Grisman, All the Garcia Grisman Albums, the list goes on and on."
Then on Sept. 26th somebody asked Bob Crawford: "What is your favorite band (besides the Avett Brothers)>"
And Bob answered:
"fav. band other than Avetts? Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Justin Gordon, Alela Diane, Band of Horses to name a few."
This was shortly after we saw The Avetts here in Oregon, and gave them a copy of Justin's new album The Love and the Mystery.
Friday August 28th 2009
In Living Color: Paleface, Justin Gordon and Homesick Elephant
Paleface showed true rock charisma at his show on Monday night at the Hotel Cafe by refusing to hold back his performance despite a sprained ankle he had sustained at a show several night’s before. Despite the obvious pain, he danced around, shared the duo’s incredibly infectious tunes, and even got the folks at Hotel Cafe singing along with him (which is quite a feat at a place known for holding industry showcases and mellow singer songwriter types). Justin Gordon and the Wrecking Ball proved quite impressive as well. I knew Gordon’s songs from the record but was curious to see how they would translate live. Quite well would be the answer and with a bit more of a rocking edge that lended itself perfectly to a spot on version of Neil Young’s “Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere”. I look forward to seeing both of these acts again in the hopefully not-so-distant future.
Album Review - Ten Dollar Guitar
"Ten Dollar Guitar is full of the best songs you’ve never heard. It’s like a road mix of your favorite artists and albums all ripped and ready to go. It’s rough as a way to be true to its music, but it’s still thought out and refined in its own way.
Asking what genre Ten Dollar Guitar is like asking a rainbow its favorite color. Ten Dollar Guitar is Justin Gordon and a ten dollar guitar. The collaboration of country, folk, blues, and Latin influences is superlative and seamless. You don’t listen to Justin Gordon because you’re in the mood for country or blues. You listen to him because you’re in the mood for Justin Gordon.
The album gets the wheels spinning with ‘Gasoline,’ a witty tune full of country idiom and political persuasion without being preachy. Then he immediately shifts gears with ‘Bottomdweller,’ a virtual lullaby that emphasizes Justin’s songwriting range. Like most Justin Gordon tunes, the themes of the lyrics and rhythms are harmonious. I can’t imagine he’s ever written an unfinished song that just needs lyrics. His lyrics and the music seem to need each other.
The album is peppered with Latin junkets that really help drive an underlying theme. They include ‘Staircase to the Sky,’ ‘El Viento,’ ‘Aliens,’ and the albums masterpiece ‘Leon Trotsky Assassination Blues.’ ‘Staircase’ and ‘Aliens’ are tremendous bouts of storytelling, but Justin’s historical account of a Russian man’s murder in Mexico, told in a southern black blues style puts the multi in multiculturalism, all while Justin works the guitar like a carnival calliope.
The album also has it’s more mellow tunes whose hearts lie much closer to home, wherever Justin’s home might be at the time, and one of the album’s gems is ‘High and Lonesome,’ which says much with no lyrics, and whose simplicity incites cool reflection and nostalgic ease.
The album ends with ‘Kansas,’ and just like the state, it makes sweet beauty out of nothing. One of my favorite lyrics of the album comes from that song. “Now our shocks are sacked out with all of our shit.” You may have never been to Kansas, but if you’ve been young, you’ve been there.
If there is any criticism of the album, it might come from its production. But praise could come from there too. Justin recorded ‘Ten Dollar Guitar’ using a simple audio device and a computer, and did all the overdubs himself. Most of the takes were done from the back of his car on the road, and there was no studio mixdown. Its easy to understand how this recording style could become limiting, but it is hard to argue that this technique gives an antiseptic feel to the music or makes it feel untrue like so many studio produced albums today.
Oh, and did I mention the guitar he used was a ten dollar guitar?
Well if you ask me, I’d say Justin got a hell of a bargain, and if you buy this album, so will you. So pony up."