Label: Nudie Circle
I didn’t know anything about women first time I saw Buck Owens. This would have been the early 70s when Buck was playing for his supper on Hee-Haw. The last time I saw Buck I still knew nothing about women but by then I had had my share of heartbreaks and all night drives, of bare white walls and overfull ashtrays. This was in the early 90s. Me and my third wife were getting on pretty good back then, so we drove north from LA on the Interstate up over the Grapevine and into Bakersfield where Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace was located. We found ourselves a motel downtown then found ourselves a handle of bourbon, a bucket of ice, and a box of popcorn. It is wise to cover your bases in Bakersfield. When we got to the Crystal Palace we didn’t see a whole lot of crystal or a whole lot of palace, but by that time nothing much mattered. The bourbon was working and Buck was on stage. The show was a combination of country violin, smoke, lightning, and grinning Buckaroos. What remains strongest in my memory though is not Buck or the lightning but this old guy sitting next to us, half drunk, hollering it up, and balling his fists. I could tell it was over a woman. When it’s over a woman, it sounds like a parking lot car jock late night cell phone yeller, or a liquored up sun dusted country road walker wondering why the way to his first girlfriend’s house is so hard to find anymore. We’ve all been down that road. Which brings me to Greasewood Park’s new album, The Woman Inside My Head. Some have called it river twang for the visine age and oceanic groove for a black top world. I say it’s more a bottle of Old Grandad at 3 a.m., not what you want exactly but exactly what you need. In song after song, Jed Winstone’s voice, whiskey dark and gizzardy, slowly beats itself into a shallow grave over the memory of a woman and we can do nothing but nod. More punk rock than pedal steel and more Bakersfield than Nashville, The Woman Inside My Head boozes it up with the blurry country ache of early Ron Lucey, the early country punk of late Old Laredo, and the blue period of Two Cow Garage (whose album Please Turn The Gas Back On says it all). Fat guitar, solid drumming, and soaring violin sound timelessly goodtimey while Winstone repeats his grievances reminding us of old lovers or any number of others we might have had kids with but somehow didn’t. Wounded and wasted, pissed off, pissed, and frustrated, this is what it sounds like when a man takes a swing at heaven.
When one considers ancient grooves of vinyl as soil between the toes then one knows what or how much of one one is. Because it’s life and one has lived it mostly listening to what is on, not just on the stereo, but what is on the street or construction site or whatever amazing grace is playing on AM radio or nature solo or treeharp cicada buzz under drip drip garden hose. Even to the unimaginative man’s jaundiced ears: living is music reviewed. Your ear a German philosopher’s, your head slightly tilted toward the windowed upper sanctum where you hear a wild pack of dogs rip apart the splayed carcass of a homeless jockey, thus filling the lounge lodged deep inside your dura mater with liquisound. He is the symmetrical mechanism: he abhors distractions, he hears truth, he gets jokes, he is baby-gold, clam-mad, exact. He must work with analogue, digital, spiritual; he must hear through illusions, his ears must transvalue all values with the certitude of tiny gods cemented to the sides of his head. All of this is good and not good, for we are made to live and love and be loved, not consider how music makes knotted dirges for every step echo we take, and so we yield our ears to crystallized circles of submerged murmuring for comfort or transport or for no other reason than us and they are here. And so composes my review: “ On The Beauty of A Naked Body Can Only Be Felt By The Clothed, the guitar wash and smooth round soft sound progression causes Byzantine chant cycles to drive beyond the languorous Hammond B3 as drum sticks tick on cymbal metalskin…” & “I might die from such fragile spurs of sound.” & “This album delves deeper into absolute adoration for every moment it leaves me living.” & “Let’s move to Ohio.” & “It makes what was foreign comprehensible and then introduces me to myself.”