I get stuck on albums a lot. Call it an occupational hazard. It comes with the territory. I have to listen to albums on ‘repeat’ to really digest them. Sometimes, truth be told, I end up strangling the albums with over-listening, the same way Lennie Smalls “tended da rabbits” in the Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men. And there are times when all the reviews have been written, the feature stories edited and sent to press, that I find myself under my headphones, just listening, because I can’t stop.
But I can’t recall it being quite like this before — at least not in a really long time — when two albums from two local artists simultaneously struck such deep and enthralling chords.
Last night, mostly because I hoped to catch another glimpse of our returning bruin, which we’ve named “Beary Manilow,” and partially because I was in that state where you’re too tired to sleep, I stayed up extra-late doing some mindless work for this issue, while taking what was probably my twentieth spin through Gregory Alan Isakov’s The Weatherman, and Elephant Revival’s soon-to-be-released These Changing Skies.
Both are exemplary pieces of work. Poetic, delicate, passionate albums that capture artists playing their best music to date. Multiple times throughout the albums’ playing I found myself not only stuck on their music, but frozen at my desk. My hands were on my keyboard, Photoshop was open with pictures to be adjusted, but over and over again I just sat there, never moving an inch, several times so long that the screen saver came on.
It was peaceful and perfect.
But I awoke the next morning with almost a folk music hangover and I vowed while pouring my coffee to blast some rock and roll to re-balance my musical equilibrium. Yet, 10 minutes into the cleanse I found myself whistling in my head the melodies of both Isakov and Elephant. It didn’t matter that I was two songs into a Black Crowes show recorded earlier this summer in Amsterdam that I just got my hands on, Greg’s verses and Bonnie Paine’s theremin-sounding musical saw was overriding the ruckus.
I hope that others get to experience even a fraction of the connection that I’ve felt with these albums and that those artists continue to see success. They’ve certainly earned it. And having spoken with them this month, not to mention knowing them for years, I can honestly say that they’re not just good musicians, but good people, as well. Their stories are as good as their music, and it gives me hope for the continual progression of our music scene in Colorado.
Now, if I can only listen to something else for just a little bit, so that I don’t end up hurting the precious “rabbits” I’m tending.
See you at the shows.