Being a music critic is not really my thing. In fact, I’ve always loathed album reviews. They’re so often eye-rollingly pretentious and chock-full of subjective blabbering intended primarily to meet the minimum word count demanded by somebody’s editor. Endless yammering about idiosyncratic chord structures and time signatures, esoteric influences and the deeper symbolic meaning of this lyric, or that, topped off with insider stories intended to give the impression that the writer is somehow cool, simply by virtue of being aware of some trivial anecdote that not even the band itself would bother remembering. I actually believe that any academic analysis of art is, at best, irritating and pointless, and at worst, a real cockblock to the mind’s ability to simply take a creative work at face value and just, you know, feel something. But Whim Grace is a friend of mine, and she asked me to take a listen and write my thoughts on the album. I agreed, because I have long loved her work. So I listened. And then I listened again. I’ve been listening, for months now. I knew I liked it, but I didn’t really know what to say about it, without falling into the aforementioned quagmire of pretentiousness, so I didn’t write anything. And then I started to feel bad, because I kept not writing, which gnawed at me, because I had made a promise. But still I kept listening to the album, again and again. That part was easy, because it’s really good. Then I decided to just describe it the way I would to a friend. [Read more…] about The New Whim Grace Album is Gorgeous. You Should Buy It
Just imagine yourself living in a different time. It is 1965, and you’re at a small, smokey bar in Austin, Texas. Neon lights buzz softly along the walls, illuminating the high-backed leather booths with a soft red glow. A cold Lone Star sits half-empty in front of you, beside an empty glass of well whiskey. You light yourself a Marlboro Red and ponder another round, pausing to notice the dingy stage curtains slowly part, and the form of a smallish woman with wavy brown hair, decorated with fresh flowers, sauntering up to a microphone, guitar in hand. She begins to sing. Old blues standards. Those first moments seem to hang for an eternity, and you don’t even realize your jaw has dropped wide open, because the intensity of your disbelief has rendered you oblivious to everything…everything but the voice. That voice! That voice emanates from someplace else, someplace beyond. Surely, it cannot possibly be coming form this pretty little person you see on the stage. After belting out a string of tunes that seem to reach out through the wafting smoke, reaching inside of you, beneath the crust of your consciousness, making every hair on your neck stand up at incredulous attention, this woman…this impossibly soft and lovely little person introduces herself, in a low and raspy voice, simply as Janis. Despite your disbelief, you are immediately convinced of one thing. A fact like none other you’ve ever known. This woman is a star. Maybe nobody outside of this little bar knows it, yet, but it is nevertheless a universal truth. And you are her instant evangelist.
This article was originally posted here, then moved to another site because this one was being a pain. So now there’s just the excerpt. I hope you’ll like it enough to click through to the other page. Thanks.