Willie Nelson "Shotgun Willie" (Columbia Records)
"Shotgun Willie sits around in his underwear, bitin' on a bullet and pulling out all of his hair."
Willie has felt as bad and worse than you. The songs herein exhibit the resignation you'll need and the slow recovery that is possible. Sad songs and waltzes are finally selling this year. God bless Willie Nelson.
John Fahey "The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death" (Takoma Records)
Fahey is a guitar wizard. This classic recording is stuffed with so many different styles and tunings that it doesn't seem possible for it to hang together as well as it does. Fahey's mad genius is the glue that makes this stick. Dissonant, nostalgic, soothing, smoky, eerie, warped, playful, tender and hallucinatory, this album never bogs down as many instrumental collections can. There is far too much going on for that to happen. If you're a fan of guitar and you've never heard this, you'll thank me. I promise.
Spider John Koerner "Raised By Humans" (Red House Records)
I would pick Spider John to be the Slipped Discs poster boy. I have been hoping that in the midst of all this "O Brother " folk music fervor that he might catch some well-deserved recognition. Koerner has been playing and recording consistently excellent traditional and original folk music since the sixties. He's a true gem. His guitar picking and arranging skills breathe new life into old ballads about the boll weevil, Old Smoky and the Titanic. His own songs seem to have been pulled out of Woody Guthrie's and Leadbelly's notebooks. Excellent, easygoing songs that tell great stories.
Next time: "O Brother" has stirred up a good deal of appreciation for "old timey" music. What would you suggest a burgeoning folk fan listen to? Send your suggestions to email@example.com. Gopher?