Thursday, September 26, 2013

SOTW - September 27, 2013 - Tigers Come to Town ("Fearless")

The Big Game. It's a Southern bit of greatness. For seven precious fall days, dusk becomes a bit cooler and anxiety rises like a bottle rocket. There's an omnipresence in the air that occupies Everyone's minds, whether they will admit it or not. The clock ticks ... slowly ... towards Friday at 6:00 p.m. Then, and only then, we can focus 100% of our attention on The Big Game. At some point, you've read every available bit of analysis and breakdown. For better or worse, the world will be temporarily but sharply different at 8:00 p.m. Saturday night; this much we know. Will they or won't they? Do we have enough defense? Can they stop us? Is Murray over the hump in Big Games. Who have they really played? Will the crowd show up? Will this be Clemson, or South Carolina? Is Mettenberger for real? Are we really favored. Will The Hat do something crazy? The Tigers are coming to town. They are good. So are we. At some point, the matter must be left to skill and chance and strength and nerves and luck and sweat and strategy and all the infinite variables that, no matter how hard we try to break it down, will decide The Big Game.

No matter what we do or say or think, it's all going to be in the hands of a bunch of kids that were in high school a few years ago come 3:36 p.m. on Saturday. We will be there with them in mind, body, and unified spirit. Pull. It. Out. Dawgs!

I wish they'd put me in charge of the PA in the locker room just before kickoff on Saturday. As tempted as I'd be to blast "Seven Nation Army," I'd take a different tack, one of calm inspiration. Instead of trying to charge the young gladiators' bodies, I'd try and focus their minds. Pink Floyd recorded their excellent 1971 album Meddle when they could find spare moments in a frenetic concert schedule. You'd never know it from the placid, stirring sincerity of my favorite track from the album and your Song of the Week for September 27, 2013, "Fearless." The song, built on an unforgettable open G acoustic riff (atypically played by bassist Roger Waters in the studio), challenges then inspires before reaching a peaceful lyrical resolution. It winds into an unpredictable ending (hinted at early in the song) in the form of the Liverpool F.C. Kop choir singing the English football chant, "You'll Never Walk Alone." We will be playing American football on Saturday, but the message resonates on any continent.

"You say the hill's too steep to climb. Climb it!"

pink floyd - fearless by (Unknown Artist) on Grooveshark

Thursday, September 12, 2013

SOTW - September 12, 2013 - "Easy" (John McCauley)

Equal parts Kurt Cobain (self-destruction) and Neil Young (quirky folk-rock earthiness) with a dash of Axl Rose (ssweat-drenched kisses from the front row), Deer Tick frontman John McCauley is an enigmatic indie rock hurricane. His catalogue is wide and deep despite his youth, ranging from Bakersfield alt country (2007's War Elephant),  to power pop (2010 side project Middle Brother), to crass garage grunge (2012's not-so-well received Divine Providence). He's turned himself into Jim James for the unwashed, super late-night crowd (complete with a recent Q&A in none other than Esquire magazine). Can he get comfortable with stardom?

Like Young, McCauley is as comfortable (and good) solo acoustic as he is with the amps blowing apart. When you get through the showmanship and occasional boorishness, there's a delicate earnestness about him. He can weave dreams (my personal favorite, "Dirty Dishes" off of Elephant; don't get me started) and say grace ("Choir of Angels" off of 2010's Black Dirt Sessions). The only time I've seen him live, your Song of the Week for September 13, 2013, which lies on the other end of the McCauley spectrum, was the set highlight. A tense introspective rocker off of 2009's Born on Flag Day that evokes a man with a bad hangover, "Easy" is anything but. Your music collection could probably use a little more Deer Tick.