Music Tonight: Hailing from the same Tulsa, Okla., suburb (Broken Arrow) as singer/actress Kristin Chenoweth, Saturday Night Live comedian (and South Park writer) Bill Hader and Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Warren Spahn, singer/songwriter JD McPherson's upbringing found him youthfully exploring the music of Nirvana and The Stooges right alongside Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly, a signal of things to come. Today, McPherson (now based in the Chicago area) is making a name for himself with songs that reflect the influence of Rock & Roll's breakout period. McPherson performs tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The free show also features an appearance by like-minded locals (although with a bit more of a Honky Tonk stride) Straw Boss. Showtime is 9 p.m. Check out this potential Northside anthem, "North Side Gal," and dig McPherson's incredibly soulful and authentic ’50s vibe:—-
Momentous Happenings in Music History for December 7
On this day in 1991, U2's sixth album of all new material (and seventh overall), Achtung Baby, hit No. 1 on the Billboard album charts. This past fall, an "expanded" (which is an extreme understatement in this case) reissue of the album — with alternate recordings, outtakes and apparently every snippet of music that could be found from the session — was issued. While less cumbersome versions were also released, the 20th anniversary "Super Deluxe Edition" featured a staggering 10 CDs (including four DVDs, 16 art prints and a hardback book). The amount of music alone on the full-on reissue seems excessive — while the original album takes just over an hour to listen to, you'd need to block out five additional hours to listen to every track on the "Super Deluxe" version (72 songs at six hours, eight minutes and 25 seconds).
While I was a huge fan of U2 early on, Achtung — which many consider one of the best albums of the ’90s — was where they lost me. I was really put off by the "overblown"-ness of the album and touring surrounding it. The band members have said that things like "The Fly" and giant lemon stage props were just U2 playing with their image and irony. But, while it may be funny to "ironically" have dinner at White Castle, if anyone were to "ironically" take that to the extreme and purchase a chain of franchises — "ironically" — they'd probably be put in a straightjacket.
Still, I admit it was likely my passion for the band's previous albums that turned me off of Achtung. I've since revisited the album (hey, I had 72 TRACKS of the stuff to peruse!) and can appreciate it a lot more these days. I especially enjoyed the documentary about the album, which has been airing on Showtime since late October. Check out the trailer for the flick, From The Sky Down, below, and try to catch it sometime if you haven't seen it yet. It's an interesting snapshot of a band coming to terms with their massive success in new and creative ways.
Born This Day: Musical movers-and-shakers sharing a Dec. 7 birthday include: Died-before-his-time singer/songwriter ("Cat's in the Cradle," "Taxi") Harry Chapin (1942); co-founder of the Psychedelic Furs and Love Spit Love, Tim Butler (1958); contemporary Pop star Sara Bareilles (1979); and uniquely genius singer/songwriter Tom Waits (1949).
While we've often expressed our shock over a musician's age, it's usually, "Can you believe so-and-so is that OLD?!" In Mr. Waits case, with all due respect, we've gotta say, "Can you believe Tom is ONLY 62!?" Dude's looked (and sounded) 62 since 1972.
Which kinda makes us love him even more.