The Low Down Review – No. 21

31 Dec

Boiling Gold: For a while, I was defintely in the low down, folks. I’m just now peeking through the most sick I’ve ever felt. I had the worst of what’s going around, a flu that wrapped a few other maladies into its careless cocktail of static illness. Dramatic? Not at all… Shit was intense, and the couch was the farthest I could reach from the bed for a week. I cancelled my last show of the year, and fell in and out of awareness to bad movies on Netflix.

Volcano, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche is probably the worst of the bunch, but watching Tommy Lee Jones react to a volcano erupting and forming in the middle of downtown Los Angeles proved to be a healthy dose of humor amidst a collection of crumpled tissues and empty tea cups. The man yells about as much as Samuel Jackson, and takes more charge than a fleet of car batteries.

At the other end of the spectrum, though, and just last night, I found Even the Rain (Tambien La Lluvia), a brilliant, layered movie that drew complicated parallels between the Spanish conquest of the Americas in search of gold in the 15th and 16th centuries and the fight in the Americas over water rights, using the Chochabamba protests in 2000 as a backdrop. The movie pushes the notion that though the details change, the story remains the same, but does so without falling neatly into the cliche. Substitute gold with water, and you’ll get the gist of where the movie takes the viewer. This does not stand to minimize the effectiveness of the cinematography, the dialogue and the captivating performances…

I’ll avoid a detailed recounting of the storyline (here’s the trailer), but I have to mention that the screenwriter, Paul Laverty has a masterful command of irony as an artistic and revelatory tool (we ain’t talking obscure albums and PBRs here…). He showed remarkable ability in weaving the conflicting stories of the indigenous fight for rights and the perceived rights of those in power into a coherent drama about a director and his producer. The characters (who endeavor to film a controversial movie about Christopher Columbus in the Americas) and their rich portrayal are the result of a very deep tool chest, and provide the viewer with an engaging story, as well as a detailed and colorful tapestry.

So, after the movie, and as I turn on the kettle for another cup of tea, I do so reminded that while I’ve been feeling down, I am, by and large, not held down. And while I ain’t yet paying gold for my water, I know it’s more precious than gold. Water, in my mind, is a gift of life from the planet, not a product for sale by humans.


Two if by Mail: I want to get the New Year off to a generous start, so I’m offering up a two-for-one sale on physical, mail-order Greenhorn sales for the month of January. It’s real simple, folks. Anyone who clicks the “Buy Now” link below or the identical link on my website to purchase through PayPal will receive an extra copy of Greenhorn for free. What should you do with this additional album? No rules against re-gifting around here; send it along to a friend you think will enjoy the tunes and spread the generous spirit. Happy New Year, folks!

From the Low Down: I wish I had more news on the recording front, but December is a difficult month to record, and a prolonged illness, John’s sprained ankle, holiday festivities, a vacation to Key West, and some other issues delayed the proceedings. We do, though, have quite a bit already recorded, including the vocal tracks for half of the album. So, there’s good news for certain. We have a lot to accomplish next month, though.

Also in the realm of good news and related to the album, I met with tattoo artist, designer and photographer Nick Reinert a couple of weeks ago to view some of his ideas for the cover art. It was an exciting meeting because the guy had some brilliant sketches, and I’ll show you one:

That image will be the thematic center-piece for all the album art, as well as for the collection of songs, and I’m glad to be working with Nick again after a long break between projects. Nick worked with me and Matt Durfee in 2007, snapping photos and helping with staging for the Palatypus CD Release show. Make sure you folks check out Nick’s work and portfolio at his website.

In other good news, the tickets to March’s CD release party are now available on Caffe Lena’s website. Here’s the direct link to the event page and ticket information, and here’s the info on the show – you’ll be reading and hearing a lot about this one:

    Harvest the Heart CD Release Show
    with opener Caitlin Canty
    Saturday, March 30 – Doors at 7:00 p.m.
    Caffe Lena
    47 Phila Street
    Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
    Ticket Info: Member – $12 / General – $14
    Purchase tickets here…

As always, folks thanks for everything. I’ve got a lot in the queue for the new year, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all. Spread the word and share the song… I truly wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

– Mike

Ernest Hemingway’s Typewriter
Hemingway House, Key West, FL

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