the next one is done

This last week I...

...finished two good books, Richard Wright's Native Son (a long time catching up with that one!) and Etgar Keret's The Seven Good Years. 

...attended a memorial service for my grandfather in the godforsaken middle of Pennsylvania.

...left Chicago out of one airport, parking my van in long-term, and returned absentmindedly to another.

...started in earnest on the music for a play that should be done as soon as about this time next year.

...began participation in a brief series of clinical experiments in the audiology research department of Beltone in Glenview IL. to hang a little bit in Wilco's recording loft on Kedzie Ave. in a Chicago neighborhood that I firmly believe is called Old Irving Park. Attention criminals: there are objects of unbelievable value in this room!

...mixed, with John Abbey, a tune I recorded with the always resplendent vibraphonist Jason Adasciewicz for an anthology of musicalized Carl Sandburg poetry, produced by the always recherche David Nagler.

...played some hot shows with the always scintillating Redd Volkaert.

...dined at Maxine's in Bastrop, TX with the always coruscating Dallas Wayne and his always smoking-hot wife Jo.

...and finished mixing my next record! Now it's in the expert hands of masterer Jim DeMain, and definitively out of mine. The thing will be called Upland Stories, in reference to the "upland South," the setting of most of the album's songs. Don't want to crush all eager anticipation with humdrum data, but here's a little about it. The group of songs stresses words more than any previous album of mine, possibly excepting Couples in Trouble. The music style is a little hard for me to pin down, but at the soft end it's folk-blues and at the most lushly orchestrated end it's, I guess, folk-pop. Otherwise, I think much of the record, maybe one-third of it, is very continuous with Gone Away Backward, both in music and lyrics -- it's focused pretty hard on poverty and other deficits in modern American life. Playing and singing along with me are Shad Cobb, Robbie Gjersoe, Jenny Scheinman, Wayne Horvitz, Alex Hall, Todd Phillips, and Fats Kaplin. A heck of a cast, and I think they all brought my work to life with almost incredible intelligence and sensitivity -- I'm honored. More later.