Happy new year, and welcome to the January edition of the andrewhersey.com updates! Each month I bring you new art, new links, new music, new happy wonders to make your life a little brighter. Below are some new additions for this month. Click on each image to see more.
From the Reveries photo series:
"My Visiting Secret"
One of several new figure drawings:
"Treading Lightly; Once Upon a Vera"
Vera writes a short story (slightly based on fact) about her mom working for the Hubert Humphrey presidential campaign in 1968. It's not a sci-fi story, but apparently the story is so well-written that it accidentally alters the historical canon. Humphrey wins, history changes, several of her friends are never born, and she marries a girl named Cynthia who she had been best friends with in third grade, but who previously had died when Vera was eleven. Also, Instagram has never been invented, but her hamster Judy goes viral on Pics-O-Pets (which has been invented), and she (Judy, not Vera) is elected as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, so Vera has to spend most of her time crafting policy positions for her. So be careful what you write.
A new entry from the journal:
One who hoots warmly.
Other beautiful work from elsewhere:
"Love in The Time of Covid. Final Supper" by Don Perlis
Porcelain artwork "Pitango" by Zemer Peled
"Untitled VIII, London" by Nadav Kander
This month's music playlist again features a healthy variety of styles and genres, curated for your enjoyment by my girlfriend and me.
Notes (Quotes from song lyrics or artists themselves):
"You are only coming through in waves, your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying"
The Bad Plus was the midwest-based jazz trio of Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, and David King, joined here by vocalist Wendy Lewis. I don't really like jazz covers of popular songs. Or didn't. But art should be about taking the rules, smashing them to bits, and putting them back together in new ways that say new things. Do that well and you can rule the world. I can't tell you how much I love this cut - it's the definitive cover of this song. (Hat tip to Christina.)
"I tell old Bill when he gets home, to leave them downtown women alone, this morning, this evening, so soon."
When you're an elder statesman to everyone from Tom Paxton to Joni Mitchell to Bob Dylan, you've got something going on. Perhaps known more for reworking older blues than for his own songs, Dave Von Ronk was all that. He's an artist whose music and story are worth learning more about.
"Jazz attracted me because in it I found a formal perfection and instrumental precision that I admire in classical music, but which popular music doesn't have." -DR
Django Reinhardt's mix of genres, along with his crazy virtuosity, are why he matters. And you can't listen to this music and not want to get up and move around.
"Come the winter I'm driving blind, a tuxedo doing doughnuts on the ice, black-and-white on white"
It's really a treat to be able to comment about such a smart and literate song as this. Read the lyrics. Listen to the carefully built instrumentation and textures and harmonies. The band name came from a songwriting class they took as students. Advised to "kill your darlings", they changed "darlingcide" to "Darlingside" because "s" is easier on the eye. That's enough to catch my interest right there, but it's the songs here that matter.
"Yes, most doors open briefly and then they are shut, the circle of life is a wheel that gets stuck in a rut"
When we think about the things we miss from being able to gather, a big one is live music. And when we think about how much we miss live music, we go back to the intangibles. The intensity, the movement, the silliness, the passion. And just the unbridled joy of being in the same room with all of that. I've seen David Wax Museum a few times, and this is the joy. It's the joy that makes me weep with all of their joy. You won't often see performers having this much fun, and I can't recommend them highly enough. This studio cut is great, but if and when live music ever returns, you need to go experience this band in person. Til then, please use this and/or this as joy-laden substitutes.
"Cause everything I do or say makes it hard for you to stay, we both know what it is"
Amy Winehouse is one of the great musical voices - and losses - of our time.
"I said sister if you only knew you'd wish that you were in my shoes, You just keep on usin' me, until you use me up"
We've been having a debate about which is cooler here, the horn section of the background singers. There is not a wrong answer. Oh, Esther, feel free to use me however you see fit.
"That's how I know I'm not winning, I don't know where but I'm a sad or mad. Sleeping without you is a drag"
Portsmouth, Virginia's Jerry Williams once said, "I became Swamp Dogg in 1970 in order to have an alter-ego and someone to occupy the body while the search party was out looking for Jerry Williams, who was mentally missing in action due to certain pressures, mal-treatments and failure to get paid royalties on over 50 single records". Of this new record, he says, "I just didn't want it to sound like Swamp Dogg. This time, I wanted to shock the shit out of them." Swamp Dogg is a treasure.
"Left a light on, shut the door, won't be back here anymore, some parts of me were built in you"
We can't seem to get enough of the Irish. Sammy Copley is just sweetness. Here he is covering Édith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose". Crush.
"If you come around I hope you stay the whole damn night, and bring some friends and bring some foes and come along and tell some jokes, and if you're anything like me, oh baby, just you wait and see"
I'm a fan of minimal Spotify bios. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known as Shakey Graves', reads only, "I heard he killed a guy" (unclear - though hopeful - that this might be a reference to Laura Palmer saying "Bobby killed a guy..."?). I also love the fact that you can buy any of Graves' music for whatever you want to pay every February 9 - 11 on Bandcamp. No, I don't know the significance of these dates. Which makes me like this fact even more. Need extra Shakey? Here's an older Tiny Desk Concert from 2015.
"Oh, sinnerman, where you gonna run to?"
Nina Simone often closed out her shows with "Sinnerman", explaining, "I want to shake people up so bad that when they leave a nightclub where I've performed, I want them to be in pieces." With that, we close out this month's playlist. See you next month!
Also updated are Eleven Appreciations from December