Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Red House Painters - Song for a Blue Guitar


I've been working on putting together an RHP compilation for a friend, for the past week, so i've been re-evaluating their back-catalog, trying to find my favorite songs, a good flow, and just to generally get to know their material better. I realized, after i had the list written down, is almost half of the tracks i'd selected were from this album, Song for a Blue Guitar. Recorded in 1996, it is the ultimate intersection of Mark Kozelek's earlier, introspective styles and the wide-screen slo-burn jams to which he would progress. The sound is clearer and stronger than the earlier albums, but still has more lo-fi grit than Ocean Beach or Old Ramon.
This is the perfect time of year to re-visit the work of Mark Kozelek and co. Really digging in, i've been surprised at how well this music stands up, how many intricacies that make up excellent song-writing. The songs are beautiful, the tone is sublime, the production is suitable. This is a band in their prime. Its worth noting that this album would result in RHP being dropped from 4AD, for too many lengthy jams. But this time around, Kozelek was channeling Neil Young, rather than John Denver, and he would not be censored. Another RHP album would not hit shelves for 5 years, and it would be their last.
I think this would be the best place for someone to start; with the mournful folks of Song for a Blue Guitar, Trailways, or Priest Alley Song; the nostalgia of Have You Forgotten; or the barn-stormers Make Like Paper and Silly Love Songs. The one thing, that is most glaringly obvious upon considering any Mark Kozelek project, is that he is a stunning guitar player, and on this album mood and tone match skill and inspiration, make for a glorious whole, where nothing is out of place. No flubs. No mis-steps. No filler. How often do you find that?
The perfect accompaniment for the late autumn.

1 comment:

  1. awesome! It's true haven't seen you put much painting up here in a while, but really sweet!
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