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KG via Guralnick on Marc Maron’s WTF / Paste Top 100 of 2015 / Thornton Dial

Thornton Dial, "Lookin' Up", ca. 1993. 5" x 7", mixed media on paper.

Thornton Dial, “Lookin’ Up”(self-portrait), ca. 1993. 6″ x 8″, mixed media on paper. Personal collection.

Hi folks,

I love a good surprise. On Marc Maron’s WTF podcast interview with author Peter Guralnick, which was posted today, Mr. Guralnick mentions yours truly, in a very complimentary fashion, about 74 minutes in. I’m stunned, flattered, and all that good stuff. Here’s a link: http://wtfpod.com/  It’s a great interview, and I’d say that even if I wasn’t talked about! I’m getting towards the end of Peter’s latest book, a biography of Sam Phillips, so to hear him talk about things from the book and beyond was a treat. Check it out.

My latest record, Long Gone Time, was featured in Geoffrey Himes‘s new essay about his 100 favorite releases from 2015, over at paste.com. Again, I can’t ever quite believe it when these things happen; I’m not bragging, I’m just plain astounded.

The first time I met Thornton Dial, Sr., we were both standing on the sidewalk outside The Arts Company in downtown Nashville, where his work was being shown in town for the first time. It was April or May, 1998; a huge tornado had recently ripped through downtown then on into parts of east Nashville. I still remember looking up and seeing shards of mirrored glass hanging from buildings around where we stood. Mr. Dial asked me about my life, what I was up to–then talked about the “struggling tiger”, an archetypal image often found in his work of that period, representing (as far as I knew) the unique struggle that was and is African-American history and contemporary life. But he related it to me, and to the general human struggle that we all participate in as individuals. I don’t know if he was just being nice–I don’t think so. But it helped me understand that the origins of a symbol are its beginnings, not necessarily its static limitations. The tiger as heroic figure, for whoever is struggling. I’ll never forget his kindness, wit, and intelligence. I later ended up working at The Arts Company for three years, and stared at that small painting of his pictured here at top right for a long, long time. At some point I took the plunge and bought it.  A tiny piece compared to most of his work, it’s a rare self-portrait, titled “Lookin’ Up”. This past Monday, at his home in Alabama, Mr. Dial passed away. For more information on this great artist, try these sources:

http://soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/thornton-dial

http://hyperallergic.com/271003/artist-thornton-dial-an-american-genius-dies-at-87/

We sure had a good time celebrating the work of another great artist, J.J. Cale, last night at the Wash. Kudos to bandleader Pete Finney for assembling such a whoop-ass house band, and for inviting me to come up and render a couple. The personal highlight of the night for me was hearing guitarist/songwriter/producer Mac Gayden play–he played the “wah-wah” slide guitar that’s on “Crazy Mama“, from Cale’s 1972 “Naturally” album.

Mac Gayden, Family Wash, 1/27/16

Mac Gayden, Family Wash, 1/27/16

Speaking of the Family Wash, I’ll be playing there tomorrow night (Friday, 1/29), starting about 9 pm with my longtime partners in crime: Ron Eoff, Paul Griffith, and Joe V. McMahan. Y’all join us if you’re in town–live and unrehearsed!

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New Orleans Jazz Fest/Long Gone Time vinyl/30A Fest

from Santa Rosa Beach, FL

from Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Hello and happy Tuesday–

I had a good birthday yesterday, albeit with the 7-hour drive home from Florida–there was chocolate cake! And books and records! And more chocolate! They’re all “good” birthdays, so it doesn’t take much, other than just being here, for me to be happy.

The news is out: I’ll be returning to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Sunday, April 24. One of my favorite festivals to attend, much less play, I’m thrilled and honored to be performing there again. Stay tuned for further details . . .

The vinyl double-LP version of Long Gone Time is still in production; due to some unforeseen (but perfectly normal) issues, there will be at least another month’s delay in its release. My apologies, but we want this record to sound as good as it can in all formats, and vinyl is a very nuanced technology that sometimes requires additional time and effort to ensure desired audio quality.

What a fantastic weekend I had at the 30A Songwriters Fest, which I played for the first time. Met lots of music lovers, some of whose names I unfortunately got wrong more than once (sorry again, Leslie and Ivan!), and had three great shows, playing to full rooms every time. I met only one jerk, and the encounter was thankfully brief, ha ha. Had chilly but overall fine weather. Thanks to Russell and all others involved with the production of the festival, to all who attended, and all who volunteered or worked at the venues. A special thanks to Rodney Metoyer, whose prior lobbying had much to do with my invitation to play there. Excellent food and hospitality: I had the “Woodpecker” cottage all to myself at the Hibiscus in Grayton Beach, and after waking up to single digits here in Nashville this morning, I’m ready to head back south.

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I woke up last night and in the dark found a pen and my little pocket notebook on the bedside table, and on the last page frantically wrote down a line that had been in my mind a few seconds earlier. Looked at it this morning: total nonsense. Legible, barely. But maybe it was the rhythm of the thing that grabbed me; that’s pretty much the only thing to grab now. To be continued . . .

 

Grayton Beach, FL

Grayton Beach, FL

 

 

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Wake Up in the Morning Dead

And then Winter finally came and it was suddenly bare silver-gray limbs thrust up into cold infinite air, that particular seasonal quiet pierced only by the throttle and whine of planes, cars, and the occasional police helicopter, echo-blare of a train whistle that somehow maps the wind for me when I can be very still and […]

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Long Gone Time CD ON SALE TODAY!

Hi friends, Call it a flash sale or just a pre-caffeinated idea I had when I woke up this morning . . . either way, Long Gone Time CDs are ON SALE TODAY (12/16) for only $10 each! Available here only: http://kg.kevingordon.net/long-gone-time/  (Doesn’t apply to bandcamp.com purchases.) Will ship same day if possible–email us if you have any questions: […]

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