Saturday, November 10, 2007

John From Cincinnati, John Butler Trio and The White Buffalo

I really get into stuff. On the whole though, when it comes to music and soaps, I get into it several years, and sometimes decades, after everybody else has seen it, heard it or are wearing the, by then, retro T-shirts. This is probably classified as a character defect.

Take "Cheers". An old mate - I'll call him "Chuck" - 'cause that's what we called him even though he was a "Martin" - couldn't decide if he was a New Yorker or a Belfast boy. When he was in Belfast, he wanted to be in New York and when he was in Belfast, well, you get the picture. He raved on and on and on about Cheers until frankly, I made a personal pledge never to watch an episode, even when I was dragged into the bar in Boston that inspired the series - a peculiar tactic I thought, the assumption being that this would somehow connect me to the masterpiece of comedic art I was missing out on. I enjoyed the chicken wings but not much else. And nobody knew my name.

Now I'm collecting the DVD releases and watch them in bed at night, stifling guffaws while Sea Nymph slumbers. After never having seen an episode of the Sopranos, I'm fully expecting that in five years time, I will be engaged in similar nocturnal practices.

Now as far as I know,
John From Cincinnati, the HBO series about several generations of a family described as "surfing royalty turned society misfits" (oxymoron, anyone?) hasn't aired in the UK yet. I understand that the series had a devoted following of three or four fans, was very "dark" and "surf noir" and then one day, as Zimmy would say, the network axe just fell. Having never seen an episode, I can really only comment on the title - which made me laugh.

Given the marketing hyperdrive that's been firmly applied to the surfing engine, I thought the absolute unconnectedness to anything that sounds remotely gnarly was a stroke of genius. I also found myself wondering if someone at the BBC would commission a similar programme here based on several generations of
Badlands boyos - something like "Steve of St.Aggie" or the like.

If you've followed my mental meanderings this far, well done! It's a roundabout way of sharing the acoustically orgasmic enjoyment that a batch of
John Butler Trio albums that I've been playing on random, replay mode have been bringing me. I urge you uninitiated few, to go forth and and tune in to this Australian combo.


After that (and thanks to Kim at Sharkbait's Local Spot for this) you may possibly want to track down the White Buffalo, the alter ego of one Jake Smith, a thirty something with the bellow and hairstyle of a bison - or a buffalo. "Although he’s toured with roots artists like Donovan Frankenreiter , and his songs used in surfing movies, Smith says it’s just that lazy affiliation when people compare him to shoes-off beach-sitters like Jack Johnson. “I don’t think my music speaks to surfers any more than it would farmers, or your criminal neighbour. It’s a little bit darker.” See? There is such a thing as surf noir. Anyone wearing a German Army tunic (he's been staying up late watching Big Wednesday), and sporting a beard like a prophet (not the prophet, I hasten to add - I've been through that movie before) deserves some ear time.


nursemyra said...

go the aussie

Sharkbait said...

yay! Glad you found something new! I'm curious what you'll think of John from C. I'm going to see John Butler Trio at the end of this month-very exciting. Have you ever seen him live?