WE AWAIT YOUR COMMENTS
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 

Bottom of the Hudson - "Rusty Zippers". We've never shared a meal, or had a conversation. I've never stood and watched them play their songs. Bottom of the Hudson were, and are, strangers to me. I cannot even name their members, without looking.

On June 29th 2007, outside Clinton, North Carolina, one of the tires blew out in a van carrying Bottom of the Hudson across the I-40. Their bassist, Trevor Butler, died in the accident. Their drummer, Greg Lytle, is in intensive care.

It seems tasteless to write a eulogy to a person you never knew. An obituary - okay. Just the facts. But a eulogy? Who am I to light a candle in a stranger's memory? A man whose eyes I've never seen?

At moments like this it feels so clear that music is a touch. If nothing else it is a hand placed on yours. How can I call this a band of strangers, they whose hands I've felt on mine? The men whose voices, whose fingers on strings & keys I've brought into my room after dark? They have given me these songs and me I have heard them with my heart held wide open.

Now Trevor Butler has passed away. I feel a pang of such sorrow - I don't know why. Perhaps it's just that a band who made beautiful, startling music has now met calamity. Perhaps it's sympathy for my fellow human beings. But perhaps it's that I know I will hear his absence, even on a recording. Where the bassline appears, there will be no shadow.

I'm not even certain he sat in on the Fantastic Hawk recordings; and yet my feelings are unchanged.

Trevor probably didn't play any bass on "Rusty Zippers" (I don't hear any). But the thing is, that might leave him some room to visit. The song is wide and sensuous, with clarinet and vibraphone and moss-filled guitar, and I wonder, part of me, if perhaps the man could rest with us here for a while, with jay's eyes and a body strafed with light. If he might find somewhere peaceful in the awning. And if he cannot put his hand on ours, perhaps we can incline our heads toward each-other and hear the same song, sung.

[buy the splendid Fantastic Hawk / send donations to Trevor's family and for Greg's medical bills by Paypal to both@absolutelykosher.com / please, please, may everyone hurt be well]

Billy Bragg & Wilco - "Ingrid Bergman". Ingmar Bergman died yesterday. I realised that all my life I have confused him with Ingrid Bergman. The two figures - director, actress, were vaguely conflated in my mind. They are not related, and they are not the same, and yet in death I would rather let Ingmar keep the qualities I have endowed him with over all these years. Let him remain beautiful, and luminous, and desirable, and a figure who Woody Guthrie & Billy Bragg would long for. A face to launch a thousand ships, to bring men to islands and flash to cameras. Someone who teaches the rest of us about beauty, and in small, sure steps arrives wherever they are ever, ever going.

---

Stereogum has a new Weakerthans song which I like very, very much.

Posted by Sean at July 31, 2007 2:07 AM
Comments

you are not the only one who mixed up ingrid and ingmar!! they are both wonderful. as soon as i heard of his passing, i had a desire to listen to the ingrid bergman song. and here it is! how perfect. thanks!

Posted by julia caron at July 31, 2007 9:16 AM

Thanks for this, Sean.

Posted by Lucas at July 31, 2007 6:33 PM

Amazing Bottom of the Hudson post. You did the Eulogy so much justice. This is just the song I needed tonight.

Posted by Drew at August 1, 2007 4:35 AM

That was a wonderfully honest and appreciated BOTH post.

Posted by Slater at August 1, 2007 2:48 PM

great song; and somber sweet.

Posted by the constant skeptic at August 3, 2007 1:51 PM

Was touched by Will Sheff's thoughts about Tim Hardin.

Just wanted you to know that that posting, in 2005, was not lost . . .

Posted by Steve D at August 12, 2007 10:49 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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