Harvest Playlist

It is that time of year, that stretch between Halloween and Thanksgiving before the holiday blitz fades into the winter blues. Here is one I really enjoyed writing that brings me back to where I was a year ago, Enjoy!

It’s the best time of year in the Northern Woods. It’s time to gather up all the late season produce, put the garden to sleep and make sure you know how you are going to heat your home for the winter.

I included my favorite song with the word “harvest” in it to open this post for obvious reasons which is dissimilar to the rest of my choices because they have nothing to do with harvesting anything except for maybe good tunes and mechanical skills.  Anyway, I firmly believe that the warm days/cool nights of fall in the Northeast is the best weather in the world and I think you earn it by dealing with the harshness of the previous winter followed by the erratic conditions of spring and summer.

It was a pretty good year for me in life and agriculturally. I got a lot of vegetables harvested, more than the year before when I started gardening on my own. I harvested cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, squash, a few onions, zucchini, and many potatoes. The pumpkins are still on the vine and I am waiting to see if any of the Brussels sprouts do anything. It’s not only a time to take stock of what you harvested but what you are sowing in other parts of your life. My band is doing well, I can’t complain about money and there are many new possibilities for winter for my band, my professional and my personal life.

“Harvest Moon” is definitely top five best Neil Young songs for me, right up there with “Don’t let it bring you Down”. It’s a later career hit off an album in the nineties that I thought was great. Our band has tried to cover this song and we have failed vocally. I don’t sing with the band as of now, but I can kind of sing this song. It doesn’t fit what we are doing or where we are playing, we just collectively keep trying to do it because we all like it so much. Keep it in the woodshed for now I suppose. What a pretty song though, maybe we can learn it and sing at someone’s wedding some day…..although who would hire us for a wedding? Rednecks I hope.

2. “Jeepster”, T. Rex

I really like this song because it makes me think of “O My Soul” by Big Star which came out three years later and must be some kind of homage to T. Rex. To be honest, I really only know this song because it was on the radio yesterday for Marc Bolan’s birthday. It really jams and I feel like the bass line is almost a funky perversion of a country bass line which I know well.

Watching a live cut of this track makes it even cooler because Marc is not only the lead singer but also the lead guitarists. There’s not a lot of these in rock. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Joe Walsh,  Alvin Lee from Ten Years After and Jimi Hendrix. I know there’s more but those stick out. Anyway, I look forward to learning more about T. Rex and finding out what the hell a jeepster is.

3. “Flowers in your Hair”  The Lumineers

My brother talked about the Lumineers a few days back and I was going to write a full response; however, I felt this was redundant as I basically agreed with everything he said and had briefly mentioned the band a few weeks back. The album is good but “Hey Ho” and this song are the best. The Elder did in fact text me one night and tell me to listen to this sweet song about flowers in your lover’s hair and I did just that about five times in a row.

This jam hits me in so many ways, from the Dylan style vocals to the Cash style rhythm to the amazing lyrics. The best line  is “It takes a boy to live, it takes a man to pretend that he was there.” I mean that’s beautiful and couldn’t sum up the way everyone feels sometimes better. It also goes right along with I song I am writing about universal aspects of human nature, speficially how no one’s getting younger, we are all getting older and more full of shit. Just perfect timing with that Brother…and yes I am aware you can buy songs on the interweb. I am just cheap.

4. “Whole Love” Wilco

I was shuffling through YouTube the other day and after listening to a particularly awesome version of “Forget the Flowers” by alt country Wilco circa 1997, I stumbled upon this gem from their album last year. For those who have just started reading, a while back I wrote about my love for Wilco when they were alt country and not much after.

But I think I could be wrong. I really like this song, from the weirdo tapping done by the lead guitar player and the cool bass lines to Jeff Tweedy’s falsetto. I love this version too because it’s so intimate and it looks like the drummer is just using brushes on like a manilla envelope. Tweedy does look like the years have hit him hard but who cares because he still delivers musically. I need to check out this whole album for sure. Maybe a future album review?

5. “Choctaw Bingo” James McMurty

The General, a friend I introduced in a piece about dive bars a while back, was supposed to let me use his garage to change my oil last Saturday. I put about nine hundred into my car the previous week, doing everything from patching wholes to new axles. I didn’t do it actually, a mechanic friend of the General’s did and for a great price. My knowledge of cars makes me feel helpless so I decided I was going to change my oil myself as I just put so much fucking money into my 1999 Subaru Impreza. Alas, he had to go to his parents, also both mechanics, so I had to go there to change my oil.

These people are serious about their garages, spic and span with every tool in it’s place and fridges everywhere After the General gets my car up on jacks, I slide under and start unscrewing my oil filter which sprays hot oil all over me. The General was pissed while his parents and Uncle laughed at the often named “college boy” who clearly knew little about cars. I also managed to lose the bolt for the oil tank in the oil pan and learned a cool trick involving creating a ripple in the pan then spotting it with a flashlight to find the lost bolt. They were cool about it and brought me a stiff coffee brandy and milk as I finished which correlated with this song coming on their satellite radio.

Several friends are into this guy McMurty and my lead singer wanted to cover it but it always seemed too long. The song tells of a white trash family and the shady dealings of the main character Slayton. He sells “meth cause the shine won’t sell” which is only one of the many slices of backwards rural life we see. Do I like the song cause of the cool Chuck Berry beat or the themes of life in a financially crippled America or just cause it’s bad ass and gave me something to talk with all the mechanics about after I so poorly changed my oil? Probably all three, but I sure hope to hear more of McMurtry’s songs.

Enjoy this time if you live in a place with fall or even if you are just getting ready for winter. Summer is gone in a lot of places and we must fortify with good friends, good goals and good tunes for the winter. How are you planning for winter down south Brother?

6 comments on “Harvest Playlist

  1. theelderj says:

    Autumn is absolutely the best time of year in our home state. The wind in the leaveless trees always made me think of sea shanties. But, for some reason, when I think of driving around in the early frost, I have distinct memories of listening to classical music while waiting for the car to warm up…

  2. […] of walking out my front door everyday and tending to my garden and eating the food I grew at harvest time.  If I were to outline my goals in life, one of the bigger ones besides finding a real career […]

  3. […] need the rain for all of us that are planting our vegetables in the ground this weekend to harvest next year to feed ourselves and have some sense of a connection to our heritage and landscape. […]

  4. […] time where nothing was expected of you. I do really like playing bass with the band, growing my own vegetables, and writing this blog. I need to be constantly busy to keep my  mind occupied. Maybe it’s […]

  5. […] raining last Monday when I locked my keys in the car. I had a nice weekend  attending a harvest dinner for the garden club at my school and afterwards, I did a short hike with a new friend and […]

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