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Friday, June 12, 2009

Robert Crenshaw Reviews His Brother Marshall's New Record

One of my favorite musicians on the planet, Marshall Crenshaw, just came out with a new album called "Jaggedland." I hadn't gotten around to picking it up, but just placed my order with Amazon after reading a review written on Marshall's message boards by his brother, Robert. Robert is a fantastic drummer who played on many of Marshall's best albums; he didn't play on "Jaggedland," but the guy who did ain't half bad either -- Traveling Wilburys drummer Jim Keltner. Here were Robert's thoughts:

I have a very complicated relationship with Marshall's records. For that matter, I have a very complicated relationship with my brother Marshall.
When we were kids we used to play in our basement sometimes. When we got older and he started writing songs, occasionally I would played on his demos. Those are memories and experiences I will forever treasure as times we shared being creative together.
When I was 17 and still in High School, I had a gig where I could play at night, sleep in my own bed, and make as much money as a line worker at GM. Marshall was working on the road and really having to work a lot harder for much less.
When I think of bringing Marshall (MC) as an offering to an Oldies band, it's kind of like bringing a wheelbarrow full of diamonds to a small business. It was pretty hard for people to even grasp what they had, but they did understand, it was something very special.
Some of you know that we ended up doing lots of stuff together for a decade of so. When we made records, we tried to have fun and make records that reflected the image that MC had in his mind for the song.
As an artist (and I know many of you are artists), you start out with the raw materials of the piece, but once you start the process, the journey has its own environmental considerations that can (and sometimes magically) shape the outcome dramatically.
Talking to MC, I know he had literally a wonderful time making this record. It was a real life experience with all of the twists and turns, joy and sorrow you’d expect from a high risk, potentially lucrative endeavor.
When I hear MCs voice on this record, I know that he was being as true to his Art as a person can be.
It's like if you went to someone's house for dinner and they baked the bread, served you vegetables from their garden, and hand- made all of the furniture in the room; all with the help of the most world renowned crafts persons and chefs they could engage.
The beauty of a well crafted song is that it reflects a shared human experience in a way that pulls you in, but it makes you ponder the experience in a way that adds depth to the reflection.
I think this writing is honest and clever. This is not music for people who think or wish that life is a linear path. This is Art with dissonance and release, this is Art that reflects the simple joys and life, but understands as well the fruits of life’s sorrows.
Jaggedland is the product of a real life complicated person, making a substantive effort to bring something worthwhile to fruition.
I’ve spent a lot of time driving long distances this week, and it has afforded me the luxury of listening to a lot of music while traveling long stretches of Interstate Highway.
I love the new record, and I enjoy taking in the nuance of the lyric as well as breathing in the sophisticated yet accessible auditory cornucopia. ( I apologize for the wine-like description)
It reminds me how much I love records and music. And it reminds me how much I love that complicated, talented person who is my brother Marshall. For anyone who has complicated loving feelings for their brother and sisters, you know that in itself is like a wheelbarrow full of diamonds.

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