Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: American Graffiti 2.0

America's only Graffiti Vault:
Fiddlehead at Four Corners,
downtown Bennington, Vermont

"Don't choose the friendly one
who's talking too loud,
Don't choose the one filled with plans
but no dreams,
Don't choose the one
who is not what he seems."

BENNINGTON -- Listened to Trey Anastasio's new CD "Traveler" at least 10 times yesterday. It's the only music that played in the gallery. 

I listened to the first 3 songs more times than I can count, which is why I'm upgrading my preliminary review of 3.75 stars to 4.5 stars.

Traveler could be Album of the Year.

I don't know Trey from Adam, but I know this: Edward Joseph Anastasio III is growing up. You feel it in the warmth of the songs, in the beauty of the lyrics within the stories. It's as if he has written love letters to newborns, or penned sage advice for those who might be stuck in the ether. Or both. Whatever Trey's lyrical intentions were, I love them.

You're lucky to produce one great song on an album, bucking the odds producing two great songs. But you're goddamn good to produce three great songs -- and back to back to back, which is what Trey has done with "Corona" and "Let Me Lie" and "Frost" ...

I'm in love with Corona.

1) I've always felt that Trey Anastasio is a modern-day John Sebastian, yet Corona is something that Noel Gallagher could have written, arranged and sung -- be it with Oasis or his solo act, the High Flying Birds. It has all of the staples of a Noel masterpiece: wonderful arrangement and hook and lyrics that possess a little depth. The segue into " ... suddenly the sky is gone, the stars are out tonight ... " is as Oasis as it gets. And as an Oasis diehard it's satisfying and makes me feel good.

2) Whoever makes such decisions needs to make sure Corona gets nominated for a Grammy -- Best Song. It's a classic American Driving Song.

Let Me Lie has grown on me like ivy on the walls at Wrigley. It's about someone who takes a bike ride and realizes -- " ... going to use my brakes, when I go downhill ... " -- that at some point you have to grow up and stop acting like you're indestructible. Not that you can't fly like the wind, but you know, be careful, take a few precautions, live to tell about it.

Frost is a beautiful song that reminds me of the tragic mystery of Bison Dele.

Corona and Let Me Lie and Frost are a WHAM! and BAM! and POW! way to start an album. Reminds me of many Oasis albums with back-to-back-to-back greatness.

Sorry, Trey fans, but it's true. You can hate the player(s) but not their game.

I just listened to Corona and Let Me Lie and Frost then rewound to the start, again.

I'll probably do that all day today ...

... just like yesterday.

Yesterday began in a fog of gray and ended in a bath of sunlight. Beautiful.

I led customers into the Graffiti Vault. Told 'em to grab some chalk and Chalk It Up!

"When's the last time you got to write all over the walls without feeling guilty?" I asked as they stepped out of the vault.

"I can't even remember" was one answer from a man in his 50s, who smiled like a boy with blue dust on his fingertips.

Here's a little photography from a few of the graffiti artists:

Richard and Jan from Columbus, Ohio,
big Ohio State Buckeyes fans

Leigh Daniel, divorce lawyer from Tuscaloosa, Alabama;
grew up in Tuscumbia, birthplace of Helen Keller;
reminds me very much of Trenton defense lawyer Robin Lord

Caitlin, knee-deep in her blue peacock

Caitlin and Chad, from Jefferson, New Jersey;
Chad drew the moose;
look, Tophat, it truly was a "Peacock Sunday" ...

Caitlin, Liz and Amanda from Albany, New York;
Amanda is a lefty

Young Love: Kian and Eden

To be young, to be in love.

Eden attends Bennington College,
Kian is from North Hollywood

"Pigtail" is the up-tempo fifth song with a refrain that, considering my recent travails, hits pretty close to home " ... and I'm becoming conscious again ... " 

The sixth song is "Scabbard" and I wasn't very much into it, until now, after listening to it all day with more of a forgiving ear; reminds me of something Paul Simon might do. 

Song seven is the cover of a Gorillaz favorite called "Clint Eastwood" -- and Jennifer Hartswick provides the spunky lyrical.

The last of the 10 songs also is the title track -- "Traveler" -- and it most reminds me of the love letter to an innocent soul who's about to fall into the big bad lonely universe.

In the song Trey shares the secret to life: the journey is most complete and most fulfilling when you choose the right running mate, the right partner in crime with whom to share experiences ...

... experiences like traveling to Vermont to find that old marble bank turned art gallery, and walking through the front door, past the counter dude, and making a beeline to the Graffiti Vault.

It's where you can travel to childhood, if for a minute or two, by picking up a piece of chalk.