2020 Hindsight Commentary: Eight Days a Week, Drivin’ on 9, 10 A.M. Automatic

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by The Beatles, Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, and The Black Keys.

Eight Days A Week

Sorted/sort word choice is a little awkward.

The narrator’s logic of tackling his attempts at saving his sister in reverse chronology still makes sense to me, but his logic of making a completely unrelated and self serving time trip right after explaining this plan is a head scratcher.

His sister “turning fifteen” during the cribbage scene is a neat bit of phrasing that I wish I could say was planned, but I’m pretty sure was a happy accident.

If I could go back, I’d drop the motherf@#$er inside joke and have the Dad yell without the cuss.

Drivin’ On 9

I never noticed the “Drivin’ on 9” vs 9/11 parallel in the chapter title before now.

A barhopping memory is a better anchor point to blink to than a library, but it should have been about a song playing at a bar (if not a bar band…)

“Discarded dumpster discoveries” is a pretty good line, even with author bias in play.

Conversely, “the office I worked in as a bitch” is cringeworthy now.

Nowadays I criticize stories that reference times ending with :00. :15, :30, :45 as being unrealistic, but my past self had no problem with it. (My current self also picked up a habit of setting alarm clocks and oven temperatures to palindromic numbers, which feels like something the narrator might do. Who made who?)

Using italics before he realizes he spoke aloud are not a mistake. Both selves were tuned in to each other (and other others) telepathically, making it feel like he spoke aloud when he didn’t.

The logistics of how he would pin himself down on the couch, have that conversation, and then stand up are a little fuzzy. (Plus the “I’m stoned and half out of it so I won’t question the fact that my future self is here” doesn’t play quite as well as I remembered/intended.)

I still like the bulk of this chapter, but the end falls flat/fizzles fairly fast.

10 A.M. Automatic

Kudos to Bryan Davidson for convincing me to “officially” make AM/PM a different size font like you’re supposed to throughout, which looks especially good in the paperback chapter title.

I’m still torn on whether the lyrical Tourette’s should be obvious or subtle. Which works better?

The odds were in my favor that I’d still be able to at least observe from a few feet above or below. Easy come, easy go, little high, little low.

OR

The odds were in my favor that I’d still be able to at least observe from a little high/little low.

Probably could have handled the elevation foreshadowing better or as a surprise.

That Beach Boys reference is so well placed it makes me lean towards subtle. Same with Pearl Jam a little later. You barely realize it’s a reference.

Reading the transition to the creepy hospital still gives me the same surge of giddy adrenaline it did when my past self went off-outline and that scene wrote itself in the first draft.

There is no way I didn’t check if “straightjacket” was one word or two. Two words seems wrong. I wonder if my younger self misunderstood what a dot in the middle of a dictionary word really meant (it’s syllables, right?)

If he blinked back to the day of the plane ride, he hasn’t told himself what to do yet so his other self shouldn’t be committed. Unless he kept going back and we’re seeing the aftermath of many blinks. But I don’t remember my intent. (Other changes “catch up to you” when you go back to real time, so could be his older self still meddling — or lying.)

I sooo wish it said “she stood me up” instead of “she stood him up”

Check out the original 2008 commentary for these chapters:

Eight Days a Week  |  Drivin’ on Nine  |  10 A.M. Automatic

2020 Hindsight Commentary: Five Seconds to Hold You, 6ix, Tram #7 to Heaven

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by Devics, The Lemonheads & Jens Lekman.

Five Seconds to Hold You

Feels there should have been a little more of a riff on the (unfounded) rumors that Kurt wrote most of the songs on Live Through This.

Covered, cover to cover.

My past self (via the narrator) citing a Reverend Horton Heat / Butthole Surfers bill “inexplicably” selling out is hilarious in hindsight.

The bench went back in time, so it should now be “missing” in the future.

Quibbles on execution aside, I do still enjoy the concept of the O Henry / Twilight Zone style arc of this chapter where he succeeds in controlling his time travel but can’t complete his mission due to a physical technicality.

6ix

Has that “drown my sorrow” typo has always been here? (I also can’t decide and/or can’t remember if it was intentional or a typo.)

This dual-leaguer stuff is unnecessarily confusing.

A “recent library memory” is a vaguely lame way to blink and lazy writing.

As the back room is described, the force of the bowling ball probably would have carried it out of that back room completely. Maybe his older self planted the ball for him to find, or stood back there to stop it.

Technically he threw Glitzy through the pins a month earlier, but with this time travel thing being so new to him I let him get that one wrong on purpose. He’s already acknowledged being bad at math outside of bowling.

If he was sitting on a stool when he blinked from the bar, the fall down bit should have happened again upon his return. (A better way to handle would have been to have him stand to specifically avoid that. It doesn’t say he didn’t….)

“Who injected you?” implies someone else was a possible answer.

“Stunned by this turn of events…” is a little over the top coming right after such a big reveal. Definitely a “show, don’t tell” moment.

Tram #7 to Heaven

Electronical.

That airplane blink should have blocked something important vs being a pure setup for the elevation rule. As is it’s mostly unnecessary.

The second half of this chapter (starting in the car with his father) is one of my go-tos for public readings. A nice midpoint section that tees up a lot of the overarching plot pieces without getting too spoilery. (Depending on the audience, I sometimes pivot to the first bowling scene or his first songwriting session with Local Boy since there’s no actual time travel in this section.)

Check out the original 2008 commentary for these chapters:

Five Seconds to Hold You  |  6ix  |  Tram #7 to Heaven

2020 Hindsight Commentary: Gimme Three Steps, Four Hours in Washington

I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Today’s look at yesterday’s chapters is brought to you by Lynyrd Skynyrd & M. Ward.

Gimme Three Steps

Future me would retcon the opening line here to “I am from the future…I am from the future…I am from the future…” like the Benji Hughes chant throughout LILILIL.

“…any thought sunk before I could get my mind afloat enough to theorize…” would have been a better line.

“Pass right through me” is a little overused. (It’s both an accurate descriptor of what’s happening and a reference to a song by Julie Smiley that nobody knows.)

Leap year day had to be intentional, but I’m pretty sure it was unrelated to the release date. The calendar origin of the word “blink” still makes me smile as much as when I inserted it into a late draft.

The full Tori Amos lyric is a little forced. The original slight misquote flows better.

CDs and mixtapes date things a little.

He falls asleep listening to Won One, teasing that it may all be a dream when he wakes up near the end. (It’s not a dream, but the door was intentionally left open.)

The earthquake bit is a little dumb, though you really do shrug them off like that after you’ve lived in LA for awhile.

The watch probably should have been 97 minutes out of sync, but that’s getting super specific and picky…

“Is this real?” should have been in italics to justify the tense change in the story world since it’s a message from his future self.

Four Hours in Washington

Accidentally perfect numbered title…except that the chapter is mostly set in Oregon.

Printed internet driving directions! (Remember, it is set in 2002.)

Six consecutive paragraphs that start with “I…” Ugh…

Two “set forths” also. Ugh, ugh.

Syndicated college newspaper articles. Did those even exist?

Kinda cool the way the “Th” in “The” overlaps in the font BD chose for the remastered layout.

An early incarnation of my real life college radio show was called “All The Brits and More!” before later settling on “The Lack of Evidence Show”

I’m still the only person to use cacophony of controlled chaos to describe Nirvana according to Google. (If that MetalInsider article it still there, it has the phrase in the text but Nirvana in an unrelated cached sidebar article.)

Chauvinism is probably a better word to describe the father. The plot device of the young father being this way but his older version having grown out of it still works for me, though in today’s era I’m not sure if I would’ve gone there as readily as my past self did.

He can’t get to the future because he has no memory of it, and time travel is powered by the memories of the collective consciousness. What if a time traveler was able to paint a vivid picture of the future into the ears of other time travelers? Would those embedded memories be traversable? Sounds like decent fodder for a sequel…

Turning the throwaway “you need to have balls” line into the scene segue still amuses me to no end even though it shouldn’t.

The ball and newspaper went back in time with him after visualizing the show, but are still there when he returns. This is a mistake. (Technically the carpet and maybe even the bed should have come with him too depending on how far the “electricity” rule of time travel extends.)

Was my future self telling me about the hyperloop when I wrote about a high-speed tunnel from New York to London? Or did Timely Persuasion inspire Elon Musk?

I had an annoying habit of not putting paragraph breaks in obvious places–which is fascinating as I also recall agonizing over where to break up certain longer paragraphs and/or merge short ones during one of the final cleanup drafts. Always trust your first instinct; it’s the one your future self is asking for.

Check out the original commentary for these chapters:

Gimme Three Steps | Four Hours in Washington

Why I still love watching Nirvana Unplugged every April 8th

  • Pat Smear’s striped guitar
  • Baby faced Dave Grohl
  • All the cover songs
  • The secret electric guitar on Man Who Sold the World
  • Pennyroyal Tea (“Am I gonna do this…by myself?” — and the disastrous duet with Pat during rehearsal in the extras that explains the exchange)
  • The guy who looks like a burly Cliff Clavin in the audience
  • Screwing up the setlist to play Dumb / Polly back to back but requesting a sequencing edit for broadcast
  • Playful, sarcastic, super smart Kurt
  • On a Plain!
  • Sweet Home Alabama!!!
  • “What are they tuning, a harp?”
  • Dave Grohl red-handedly caught smoking a joint on camera in close up
  • Kurt in his swivel chair
  • The vocals on Lake of Fire
  • “Fuckin’ Nirvana”
  • “How are we supposed to play In Bloom acoustically?”
  • When Kurt slowly does the opening riff to Negative Creep while deciding if they can do it acoustically
  • Kurt’s eyes / gasp near the very end of Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

2020 Hindsight Commentary: Prologue, One, Two of Us

As promised/threatened, I’m revisiting Timely Persuasion 12 years after releasing it / 17 years after writing it / 6000+ days since I jokingly told Jon Mack “maybe I’ll write a book…” with a new round of fresh eyed commentary. Here we go…

Prologue

For a few years now I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the prologue that goes two different ways. On one hand, part of me agrees with some critics that said it doesn’t add a lot of value to the story. All setup, some spoiler-y. Cutting it wouldn’t impact things too much aside from losing the bookended reprise/epilogue at the end.

On the other hand, I wish I had opened with a lyrical reference to set the tone for the narrator’s lyrical Tourette’s right out of the gate. Retconning, it would go a little something like this:

“Is she really going out with him?”

So many people asked me that question it’s impossible to count or remember who said it first. But I do remember what came next.

“I can’t believe you want to marry this guy!”

That was the last thing I ever said to my sister.

Only other noteworthy thing I picked up in my reread is my younger self had an annoying habit of overusing literary “air quotes” throughout. Ten in this prologue alone! “Sigh.”

One

There’s really no good reason for the bartender to be French story-wise. It’s an inside joke that’s a little forced.

I somehow used the wrong (or I guess more accurately “less right”) spelling of acknowledgment here with the extra E.

Once upon a time I had the lottery numbers memorized, but nowadays get them mixed up with the LOST numbers. (These numbers predated LOST by a few years.)

Mountain Dew rock is awkwardly forced in. I should have at least kept the “rock” uppercase or acknowledged the song. (Yes, I used the righter spelling this time.)

Note to my future self: Remember that tan van if there’s a sequel since it never quite pays off here.

Two of Us

“Glitzy was my bowling ball…” might be my favorite chapter opener.

I still mostly dig this chapter, but I use the word “still” too much. (Including in this sentence. So I guess I still use still too much.)

“All seven digits” still makes me smile after all these years. And it still makes no sense. (And I’m still saying still.)

Random fun fact I didn’t realize when writing the book: The Bowling Stones were an actual team my old bowling league at Hollywood Star Lanes. One of the real-life “tattooed biker guys” that inspired the fictional version was Michael Voltaggio of Top Chef, before he was famous.

Minor error: There’s no reason for Bowlingus to say he shouldn’t be talking to the narrator. I think that’s leftover from an older version where the narrator had a perfect game at this point and I never noticed it didn’t fit until now.

I’m going to call out and explain the time-travely logic as it comes up. This is mainly to see if I remember it, but also a decent test if I (still) think it makes sense.

Thinking about Bowlingus and his 270 game from a month ago sends him back in time. He doesn’t touch his neck bruise because he doesn’t have to. (Later he thinks he does, but he’s wrong.) He’s focused on fixing Glitzy so he doesn’t notice, and the passing line earlier that the 270 happened on the same lane on a night he skipped bowling league was setup for this.

The stool he’s sitting on goes back in time with him since he was in contact with it. That’s why he falls when he returns to the present — the chair stayed in the past. Same with Glitzy.

“Future” shouldn’t be uppercase at the end. Or should it…

Check out the original commentary for these chapters:

Prologue | One | Two of Us

Three Leap Years Later

Hello, friends. Remember me?

It’s been awhile. Aside from the annual year-end (and occasional event based) music lists this blog hasn’t seen much action. Not to overpromise, but I’m hoping that will change a little this year.

Timely Persuasion was released on 2/29/08, making today the book’s third or twelfth birthday depending on how you count. (Leap year day was chosen intentionally due to it being kinda-sorta-not-really time travel-ly and so I wouldn’t have to celebrate anniversaries all that often…) What have I been up to since then?

Re-launched TP under the JL Civi pen name, plus finally started serializing that jury duty book:

Wrote a few drafts of a new novel, codenamed “LX” for now until I figure out a couple of permissions issues. (Like JL CIVI, it looks like a roman numeral but it’s not. Or is it…?)

And later this year, look for some exciting news about the Timely Persuasion audiobook with an absolutely perfect person narrating it.

In the meantime, this blog revival will begin with a new set of chapter by chapter commentaries from my older self who has been rereading. In the words of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals: “In the end my friend, 20/20 is hindsight.”

Anyways, it’s good to be back!

Of The Year — 2019

Albums

  1. Between the Country — Ian Noe
    Discovered this album via NPR First Listen on a whim (ala 2016s top album) and never looked back. A perfect mix of folky songs spanning a number of emotions and influences while still holding together as part of their own refreshingly new voice.
  2. On the Line — Jenny Lewis
    A strong, cathartic, singable companion/sequel to The Voyager. Jenny Lewis just keeps getting better with each release. Bonus points for how my mind was blown when I realized you can (probably inadvertently) sing the chorus to Champagne Supernova over the opening verse to Heads Gonna Roll. The intentionally train-wreck-y launch day all-star telethon special was also a nice touch.
  3. Help Us StrangerThe Raconteurs
    The best album Jack White has been involved in since Get Behind Me Satan with the possible exception of Rome which I consider more a Danger Mouse album with Jack White guesting.
  4. Night Shift EPJenny Owen Youngs
    I know every year I say EPs don’t count, but then almost every year I pick one anyways. This was a late breaking discovery a few weeks ago (thanks to the unexpected yet welcome return of TwentyFourBit), but I really dig it. Looking forward to diving into her back catalogue in 2020.
  5. Purple Mountains — Purple Mountains
    Like many, my excitement over the triumphant return of David Berman was overshadowed by his death which put me on a nostalgic Silver Jews listening spree for the second half of the year. But this new record stood out as a highlight even before that shift in perspective. It’s sonically different than the Joos for the most part, but still very Berman on the lyrics front. RIP.
  6. Dog in a Manger Smooth Hound Smith
    Despite what you may assume from the title, this isn’t an Xmas record. Instead it’s a big step forward for the Americana duo (now with a full band at live shows!)
  7. Monster (25th Anniversary Remix) R.E.M.
    Still my favorite R.E.M. album (and the first record I ever waited in line outside a record store to buy at midnight on release day), I love how the remix raises the vocals way up in the mix to better understand Michael Stipe’s lyrics. There also seem to be a few additional flourishes ala the remix treatment In Utero got in 2013. I had a lot of fun revising Monster this year.
  8. Weezer (The Teal Album) Weezer
    Yes, it’s a guilty pleasure covers album. But it’s also the best Weezer album since Maladroit.

Songs

  1. Topo Chico — Robert Ellis
  2. Eyelash — Asian She (cowritten by Benji Hughes)
  3. Uh Huh — Jade Bird
  4. Jesus & Elvis — Hayes Carll
  5. If Today Doesn’t Do Me In — Ian Noe
  6. Rabbit Hole — Jenny Lewis
  7. Hold Me Anyway — Wilco

Shows

Gin Blossoms @ Scoot Inn 3/7

Spiral Stairs, Sweet Spirit, Carson McHone, Kevin Galloway @ Mohawk 3/12 (Nine Mile Touring SXSW)

Hayes Carll @ SXSW 3/15-3/16 (4 shows in 27 hours!)

The Tallest Man on Earth @ Moody Theatre 4/23

Lemonheads @ Barracuda 5/31

Felice Brothers @ Barracuda 6/12

Will Courtney (solo acoustic) @ Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches 7/5

Mason Jennings @ 04 Center 7/12

Ian Noe @ Scoot Inn 8/17
(biggest disappointment of the year – he cancelled to have his wisdom teeth out)

Black Pumas @ Mohawk 8/24

Guns N Roses @ ACL 10/12

Reverend Horton Heat w/ Alejandro Escovedo @ The Continental Club 10/22

Wilco @ Moody Theatre 10/27

Ray LaMontagne @ Moody Theatre 11/2

Smooth Hound Smith @ Mohawk Indoor 11/19

Robert Ellis @ Armadillo Christmas Bazaar 12/23

In Memorium

Since David Berman was already covered above, I’d be remiss not to give a little eulogy for Shawn Smith as a wrap up to the year in music.

This one hit me the hardest, as I’ve been a big fan for a long time. As previously mentioned, I sought out the first Brad album early on and ended up stumbling onto a guy they call “Seattle’s Best Kept Secret” in this singer.

His voice was amazing, and even more amazing was the volume of side projects he sang for. Brad. Satchel. Pigeonhead. All Hail The Crown. From The North. Twilight Singers. Vincent & Mr. Green. Plus a plethora of solo releases, many of them underrated classics. (Shield of Thorns & The Diamond Hand still slay me.)

I named the protagonist of my short story Fester after Shawn Smith, and still shudder in glee when I encounter the part where my Shawn Smith listens to THE Shawn Smith in the car. I never intended for the namesakes to cross paths in the story, but I love that they did.

Shawn Smith 1965-2019 RIP

Of The Year – 2018

Albums

1. Glorietta — Glorietta
Oh my! Another year, another supergroup on the top list. This one’s a little different with it being a supergroup where I wasn’t very familiar with any of the members beforehand outside of Wild Child — but their end results absolutely blew my mind.

2. Loner — Caroline Rose
Great record, great live show. It’s quite possible nobody has ever had as much fun on a record (or a tour) where they completely reinvent themselves.

3. Western Movies — Traveller
Two supergroups in one year.  This long-awaited debut (hyped up by 2 Austin shows they played in 2017) didn’t disappoint with a Benji Hughes level of “goofy yet sincere” going on throughout.

4. The Tree of Forgiveness — John Prine
He looks like death on the cover (no offense intended), but the songs tell you he’s still got it and is totally fine if this ends up being his swan song.

5. Esher Demos — The Beatles
Acoustic demos recorded at George Harrison’s house, officially released as part of the White Album 50th anniversary re-issue.

6. Crazy Love — Will Courtney
Discovery of the year.  Saw him on the actual 50th Anniversary of the White Album and he covered “Sexy Sadie” for the occasion. This album is great, but he has an older song called “The Days When Bands Could Make Your Cry” with an acoustic version that absolutely makes me cry.

7. Blaze (Original Cast Recording) – Ben Dickey & Friends
I was super late to the Blaze Foley party, but this soundtrack (and the biopic it comes from, and delving deep into the Blaze back catalogue) were big highlights of the musical year.

Songs

  1. Chevrolet Van – The Nude Party
  2. Soul #5 – Caroline Rose
  3. The Movie Song – The Record Company
  4. 19th Amendment – Dolly Parton
  5. Resignation – Paul Cauthen
  6. I’m Not Your Mother, I’m Not Your Bitch* – Courtney Barnett
  7. I Ain’t Got Nothin’** – Willie Nelson

    *Song title of the year

    **Lyric of the year: “A lonely summer night and memories linger / of when I gave you a ring and you gave me the finger…”

Shows

Rhett Miller @ Antone’s – 1/27
Bahamas @Antone’s – 2/17
Cha! (Police tribute band) @ Elysium – 3/3
Caroline Rose @ SXSW (4 shows!)
Blaze Foley movie & Tribute @SXSW – 3/16
Mason Jennings @ Cactus Cafe – 4/20
The Breeders @ Emo’s – 4/21
Rivers Cuomo @ the Troubadour – 5/30
Paul McCartney @ ACL Fest – 10/5
Jackie Venson @ ACL Fest – 10/5
The Record Company @ Scoot Inn – 11/1
Will Courtney @ Sam’s Town Point – 11/9
Hayes Carll & Jack Ingram @ Luckenbach Dance Hall – 11/17
Glorietta @ the Heights Theater – 12/15
Heart & Bones play the songs of Dirty Dancing @ 3Ten – 12/29

Of the Year – 2017

Commentary coming sooner or later…

ALBUMS

  1. Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle Album — Various
  2. Life Will See You Now — Jens Lekman
  3. Colors — Beck
  4. Like a Drunk in a Midnight Choir: RSD Celebrates the Music of Leonard Cohen — Various
  5. St. Mojo — Sweet Spirit
  6. Salutations* — Conor Oberst

SONGS

  1. Pamela — Sweet Spirit
  2. Beat of My Heart — Benji Hughes
  3. Goodbye One More Try — Hunter James
  4. A Little Uncanny — Conor Oberst (with the Felice Brothers)
  5. 1234 — Kevin Morby
  6. Losing Interest — Wilco

SHOWS

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam @ The Teragram Ballroom – 1/17/17

John Aielli Ekliktikos 50th Anniversary @ Hogg Auditorium – 3/7/17

Spiral Stairs @ Mohawk – 3/17/17

Tom Petty @ Frank Erwin Center – 5/2/17

The Record Company @ Emo’s – 9/17/17

Traveler @ ACL Fest (day) & Stubb’s Indoors (night) – 10/7/17

Continental Church of the Reverend Horton Heat @ The Continental Club – 10/27 & 10/28/17

John Fogerty @ Auditorium Shores – 10/29/17

Jen Cloher @ The Moody Theater – 11/11/17

Ray Wylie Hubbard @ The Paramount Theatre – 11/17/17

Beck @ John Anson Ford Amphitheatre – 11/18/17

ATX6 @ Stateside Theater – 11/29/17

Mike Doughty plays Irresistible Bliss @ Largo – 12/7/17

Of the Year – 2016

ALBUMS

1. I Had a Dream That You Were Mine — Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam 
I love when my favorite album of the year comes out of nowhere. I listened to this on NPR first listen because I liked the title and Hamilton’s last name. And I pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it since. Never been a big Walkman fan, though in hindsight I always liked the music of Vampire Weekend more than the lyrics. Sooo good.

2. Wild Dark Metal — Mason Jennings
Probably Mason’s best record since Blood of Man (if you don’t count The Flood as an excellent collection of older songs) — and somewhat of a companion piece with the electric guitar focus. He didn’t tour for this album, and an interview seemed to suggest he’s contemplating retirement. I hope he doesn’t hang it up for good, but completely understand if he needs a break.

3. Ruminations — Conor Oberst
This is the first time I’ve genuinely loved a Conor Oberst record top to bottom on my own vs. slowly come around to it based on my wife’s interest in it.

4. Give It Back To You — The Record Company
This one feels weird to me in some regards since I’ve been a fan of this band for so long that these aren’t really “new” songs to me.  But super proud of the buzz they’ve achieved in the leap from “best local band in LA” to “Grammy nominated artist for best contemporary blues album.”

5. Songs in the Key of Animals — Benji Hughes
Another time travel moment since this tied for my second favorite album of 2014 in its original form, but got a re-issue on Merge with a different track order and some new flare to a few of the intros/outros of the songs. Love that Benji is getting more well-deserved exposure, though I’m still a little baffled by the re-ordering since I’ve always thought the “draft” version was especially well sequenced.  Maybe I’ll get to ask him someday.

6. Emotions & Math — Margaret Glaspy
Favorite debut of the year — if “debut” is defined as “first release by someone I hadn’t heard of before.”

7. Life in the Dark — The Felice Brothers

SONGS

1. Couples Skate — Robert Ellis

2. O’Brien is Tryin’ to Learn to Talk Hawaiian — The Mr T Experience

3. Two Dollar Man / Old Daze — Mason Jennings

4. Freaky Feedback Blues — Benji Hughes

5. Plunder — The Felice Brothers

SHOWS

Sweet Spirit @ ABGB 1/31/16
They did a cover from Blackstar shortly after Bowie’s passing — and then went straight into an awesome rendition of “Young Americans” that brought down the house.

Benji Hughes @ The Bootleg Bar 2/4/16
My grandmother passed away this year.  The funeral was the weekend before this show.  I was scheduled to go to LA for work and could have been off the hook no questions asked, but decided to keep the trip anyways.  Whether it was too soon or not is still debatable, but seeing Benji and hearing “I Hate When Pretty Ladies Die” live at this show was exactly what I needed.  RIP, Gram.

Smooth Hound Smith @ ON A RIVERBOAT (!!!) at SXSW 3/18/16
I already covered this show in the SXSW recap, but man was that fun.

Supersuckers @ The Continental Club 3/19/16
This one didn’t get too much detail in the SXSW recap, but was a highlight.  When the schedule first came out and I saw the Supersuckers were playing the Continental at 1am I was pretty sure I’d be going by myself, but somehow managed to convince my wife to join me (as well as our friend Hunter) and a good time was had by all.

Reverend Horton Heat & Dale Watson @ Strange Brew 7/23/16
Dale Watson became our discovery of the year due to this show.  And I fulfilled my musical bucket list item of finally hearing “Liquor, Beer & Wine” live.  One of four times I saw the Reverend this year after way too many years off.

Felice Brothers @ the Sidewinder 10/5/16
Super cool venue, super cool setlist by a band that’s really coming into their own. And we kept up our remarkable run of consecutive shows where they play “Marie” — still my favorite song of theirs.

The Record Company @ Antone’s 11/12/16
Coverville introduced me to the Record Company years ago based on their awesome cover of “So What’cha Want?” by the Beastie Boys. My favorite part of this show was turning around to watch the crowd while they played it, watching everyone slowly reach the same revelation about what song it was when the signature guitar riff kicks in. I also got to ask singer Chris Vos about the lyric change on “This Crooked City” from “…and we shared a couple of beers” to “…and we shed a couple of tears.”  Both work well, but completely change the interpretation of the song.  He laughed when we screamed the older “beers” version during the set, and later told me “to be honest, I still sing beers sometimes too.”