December 26, 2006

Musicians’ roundtable: The best of 2006

Music writers love to talk about “Best-of” lists. It’s one moment in the year where you get to show that you paid attention, and that you remember the wildly diverse selections that were released that year.It’s actually part of your job as a music fan — if you have any salt — to keep up with these things. Like it or not, it’s a huge part of helping music find an audience, sharing your favorites, telling a friend.This year, instead of rambling about what I liked, I wanted to talk with three different and equally inspiring people in Louisville about the music they loved in 2006. Jacob Duncan is a local composer and saxophone player in Liberation Prophecy, a band whose unique and wonderful album Last Exit Angel was released this year. Featuring a world-class list of musicians and a daring, open-minded approach to large-group jazz, Liberation Prophecy simply kicks ass.Ryan Patterson is a long-time supporter of independent music who runs the Auxiliary Records label and plays in Coliseum and Black Cross. He released several albums this year and co-produced the influential Last Saturday all-ages concert series (www.lastsaturday.net). Ryan and his collective of friends make a huge difference in the local music scene.Rebecca Cornwell is a manager at ear X-tacy, spends some time at the Palace Theater and is the “Keep Louisville Weird” outreach coordinator. She is one of the people behind the scenes who bring such spirit and personality to the local music scene — she helps out at concerts, organizes outdoor events and is genuinely friendly and professional even when rock ’n’ roll chaos reigns.Oh, yeah, I always ask her to help with spell-checking, too.So, in an impromptu “round table” (by e-mail), we had a short conversation about the best musical moments of 2006.Gillian Welch made a surprise appearance at the Pour Haus.JN: OK, here we go: Favorite live show you saw this year?REBECCA: Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings at The Pour Haus (1481 S. Shelby St.).RYAN: Didjits at the Touch & Go 25th Anniversary weekend (in Chicago). (They closely nudged out Scratch Acid and Girls Against Boys.)JACOB: I’m married and have a little boy, so I don’t get out as much as I used to, but nonetheless, I would have to say my favorite show was when Tom Waits came to town. I’ve been a fan for 16 years, and all my expectations were met.JN: Favorite book about music (any year)?JACOB: My favorite book about music and bad choices would have to be Art Pepper’s “Straight Life.” Basically, it’s a book about what not to do. And one more: “Book of Longing” by Leonard Cohen.RYAN: “Dance of Days” by Mark Andersen and Mark Jenkins. I read this any time my inspiration starts to run dry.JN: Smoking ban in rock clubs — yes or no? Just curious.JACOB: I used to smoke and now I don’t, so for myself, I’m happy with the no-smoking ban. I can also take the baby to Twig & Leaf for breakfast.REBECCA: I don’t think it should be banned completely. People should have the right to smoke in clubs. I would, however, prefer there to be certain sections where people can smoke so that it’s not blowing right in my face.RYAN: As the immortal Steve Martin once said, “Do you mind if I smoke? No, of course not ... Do you mind if I fart?”JN: Song (from any year) that you couldn’t get out of your head in 2006? (Mine was “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, closely followed by “Popcorn.”) REBECCA: “SexyBack” — Justin Timberlake.JACOB: Um ... thanks for mentioning “Crazy” (I guess I’ll go into 2007 with that song in my head). I have to say “Poses” by Rufus Wainwright.RYAN: “You’ll Never Get To Me” by Killing Joke.JN: Any albums released in 2006 that gave you joy?JACOB: Thelonious Monk and Coltrane at Carnegie Hall; Paul Motian’s Garden of Eden; Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man; Charles Lloyd’s Sangam; and Neil Young’s Living with War (because it’s nice to hear an old hippie who hasn’t lost his spirit, indignation and hope).RYAN: Bonnie Prince Billy’s The Letting Go; Converge’s No Heroes; Mission of Burma’s The Obliterati; River City Tanlines’ I’m Your Negative; and Uzeda’s Stella. Plus, the two albums Auxiliary put out: Wolverine Brass’ Wicked Witch and Young Widows’ Settle Down City.JN: Best song (from any year) to comment on politics in 2006?JACOB: I would have to go to Neil Young’s “Shock and Awe”: ... We came to liberate them all. History was a cruel judge of overconfidence back in the days of shock and awe. (There’s) not too much out there dealing with our sad state of affairs.REBECCA: Dixie Chicks’ “Easy Silence.”RYAN: Man ... my own songs have done so, but I just can’t think of anything else that’s appropriate ... “Young Lions” by The Constantines carries over into 2007.JN: Please pick a song to bring in 2007.RYAN: “Young Lions” by The Constantines.JACOB: Is there an “I’m sorry 2006”? Just kiddin’! Well, bringin’ in the New Year, maybe, and it doesn’t have to be from 2006? I’m thinkin’ it’s New Year’s Eve. You’ve been drinkin’, smokin’ and jokin’ and strivin’ and jivin’ to get in someone’s pants, and “Auld Lang Syne” is too sentimental. How about, “Maybe I’m Doin’ It Wrong” by Randy Newman.JN: You all make me hopeful for the future of music (and I’m not exaggerating)! Thanks for your time, and here’s a huge PEACE OUT. Jason Noble is in the bands Rachel’s and Shipping News. Contact him at leo@leoweekly.com