Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rewind #4

A. A. Bondy: American Hearts (2007)

"We were raised by wolves, but we are still wild and we howl when the troubled winds blow."

So begins the amazing song, American Hearts, from the amazing album, American Hearts, by A. A. Bondy. He makes such absolutely perfect country music. I mentioned the way I view country music earlier and Bondy's music sums it all up perfectly. It's a sound I've heard throughout my life, blending with the years as I grew into a cohesive entity. The first time I heard this album I knew what it was trying to convey instantly, a reach for a loving harmony inside the confusing, aching heart of this damn place. Bondy mixes the gold spirit of the landscape that's still alive in this country, open fields and flowing water through the gentle mid-west, with honest lyrics that expound to those who want to find an generous path for tomorrow. We've been damned by all of the white-washed patriotic fervor of the brash voices of country that discovering a humble, blessed soul in the midst of it all is like finding the garden of eden in the midst of the desert. A. A. Bondy is a beautiful man who simply wants to make beautiful music.

I'm Not There: Todd Haynes (2007)

Todd Haynes really knows how to capture the essence of music up on the big screen. He did it earlier with his movie, "Velvet Goldmine", and now he takes the life of Bob Dylan and flips us and spins us and caresses us and blinds us and opens our eyes. I'm Not There is a poetic vision of an elusive creature who has scrambled around our consciousness for four decades now. Dylan has gone from being the savior of folk music to a prophet to a visionary to a poet to a humble voice to just a musician. He's been so many things to so many people that it's impossible to narrow him down into one epic bipoic. Don't you hate those biopic films anyway? The incredible genius who has the touch, the gift and power to change life with whatever medium they happen to have mastered but then fame gives them a larger than life persona and the only way that they can deal with it is by abusing massive drugs, until they must overcome that horrible handicap in order to become a complete person. Bleh! Enough already, just give the damn guy the oscar ahead of time so we don't have to get caught up in all the formulaic crap that comes with it. Todd Haynes would never do that and he doesn't do it here. He gives us a magical flowing picture that captures so much of the entity that is Dylan but also so much about what he's meant to all those that have been touched by his music. Somewhere in this film, there will be a moment when the cinematic experience, along with the music, that will flash with comprehension. Yes, that's the Dylan I know and love. Yes...

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