Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Johnny Cash interlude

Well, today is Johnny Cash’s birthday, and I can’t help but spend a little time reflecting on him. I grew up listening to Johnny Cash – he’s in my dad’s top tier, for sure. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it: he was a genius. His Christmas Spirit album is pretty much the only holiday album I can listen to without wanting to tear my hair out. That voice. Oof. It’s a bit criminal that PJ hasn’t spent more time covering him. I think they could do him justice.

So here’s a little sampling of the epic amazingness that is Johnny Cash.

This one never, ever gets old.

This one, just to stand in wonder at just how low that voice could go. Daddy definitely sang bass.

If you haven’t listened to all the American recordings, you should, and not just for “Hurt”, though of course that’s amazing. This is probably my favorite (though it’s very hard to choose), a cover of Bonnie Prince Billy (this is how I discovered him, another musical genius).

Seriously, if someone wrote this song today, it would sound as fresh and intense as it did then.

What’s your favorite Johnny Cash song? Post a link in the comments! I’m going on a Cash binge all week!

Around the Bend, Bridge School 2006

Why oh why have they only played this one 9 times (cheers, PJ Stat Tracker)? It’s too beautiful for that kind of treatment! Maybe it puts everyone to sleep when they do it play it.

Guaranteed, Ed solo, Virginia Beach 2008

This one’s legit, not a should-not-have-been-taped-secret-EV-solo video. At this PJ show, Ed sat down and played this lovely song at the start of the second encore. Which is good for us all, because there are criminally few videos out there of Ed doing songs off Into the Wild. And this is simply fucking gorgeous.

Present Tense, London 1996

I’ve been on a bit of a mid-90s PJ kick as of late. Not a bad kick to be on.

Redemption Song, Roskilde 1992

Happy birthday, Bob Marley. Your version is way better, but EV did his best to honor it.

This video is pretty terrible, but what can you do. If you know of a better version, send it my way!

A compendium of Yield delights

Well, I’m a day late. Yield is my favorite Pearl Jam album, and yesterday it was, as you no doubt heard, Yield‘s 15th birthday. 15 years! Jessica Letkemann over at TFT wrote up a really nice Yield appreciation article which summarizes a lot of how I feel about the album much more eloquently than I could do here. It’s well worth reading, and the last paragraph rings especially true:

But fifteen years later, what really matters about “Yield,” is that it, to borrow a phrase, “still stands.” The songs live, not as ’90s nostalgia, but as powerful — particularly when Ed, Jeff, Stone, Mike and Matt play them in concert — as the first time you hit “play” and heard that shout of “1,2,3,4!” at the start of “Brain of J.”

Yeah: that. That’s how I feel about Yield. It came out when I was in college (the first of their albums to come out when I was no longer living at home), I saw them live on that tour for the first time, and clearly a lot of my fondness for it is probably wrapped up in my own personal history with it. But, really, I think it’s just a great album: it still rocks. It’s still interesting. It’s still solid, through and through (except, I’d argue, for Wishlist, which I can’t bring myself to listen to any more).

ANYWAY. I was struggling to come up with some way to pay my proper respects for the birthday event here. Going through the tracklisting is basically like going through a list of the best of the best: Brain of J, Faithfull, No Way, Given to Fly, Pilate, Do the Evolution, MFC, Low Light, In Hiding, All Those Yesterdays. Are you kidding me? Lots of great bands have entire careers without that many good songs. Hell, even Red Dot is awesome (we called it the Shiekhy Buton song, and no, I have no idea why). And I like (even if I don’t love) Push Me, Pull Me.

So, with the lack of a better idea, to celebrate, here’s a collection of Yield awesomeness:

Brain of J, Pinkpop 2000

Faithfull, Toronto 2011

No Way, Seattle 2009 – I was there! (though if you haven’t seen the family squabble + No Way from PJ20, do yourself a favor and go watch it. It’s amazing. It’s probably the best thing on this whole site.)

Given to Fly, opening for the Stones, Oakland 1997 (JACK IRONS!)

Sorry, Wishlist. No.

Pilate, Dallas 1998 (also featuring: Dennis Rodman)

Do the Evolution, TFC, DC 1998 (I was there, too, my first show! Amazing dance moves)

Red Dot –  a very cool/alarming little video for your perusal

Untitled/MFC, Mansfield 2000 (I was there, too)

Last Kiss, Off He Goes & Low Light, Missoula 2012 (luckiest person ever: I was there, TOO!)

In Hiding, Seattle 2000 (performed by sparkling vampires)

Push Me, Pull Me, Berlin 2010

All Those Yesterdays, Minneapolis 1998 (runner up for best video on here – so hilariously awesome)