Three Songs New To Me

“Yo, what the hell are you doing?” my editor, Edgar Reewright, shouted into the phone early last week. Wisely, I moved the receiver five inches away from my ear.

“I swear, never again will I take on a blogger as a client,” Edgar continued loudly. “Last week you wrote a story that featured three songs. And now you’re telling me that your next piece also is going to be about three songs? What gives, Neil? Can’t you come up with a different idea? How about writing about a childhood memory instead, like the time, when you were four years old, that you got your head stuck in an iron fence and Navy Seals had to be brought in to get you out? I tell you, if it weren’t for the $750 you pay me each week I’d drop you faster than I would a rattlesnake.”

“Edgar, maybe you mistake me for Ralph Waldo Emerson or John Updike,” I said. “They never lacked for things to write about. They were writing machines, for crying out loud. But me? Hey, story ideas don’t exactly flow from my cranium like lava. Right now, back-to-back pieces on music is the best that I can do. And how’d you find out about that iron fence incident anyway? The military’s report on it is locked away in their Too Weird To Be Made Public files.”

“Edgar,” I went on, “the check is in the mail. As always, it’s been a pleasure.”

I hung up. And Edgar didn’t call back.

Three songs it is then. A few weeks ago I heard them for the first time. They are good ones, two of them pretty spanking new and one an oldie that could be mistaken for a country-kissed soft rock number put on wax just yesterday. The tunes came to me via WXPN, a primo radio station in Philadelphia that should pay me a hefty fee for mentioning them as often as I have in my stories. WXPN loves to play new songs and obscure songs while finding plenty of space for ones we’ve heard a thousand times. I am one with the station’s mindset. That’s why XPN and I are pals.

I liked the three songs in question so much, I immediately made a note of their names and performers. Nightime Lady, by Rick Nelson & The Stone Canyon Band, was the first to reach my ears. Two days later, within minutes of each other, came Waxahatchee’s No Question and Zeek Burse’s Dry. As different as the three are, sonically-speaking, they share some common ground. Each examines love, for example, that most complicated and shape-shifting of emotions. And you can shake and groove to each of them, though the boogying you might do to Nightime Lady would be highly restrained compared with the workouts you’d get from the thrashing No Question and the pulsating Dry.

If I ever had heard Nightime Lady before, all memory of it was erased from my brain. I was slowly eating breakfast while leafing through the newspaper on a quiet Sunday morning when it came on the air. “Man, this is a lovely song,” I thought to myself. “Who is this? Sam Beam? Conor Oberst?” No, of course, it wasn’t either of those present-day heroes. I was a bit amazed when I soon found out that Rick Nelson is the singer and song’s composer. And that it dates back to 1972. Rick released the album Garden Party that year and had a monster hit with its title song. Nightime Lady is track number seven on that disc.

Well, I take Nighttime Lady as the tale of an immensely lonely man who finds comfort with and feels a mighty attachment to a lady of the night. Probably he has been with her on many an occasion. Lost when it comes to meeting true love, he’ll take whatever soothing caresses he can, wherever he may find them. I assume that Rick didn’t base Nightime Lady on personal experience. He always seemed well-adjusted to me, handling teen idol status in the 1950s calmly and politely. Then he plowed past those years to establish a long and successful career as a musician. Sadly, all came to an end when he died in a plane crash on the final day of 1985.

I was staring at the sky from my house’s deck when No Question grabbed me by my privates. Man, what a snarling rocker. It, and the album on which it appears (Out In The Storm), were released last month. I was panting for breath when the song ended because it doesn’t take much snarling before my head starts bopping to and fro uncontrollably. And oh happy day, WXPN wasn’t finished with me, as Dry, which came out in April on the album titled XXII, set me bouncing in my chair minutes later. Dry’s take-me-to-the-disco beats beckoned me to jump up and glide all over the deck à la Michael Jackson. I started to do exactly that, but then I remembered that my dancing ability is buried in the negative numbers. I stayed seated, though continuing to bounce in place.

No Question and Dry look at love from very different perspectives than does Nightime Lady. No Question’s young protagonist rages against her (former?) unfaithful lover. And in Dry we hear the thoughts of a guy who is ready to stay with and please his girl forever . . . or is he? He doesn’t seem all that certain, actually. Sure, everyone knows this, but I’ll state it anyway: If it weren’t for love — its solidity or lack thereof, its absence, its frustrations —  hardly any songs ever would have been composed. Topic number one it is and has been, by far.

So, what’s up with the name Waxahatchee? It’s the stage and recording moniker that Katie Crutchfield, who sings lead and wrote every song on Out In The Storm, goes by. She took it from a creek, the Waxahatchee, in Alabama, the state she grew up in. Katie, who now lives in Philadelphia, has become big in the indie rock world over the last two or three years. And probably is going to get even bigger.

Big is a word that Zeek Burse, another Philadelphian, probably hopes one day will apply to him. Stranger things have happened. He sings great, and that’s a big start. And he can write, having composed or co-authored every track on XXII. Still, the music biz is rougher than rough. For now, Zeek remains one of who knows how many thousands of professional musicians that virtually nobody ever has heard of.

Before I say goodbye till next time, I’d be impossibly remiss not to mention a main reason I wrote this article. You see, when it comes to music, we live in storied times. The number of ear-pleasers out there is beyond incredible. Nightime Lady, No Question and Dry represent merely a nano-percentage of the millions of good songs I’d never heard before that I could have chosen. And that’s because nearly everything that ever has been recorded is available to us in our Spotify-edly and YouTube-edly blessed age. Musical riches that only a handful of years ago were unimaginable are now a click here and a click there away.

Party on, amigos!

(If you enjoyed this story, then don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing it on social media. Gracias.)

33 thoughts on “Three Songs New To Me

  1. The Artist's Child August 3, 2017 / 1:55 am

    Really liked these songs. Such diverse styles. The Rick Nelson video would not play but found it here: Great harmonies. I especially like hearing rock songs done be female singers with great voices. Katie Crutchfield is really good and love the smooth disco style of Zeek Burse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 3, 2017 / 8:51 am

      Hello there. The Rick video in the article plays on my end. Not sure why it won’t on yours.

      Anyway, thanks for visiting. Always good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Artist's Child August 3, 2017 / 9:53 pm

        Maybe it’s the region thing. Not authorised for Australia. Really drives you crazy.


  2. Tony August 3, 2017 / 4:53 am

    Great post. I’m really enjoying the new Waxahatchee album at the moment

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joyce hamilton August 3, 2017 / 7:55 am

    Again, thanks for the clicks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. C C Cedras August 3, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Ah, Ricky Nelson. My childish heart belonged to him and only him. I’d never heard that track, either. Thanks to you and WPXN for unearthing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hairytoegardener August 4, 2017 / 10:32 am

    I can see myself kicked back with a cold beverage listening to Nighttime Lady on the deck. –Mellow, peaceful, thought provoking. I also like the rhythm of Dry. For me, the melody/beat/rhythm always rides heavy before I “hear” the lyrics. Waxahatchie – No Question was okay. I might have to listen to it several times before I know how I feel about it. It didn’t grab me right away, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. You’re right that the number of ear pleasers are immeasurable. I love stumbling upon something new (to me).–Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 4, 2017 / 11:14 am

      Hello there.
      I like the scenario you describe for listening to Nightime Lady. It’s perfect.


  6. Alyson August 4, 2017 / 10:34 am

    It is wonderful to find new songs that really make an impact like these three did on you – As you say we have access to probably millions of songs nowadays at the touch of a screen but sometimes I have a longing to go back to the days when each piece of new vinyl was just so precious, lovingly played on a very basic turntable many, many times until the grooves wore out!

    Didn’t even know that Ricky Nelson had a later career as Rick Nelson so thanks for that.

    Glad I don’t have an editor called Reewright as I have a feeling he would be continually on my case – I’ll just stick to having my own internal editor who does let me off with quite a lot I think!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 4, 2017 / 11:17 am

      Yeah, it was a lot of fun spinning vinyl albums over and over. There were albums, such as Rubber Soul, that I must have played hundreds of times.
      Those were the days.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. cincinnatibabyhead August 4, 2017 / 1:13 pm

    Zeek’s ‘Dry’ has that Etta ‘7 Day Fool’ feel and i really dig Kate’s sound. Always like Rick. Will be giving Zeke and Kate more listens. Neil, maybe you could start a new “Philly Bandstand”.(That WXPN is one good station)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christy B August 4, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    OK so your editor wasn’t impressed but we are 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. sniderjerry August 4, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    My favorite is Nightime Lady – I remember watching Ozzie and Harriet…waiting to see if Ricky would sing at the end of the show. Rock on, Neil!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. andrewcferguson August 5, 2017 / 4:16 am

    Good choices, Neil! I think you should seek new management – Edgar’s not treating you right. My rates are very reasonable. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. K E Garland August 5, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    It’s hard out there on a new (musical) artist. I can’t imagine trying to get new music out there. That song Dry does start off kinda Beat It-sh sounding. I also think the artist’s sound is a cross between Seal and Lenny Kravitz.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. elbycloud August 6, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    The pilot survived that plane crash. He had a bad time of it with his burns. It was a sad story, but glad to see Rick’s music still moves people.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. (@VintageNewscast) October 14, 2017 / 11:55 am

    You know, “Nighttime Lady” reminds me a lot of Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross.” Then again, sometimes I think it reminds me of “Tusk,” also from Fleetwood Mac.

    Liked by 1 person

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