Guitar Slide Wednesday and Other Stuff…

According to that calendar over on the right of the home page, I updated this blog twice in March and once in April. To keep the bar low, here’s at least one post in the this lovely month of May. And in the interest of efficiency, here are some things I would be writing about here on the blog, were I not at least moderately concerned with writing a dissertation.

1. Writing a dissertation and the exciting adventures of revising chapters1 

2. My second trip to SXSW that happened way back in March

3. Alumni weekend at my undergrad alma mater. I went because a.) it was my 15th year reunion (!!! #oldlady) and b.) our choir director/music history prof of 41 years retired & we had an alumni choir.

Finally, since it’s Wednesday, here’s a guitar slide for you. This song is called “Kerosene” by a band called Big Black, and the big guitar slides occurs at 1:05 and 3:45 or so.2  You might not be probably are not familiar with Big Black, but this band was a hardcore punk or industrial or post-punk band out of Chicago in the 1980s, and one of Steve Albini’s early bands. Albini is a Chicago-based musician and recording engineer, likely most famous for recording Nirvana and the Pixies, but has done, you know, lots of other things. This song appears in my dissertation, and I say a lot more about it there, but I know you only care about that guitar slide.3  

1. Just kidding. The process is pretty miserable, and I’m certain you don’t really want to hear/read about it at all.

2. As I write this post, I’m imagining the sort of feedback Advisor might provide and how she probably would disagree and/or not like it. This might be a sign I need to graduate soon. If you would like me to update the blog more frequently, perhaps you could let Advisor know that she should let me graduate in August.

3. I have listened to much of this song at least 200 times in order to transcribe it, well, because apparently, that’s what musicologists do. I really should have been a journalism major.

Ramblings about the Very Rough Draft

I was attempting to provide an overview of my project in casual conversation last night (you know, in response to the question, “So what exactly is your dissertation about?”). There was definitely a point in that conversation where my inner monologue said, “Wow. You have NO IDEA what you’re talking about. Great. Way to go.”

And it was sort of true. Of course, I said a few things and the other person was kind enough to pretend to be at least mildly interested. But I spent some time pondering where and when I derailed in that conversation. To recap and beat a topical dead horse, I’m hoping to write my dissertation on (American music of the 20th century>Country Music>Alternative Country Music) Bloodshot Records.

The dissertation has been explained to me (in very general terms) as several extensive and related essays… so I can’t help but think of what those essays (aka chapters) might be. When I think about Bloodshot, a few things swirl around in my mind. I’m interested in their Chicago-ness, particularly since I’ve heard more than one person say that the label wouldn’t exist but for the city (or as the Grand Master of Discourse has posed to me: What’s so dang special about Chicago? A question which could, in and of itself, spark great discussion and debate in general, but I digress). Also, I think about the broader musical context/landscape when the label began–particularly since the owners were way more tuned in to the punk/post-punk musical things going on at the time, rather than the Country Music and Nashville-y type things going on. There’s also the idea of country somewhere in the mix, I think. And again, I am still interested in the actual music. Really. That’s the whole point of this musicology thing, right? Right? Isn’t it?!? Um, yeah, at least, I think so.

So, between now and next Tuesday/Wednesday, I’ve got to make a Word document come to life with this sort of stuff… to flesh out my thoughts (I hate that phrase, it always reminds me of Frankenstein, which is unfortunately really appropriate here. I equally dislike the phrase “tease out,” which reminds me of my middle school bangs, but that’s a different post.). And hopefully the next time someone asks THAT question, I’ll do just a wee bit better at answering it.