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Archive for December, 2010

Georgia On My Mind, 2010

Oh my, is it the end of the year already? Even more oh my—it’s the end of the decade?

I say good riddance to this first decade of the new millennium or whatever we’re calling it these days. It’s had problems.

I’ve been reviewing my year in travel—I didn’t do as much as I would have liked, this darn economy. Still, I had a few really great trips. The Finger Lakes region of New York, where I learned about my foremothers in feminism. That was an eye opener. I had a swell visit to Nashville and particularly enjoyed my eight bajillionth, and eight bajillionth–and-one (yeah, I went twice in one week) visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  I spent most of my time in the new galleries covering the years I was immersed in country music, from the 1970s (I was an Urban Cowboy-era convert, and I’ll watch that movie any time) through the 1980s.

But if I had to name the one trip in 2010 that was the biggest revelation for me, it had to be the week I spent in Georgia—first in Savannah, then touring Coweta and LaGrange Troup counties, outside Atlanta.

I’d never given Georgia a whole lot of thought, really—for no particular reason, it just never really penetrated my consciousness. But even though I barely tasted the state in my short visit, the sense of history and culture hit me like a frying pan in the face. In a way, it reminds me of Texas in its deep pride, its colorful and complicated history, and its eccentricities. And it’s women–tough cookies, like Texas women.

A few images from the trip, as a little year ender. Happy New Year, Flyover Americans. See you on the other side.

Newnan, Georgia welcomes travel writers to town.

Oh, Savannah. Full of beauty and intrigue.

Flannery O'Connor's childhood bedroom, Savannah.

Dunaway Gardens, a great story in itself. I'll tell you about it sometime.

Hills & Dales, the life work of a very hardworking woman.

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Music for Wandering

Photo by Double Feature (via a Creative Commons license).

I know my talents. Discovering music groups is not one of them. I do not hang out at small music venues in the hopes that the next Replacements will take the stage. (As if there could ever be another Replacements.) Any talent I’ve ever had for it ended with high school. My music collection—and it is a fairly sizable collection—has been built on the suggestions of friends, the music-picking gifted but otherwise idiotic guys I’ve dated, opening acts of favorite bands, and recommendations from magazines or other media.

Those recommendations cost me when I go on one of my music-buying benders. The last one started a month ago in response to an overwhelming to-do list. Escape was necessary. I found myself scouring “best of” lists and wandering through the lineups of music festivals past. It sort of kicked off a month before when a music-obsessed writer friend who runs a concert series at his house (yeah, I’m jealous, too) sent me enough new-to-me tunes to fill a diner booth jukebox. But the to-do list sent it into overdrive.

The streak has been heavy on music out of (or inspired by) Americana or the South. That’s nothing really new for me but…there’s been so much good new stuff lately that it’s really dominating my music buying. (Or, newish—Happy Chanukah, by the way.) I started thinking about why the South’s music appeals to me so very much. Why it feels so right on my ears. A (culturally) Jewish girl born in Brooklyn and raised in Jersey. It doesn’t make sense. But I think, most of all, it’s just that it’s so damn anchored in place and story. That it makes me want to take off and see things. Or, when I can’t, that the best of it encourages part of my brain to take a break and wander off on my behalf.

If you’re in the mood to wander…

Found on Garden & Gun: The Secret Sisters’ debut album

Found on Paste‘s 50 Best Albums of 2010: Preservation: An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall

Found through my beloved the wonderful Steve Martin (no matter what the stupid 92nd St. Y says) and my good-at-finding-new-music friend Margaret Littman: Punch Brothers Antifogmatic

Oh, and you should also buy “Something Better,” the first single by The Dirt Drifters. Cause a) they’re really freakin’ good and b) one of the band’s member is a friend. Get in on them now so, when they go big, you can say you were listening to them way back when.

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