Crucial Velocity

1. Marcia and I returned yesterday from a quick trip to New Orleans. I went on behalf of TREE Fund to help conduct finalist interviews for the President/CEO position, my former job until 2019, and the one I’ve been filling again on an interim basis since last December. Marcia came with me because we’ve both been to New Orleans on our own for work over the years, but we’ve never visited it together. It was a good and fun and productive trip. On the work side, we hope to be announcing the new TREE Fund President/CEO within the next couple of weeks. On the personal side, we got a lot of good walks in, and ate some truly amazing meals, all of them involving various types of crustaceans, which pleased my belly immensely. Of particular culinary note, if you find yourself looking for a meal in New Orleans, were Luke, Toast (for brunch), and Seafood Sally’s. We also visited the New Orleans Jazz Museum and the National World War II Museum, both worth the time and attention. I snapped some pics along the way, as I do, and if you’d like to see our photo album, you can click on the mid-meal scene from our first night’s dinner at Seafood Sally’s. Messy good deliciousness, just so.

When the dinner table features a roll of paper towels, a plastic pitcher, and a bucket, then I know I am where I am meant to be. Mmm mmm good!!!

2. On the writing-related front, things are trucking along very nicely with Unleash Press toward an October 2023 release of Ubulembu and Other Stories. I’ve seen the cover art mock-up and I love it, so will be most excited to have it out for your delectation this autumn. The roll-out for Side by Side in Eternity continues to go well. As I’ve noted before, if you’ve acquired it, thank you! If you’ve read it, even bigger thanks! And if you enjoyed it and would be able and willing to leave a review on the book-buying or personal platform of your choice, Jim (my co-author) and I would be most tickled, indeed. I do still have 11 copies of the book here that are signed by Jim and I. If you’d like to have one of those autographed copies for your personal library, hit me up by email and I’ll be happy to get it off to you, pronto.

3. I’ve typically done a “Best Music of the Year (Half-Way)” type post each summer, highlighting the first six months of each year’s offerings as an interim step toward my annual Albums of the Year report. 2023 has started on a super-strong front to my ears, so I think I’m going to mix it up a bit with a quarterly interim report instead. For January to March, here’s what’s been rocking my world the hardest:


  • Gina Birch, I Play My Bass Loud
  • David Brewis, The Soft Struggles
  • John Cale, Mercy
  • Fever Ray, Radical Romantics
  • Steve Mason, Brothers & Sisters
  • Caroline Polachek, Desire, I Want to Turn Into You
  • Iggy Pop, Every Loser
  • Yves Tumor, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds)
  • Uriah Heep, Chaos & Colour
  • Young Fathers, Heavy Heavy
  • Andy White and Tim Finn, AT


  • Buggy Jive, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job”
  • David J, “Quelle Tristesse” / “Vienna Song”
  • Mammoth WVH, “Another Celebration at the End of the World”
  • Public Image Ltd., “Hawaii”
  • Sparks, “The Girl is Crying in Her Latte”
  • Bartees Strange, “Tisched Off” / “Keekee’in”

Since I’m still caving to streaming (grumble), I’ve created a playlist if you’d like to sample one cut from each of these releases, below. Enjoy them, and let me know what else I might have missed over the past three months!


4. I must point out a sad note and a glad note related to songs in that prior playlist. The sad news first: Public Image Ltd’s (PiL) “Hawaii” single was released as a love song for Nora Forster, the wife since 1979 of PiL front-man John Lydon. Nora has been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for several years, and this beautiful song was crafted as an ode to a memorable vacation that John and Nora spent in Hawai’i, even as Nora’s memories of it, and many other things, were fading. Lydon has been Nora’s primary caregiver throughout her devastating illness, and this song (among other activities) were John’s way of preserving Nora’s dignity, celebrating her life, and heightening awareness of Alzheimer’s impact on those living with the disease, and those caring for them. I was sad to read yesterday that Nora has finally succumbed to her disease at the age of 80. “Hawaii” is a beautiful ode to the long power of their partnership, a mature love song written in the waning days of a life-long romance, not in the passionate throes of its early moments. I can’t think of a lot of other songs crafted from that perspective, with Kurt Weill’s “September Song” (best performed by Willie Nelson, to these ears) as perhaps the exemplar of the idiom. Until “Hawaii.” RIP to Nora Forster, and all affection to John Lydon in the dark and lonelier days ahead of him. His dedication to his wife, though better and worse, in sickness and in health, moves me. Here’s the video for this most sad and special song:

On a happier front, Buggy Jive’s “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” was created for and entered into NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, and yesterday, the judges highlighted nine favorites (out of over 6,000 entries) from their rating and screening process. Guess what? Buggy Jive is one of them. This year’s winner will be announced in May, and I would be tickled pink to have Buggy earn that most well-deserved honor. I’ve counted him as a genius since first being exposed to his work in Albany in the ’90s, and it is thrilling to see him getting this level of acknowledgment and recognition. Go Buggy Jive! I’m cheering and rooting for you, with all that I’ve got! Here’s the video of the song, which is typically fantastic, discussing the whole Tiny Desk concept while participating in the same, meta upon meta upon meta. Plus, Buggy gets his very best band together again for this special performance, worth seeing them work their formidable chops. Oh, and The LORD makes a special appearance, which is always a good thing. Love it!

5 thoughts on “Crucial Velocity

  1. I was having a conversation with someone about we (both 65+) are having a terribly difficult time keeping up with new music and new shows, in part because there’s just so much of it. I happen to like this song.

    And BTW, Willie Nelson turns 90 at the end of the month! Michael Eck had a FB post explaining that he has an actual ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and that he’s voting for Willie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a few trusted sources for identifying new music in close to real time, so that’s helpful. And I probably have something playing on average about 12 hours per day, so lots of time for sampling stuff!!


  2. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, April 8 2023 – Chuck The Writer

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