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Friday, June 15, 2012

De tuin in Krispyn

Het is een jaar waarin ik veel persoonlijke groei moet ondergaan. Dankzij geduldige en behulpzame vrienden, collega's, begeleiders, vrijwilligers, familie en maatjes is deze tot dusver in een relatieve pijnloze manier doorgegaan.  Middelerwijl heeft de tuin in Krispyn, een bescheiden woonwijk in Dordrecht, ook gegroeid en gebloeid. Deze foto's zijn in de tuin genomen in het vele middagzonnelicht met een simpel toestel.  Ik zou ze met een betere camera genomen hebben maar ik reageerde op de spontaniteit van de gedachte - mens en plant groeien gelijk.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Claudio Giuliani's review of Racing Aimless (translated by Silvia Guslandi)

It has taken a while but here is finally an English translation of Claudio Giuliani's review of Racing Aimless which appeared earlier this year in the magazine Mescalina. The original was written in Italian and has been translated by Silvia Guslandi an Italian-American currently doing doctoral studies at the University of Genoa.

Review of David Roland Rodriguez’s album Racing Aimless (Waving Fish Music 2012)

3-3-2012, by Claudio Giuliani

It’s quite a long story, I know, but it’s worth telling it all. Who of you remembers David Rodriguez? His name spread around here during the first half of the Nineties, a bunch of albums in his pocket and a story to tell, serious and carrying a certain weight; songs that represented bursts of real life, a poetics of the day-to-day, of the dusty side of the street, of ashes on your shoes and of sweat, of denied rights and of hard labor. They were songs of social protest and hope of a fair destiny, songs of authentic feelings and family bonds, but without the commercial sugar of the happy life. I remember meeting him and listening to him perform live during a tour on small obscure suburban stages, organized by the late Carlo Carlini, a man a lot of us owe a great part of our musical experience to: if it hadn’t been for his pioneering vision, in Italy we wouldn’t have listened to or seen many of our heroes, be they tiny or celebrated. Thanks Carlo! This review is for you.

David Roland Rodriguez was born in Houston, Texas, on January 1st 1952 to a family of Mexican origin. A disability kept him from approaching basketball or baseball. It was the guitar that kept him company, along with a passion for a magical thaumaturgy that can hide within a song the attraction of civil struggles.

With a law degree in his pocket, he exercised the profession of street lawyer in favor of labor battles and human rights, fighting against isolation and social discrimination. At the same time, his aptitude for music – inherited by an aunt Eva Garza who was quite famous in the Fifties and recorded for Decca, Columbia among others – directed him towards the path of singer-songwriting. The gratifications would not be lacking; in ’92, ’93,  ’94 as well as in 2007, with the release of the live recording A Wintermoon he was nominated “best songwriter in Texas” by the magazine Third Coast Music. In his albums you’ll find a duet with Lucinda Williams (The True Cross) and songs of his have been performed by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Nancy Griffith Vince Bell and Melissa Greener. Among his cds, several are worth mentioning: Landing 92, a collection of songs from his early career, The Friedens Angel, Forgiveness, and Proud Heart (which contains our friend Luigi Grechi’s cover of Chitarrista Cieco, souvenir of an alcoholic meet-up during the afore-mentioned tour). The man would later immigrate to the Netherlands and choose a lower profile career, performing and recording occasionally. Last November we met up with his daughter Carrie Rodriguez, a splendid violinist who had already played alongside Chip Taylor and Bill Frisell. In our chat with her, we recalled to her the meeting with her father and showed her covers of his cds from our collection (receiving the blow that in the meantime others had seen the light). We talked about his songs and social involvement; it was a meeting that brought back memories.

A while later, thanks also to Carrie who initiated the contact, I got an email that said: “Dave has just cut a new album, you want to hear it?” Here it is! In all its exemplary balance, in the magnificence of its emotion that oozes class and sensitivity, in the concreteness of its bare sounds and of a human warmth that is reliable and mellow. Racing Aimless is a beautiful album, worth looking for, a dusty record that sounds 100% Americana, exquisite songwriting lathered in tradition and wandering along blue provincial roads, where you can track it down or trip over it, in an unexpected place. The players are DavidR.: voice and guitar, Tom Cantrell: mandolin and bass; DanEarhart: accordion, are the frame of the ensemble; around them are – distributed among the various episodes – our Danilo Cartia (Rome) on banjo and Ky Hote on slide guitar.
Banjo notes introduce Gulf Coast Plain, a song marked by a bare and epically profound banjo, then the accordion joins in and our heart opens; the title track Racing Aimless is another charm: Cantrell’s mandolin, gives the impression of tasting the milk of paradise. Unbroken Highway is one of the album’s treasures, Rodriguez’s voice, a strong point of the cd, is expressive, true, and grainy. It’s a track that has the night’s fragrances and the pipe dreams of the border in it. Gambler’s Angel is worth the whole album, there’s the breath of the West, the desert dust of the border, Cartia’s banjo holding the reigns and the accordion tracing the horizon. Cowboy Waltz is another gem, riding along the same path. The final track Yellow Rose of Texas has a classic flavor, splendid sounds and enchanting atmospheres. It is a small but great cd.  It is one of the most fascinating of this early 2012.