There's been a sighting of Dub Cornett, a former denizen of the Knoxville music scene, of late swallowed up into the Music City maw. Cornett was quoted extensively in a Newsweek story on singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams' new album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. He told a not entirely flattering story about how he and Williams skipped the 1994 Grammys in favor of a beer breakfast and got a phone call telling them that her song "Passionate Kisses" had won. Williams used to be seen around Knoxville with another local hunk gone to Nashville, Brian Waldschlager.
Will Fletcher, frontman of the late Dynamo Humm, is now part of Glowplug, which was formerly Dinky Doo. Glowplug has been backing the porn rocker Fat Bastard as of late, but they also gig solo. They've been rehearsing songs both old and new for a month or so and have a show with Pegasi 51 and Chunkity on August 1 at the Longbranch. As far as we know, Pegasi 51 and Chunkity are still playing together. If this keeps up, Metro Pulse will have to assemble a handy pull-out guide, complete with charts and graphs, visually explaining just who has played with whom.
Local CD Review
Former University of Tennessee student Dann Gunn shows commendable ambition on his new compact disc ...losing steam, writing and singing all nine of its songs as well as playing both guitar and bass. But single-minded ambition isn't always such a good thing when it comes to making music, and in Gunn's case, a little collaboration might have gone a long way toward dissipating the mire of self-absorption that fairly engulfs most of the tracks.
Gunn's stock in trade is 1980s-style post-Gothic no-wave, replete with chilly vocals, lyrics fraught with existential crisis, and haunting, textural layers of guitar. And while his dank musical backdrops are well-conceived and even at times dolefully fetching, his ponderously angst-ridden lyrical sentiments are often too much to bear.
I saw my ghost walking home to you, Gunn emotes tremulously on the disc's opening track, "My Ghost." So much time lost in grief/So much time without relief he intones with a similarly overwrought flair on cut number two, entitled "Deep Heaven." Throughout most of the album, the tone is so monolithically despairing that the listener is rendered numb, senseless to any of the wrenching, overtly personal experiences Gunn seems to want so desperately to share.
On a few too-rare occasions, he manages to make a real emotional connection, such as on the gentle, sadly sweet "Hide." But even those moments are short-lived, drowned as quickly as they arise in a sea self-loathing and personal recrimination. How could this faithless body ever understand your touch, he wails, more than a little pathetically, I could not hide. Perhaps the album's only truly successful track is "Time is Now," a song that, if still overwrought in its execution, at least seems somehow at ease with its own melodramatics. Gunn sings in a tortured Gothic whisper over eerily chiming arpeggios in a verse that eventually gives way to a powerful chorus, a wash of hard rhythms and edgy feedback.
Gunn's songs all show some kernel of promise; a viscerally appealing guitar track, a well-crafted hook, a series of judiciously employed effects. Ultimately, however, his music begs for the input of another songwriteror at the very least some new wellspring of inspiration removed from his current morose preoccupationsto give half-formed ideas full vent and keep his head out of that dark, murky orifice that seems to swallow up most of his creative spark.
Attention All Complete-ists
If you just can't live without owning every single track an artist has set down and you are an R.B. Morris fan, you might want to check out Daedalus Books' (800-395-2665) CD offerings. This discount and remainder mail-order bookseller has some copies of Uprooted: The Best of Roots Country Singer-Songwriters, which is on the Shanachie label. Not only does this disc feature a Morris cut, "Take That Ride," it also offers cuts from Robbie Fulks, Kelly Willis, Amy Rigby, Iris DeMent, Trish Murphy, and Don Walser. And it's even on sale.
And Which Finger Would That Be?
Last week, we gave a slap on the wrist to 94.3 WNFZ for a tasteless contest asking listeners to guess how long it would be until the next kid goes into a school somewhere and starts shooting. We didn't mention the offending DJ by name, mostly because we don't pay much attention to DJs' names. However, since he took to the air to give us "the big finger" and complained that he had not been identified, we will gladly oblige: His "name" (and we're not making this up) is Rover. With that done, let us point out that he also didn't have the guts to name us, referring just to "a local paper." All right, Roverwe double dog dare ya. And since there's nothing we like more than a good media feud, we'd like to offer our own contest in return: Can you guess how long it will be before Rover says something else inane?
Missing the Point (an ongoing series)
It seems that Zippy pissed in more than one bowl of radio Wheaties last weeknow we must revisit the Boy Genius local radio play issue (see the July 16 Eye for the offending blurb). Doug Shock at WIMZ 103.5 was kind enough to fax us bits of his station's playlist in order to support his contention that WIMZ has been spinning Boy Genius and that we overlooked WIMZ's contribution to the local music scene. He then went on to insult Zippy's accuracy and journalistic skill.
And he was right to do so. We did forget to mention that WIMZ also played Boy Genius in their "Tennessee Homegrown" show, an honor that we remembered to point out 98.7 "The X" shares as well.
While WIMZ certainly saw this particular tree, they did manage to miss the rest of the forest, namely that we were actually decrying the lack of Boy Genius in any local commercial station's regular rotationyou know, the stuff that isn't relegated to a special show just for local artists. Granted, their new CD is not as big as the latest Pearl Jam single, but it is on a relatively well-known label and would give a big boost to the local scene. Will college radio be the only avenue for Knoxville's own Boy Genius?
Zippy "Maybe it's a Thumb" McDuff