Best Friends’ Day (June 8th, 2018, Columbia, MO)

Today is National Best Friends Day, and we’re having one of my very best friends over tonight, so the day’s been spent cooking and getting the house ready for his arrival. He’s a former student of mine, and few days after his 21st birthday (he’s currently 43), he showed up on my doorstep with a 12-pack to share and we listened to George Jones on the front porch for hours. Tonight the main focus is eating (Nicole’s killer Thai chicken), drinking [local microbrewery Logboat’s killer (a touch light, a touch sweet, 6.6 ABV) porter, Dark Matter], and watching the NBA Finals (simply to appreciate a couple different kinds of GOATs), but I know I’ll play him the recently-surfaced Gary Stewart demos, and maybe, since he’s a metal fan, the new Zeal & Ardor album, Stranger Fruit. I loved the last one (Devil is Fine); this one’s a bit more extreme, and conventional, but it still features the blues traces and chant-powered dynamics that originally attracted me. A sample:

While we were preparing for Regan’s arrival, I tried to convert my very best friend (Nicole) more fully to the album I can’t quit mentioning, Tracey Thorn’s Record. I think I succeeded (she adores the song “Sister”), but in listening to it myself for about the 12th time, I realized not only how deeply hooked I am by her rich voice, but also that this album man (I think it’s because I am also a book man) has three favorite singles this year, and they are all Tracey’s, from this album: “Guitar,” “Dancefloor,” and, yes, Nicole’s favorite, too (it’s already a great National Best Friends Day):

I can’t praise those songs enough.

Also, I slapped on Sidi Touré’s great new desert blues album, Toubalbero, which features some of the most varied and most driving guitar ever out of a mess of records that are about guitar (also: kora and balophon). Dig:

Right now, as the Thai chicken’s grillin’, some equally hot and somewhat obscure Latin jazz. Feel free to ride it into your own weekend.

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