[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

7.22.2004

wrong-eyed jesus

a couple of years ago, when we still lived upstairs on washington in our first marblehead apartment (and what a cool apartment we had, boy howdy), our neighbor was a rep for some record company. i can't recall her name @ the moment, nor can i recall the record company (virgin?). what i can remember is how she had the back staircase of our apt. building, which led only to her apartment, laden w/ crosses of all sorts. the effect was, in a word, spook-da-licious. she'd also play unusual music @ a rather excessive decibel level late into the evenings, but i never minded b/c i liked her unusual music, and i told her so, which is where fortune steps in. she had all these free cds of bands i'd never heard of before, and she'd give me extras now and then. she introduced me to the blind boys of alabama long before i would hear their version of tom waits' "down in a hole" over the credits for hbo's the wire, one of my favorite shows of all time -- me, a mississippian, being led to the boys all the way up in massachusetts by a gal who worked the coasts. i thought to myself, "well, i'm a dutchman! (which i'm assured is an exclamation of strong incredulity).

but what's got me thinking about her today is the way her eyes glinted on the stairwell the day she handed me a demo by jim white. minutes later, in the apartment in that town where it's probably not 97 stinkin' degrees today, i was struck dumb by the circus freak of a cd that was the mysterious tale of how i shouted wrong-eyed jesus. to this day i don't know what to make of it, but i'm strangely compelled to listen to it every few weeks even if only to hear "when jesus gets a brand new name," which white penned w/ mike pratt. check the lyrics:
damn them dogs is really smart/think i’d better lose the snowshoes/thought the skid marks on the road’d throw them off/but damn them dogs is smart/& on devil’s island of the heart/you can’t afford to make a big mistake/you gotta plan your jail break carefully/very carefully!/and them crickets chirping in my hair/they’re about to drive me smack insane/i don’t know quite who put ’em there/but everytime I hear ’em it sound just like/when jesus gets a brand new name!
white's newest cd "dropped" (mtv slang for "y'all kin buy it now") last month, and large chunks of it are available to sample @ his lukabop homepage. what i've heard so far of drill a hole in that substrate and tell me what you see, complete w/ a guest app. by aimee mann, is ethereal and beautiful, and the lyrics are simply mesmerizing. from "that girl from brownsville texas":
still from the lips of this half-hearted sinner/comes the pledge of a half-baked saint/‘cause lord i might finally be willing to become the religious fool you always wanted me to be/if in return we could just tell that girl/i’m the man you and me both know that i ain’t.
anyway, jim's an acquired taste. you'd probably either love him or hate him. i'm somewhat ambivalent, but i lean toward love in the jim department at this writing. the point of all this blathering is something (almost) completely unrelated. found a link to a bbc-produced documentary about religion and the american south, and wouldn't you just know it's chock full o' jim white! i haven't figured out how to get my hands on a copy or take in a screening somewhere, but if you ever hear of searching for the wrong-eyed jesus playing somewhere, would you mind dropping me a line? i'd sure appreciate it.

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